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Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Gardeners Forum Home -> Organic gardening in Ireland / Alternative and Sustainable Gardening practices

Potatoes and the Compost Heap


 
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avs0020
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree


Joined: 24 Sep 2008
Posts: 84
Location: Kerry

PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:14 pm    Post subject: Potatoes and the Compost Heap Reply with quote

Hi everyone. I'm a bit confused. I thought things were broken down/decayed into organic matter in a compost heap (love them little earthworms) so how is that potatoes resist the efforts of every worm and all the other chaps that live in a compost heap? Not only do the peelings not break down but they sprout and grow and try and take over the world. Surely this isnt normal or should I refrain from putting potato peelings in the compost. If that's the case, is there an organic recycling way of getting rid of potato peels? thanks for any help you can offer.

Oh. Last question. If I am capable of ignoring the weedy potatoes in my compost, are subsequent potatoes ok to eat?
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michael brenock
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Joined: 12 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

very good question. The potatoes probably grew from whole or part of potatoes rejected for eating and while it is possible to grow potatoes from the skin incorporating an eye or bud it would want to be pretty thick skin. sometimes potatoes may be rejected for cooking because they have sprouted or because they are partly damaged by pests or disease and yet capable of producing a stalk. it is proof that your compost heap makes an ideal growing medium and the potatoes produced therein are perfectly safe to eat. Your compost heap may be slightly on the dry side especially if the skins do not rot away.. Some varieties survive better in the compost heap than others.
michael brenock horticultural advisor (retired)
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avs0020
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree
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Location: Kerry

PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Michael. Its a bit annoying seeing them romping across the compost, and it makes turning the compost a nightmare, but I wont say no to a nice potato.

I also have a seperate wormery and have learned not to throw potatoes in there either. The peels sprouted so much it was pushing the lid up so I ad to remove every sign of them.

Still not too sure what to do with thick peels (yup, they did have "eyes" on them and had started to sprout in the food cupboard) I hate the idea of putting food matter in our standard bins.

Thanks for help
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cathd
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thick potato peels can be 'nuked' in the microwave until just steaming and that will stop them sprouting in a wormery or compost heap. Or put them in the bottom of the oven after taking out the roast.
This also speeds up the rate of decomposition in a wormery. Root vegetables and even their peels take a notoriously long time to break down without the heat you'd get in a hot compost pile.

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