Potato Plants Under Leaves: How To Grow Potatoes In Leaves

A large pile of dry (mostly Maple) leaves in Autumn.  Green lawn and trees in the (out of focus) background.
Image by skhoward

By Amy Grant

Our potato plants pop up all over the place probably because I’m a lazy gardener. They don’t seem to care under what medium they are grown, which got me to wondering “can you grow potato plants in leaves.” You’re likely going to rake the leaves up anyway, so why not try growing potatoes in a leaf pile? Keep reading to find out how easy it is to grow potatoes in leaves.

Can You Grow Potato Plants in Leaves?

Growing potatoes is a rewarding experience since yields are generally fairly high, but traditional methods for planting potatoes do require some time and effort on your part. You start with a trench and then cover the growing potatoes with soil or mulch, continually mounding the medium as the spuds grow. If you don’t like to dig, however, you can also grow potato plants under leaves.

Planting potatoes in leaves has got to be the easiest growing method, although you do have to rake the leaves, but there’s no bagging and no moving them.

How to Grow Potatoes in Leaves


First things first…find a sunny area to grow your potato plants under leaves. Try not to select a place where you have grown potatoes before to minimize the chance of pest and disease.

Next, rake up the fallen leaves and gather them into a pile on the location of your soon to be potato patch. You are going to need quite a lot of leaves; the pile should be around 3 feet high.

Now you just need to be patient and let nature take its course. Over the fall and winter, the leaves will begin to break down and by spring planting time, voila! You will have a nice, rich mound of compost.

Select the variety of seed potatoes you wish to plant and cut them into pieces, making sure to leave at least one eye in each piece. Let the pieces cure for a day or so in a warm area before planting the potatoes in the leaves.

After the potatoes have dried for a day or so, plant them a foot apart from each other down into the pile of leaves. An alternate method that yields the same results is to prepare a bed in the garden and then bury the pieces, cut side down, into the dirt and then cover them with a thick layer of the leaf humus. Keep the plants watered as they grow.

A couple of weeks after the stems and leaves have died back, part the leaf humus and remove the potatoes. That’s it! That’s all there is to growing potatoes in leaf piles.

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