Now that is one heck of an idea on planting them in a furrow that deep DDBBQ. I always just pull the dirt up around them as they grow the way Grandad did. Between my job and the early spring weather it is a little hard to keep up with some years. Basically the same principle, just gets pretty much all the more time consuming work part done at planting time. I think it would be much quicker to move down the row and push in a couple inches of dirt like that. Thanks man!
What is the purpose of letting the eye pieces "harden off"? I've never done that, just cut my chunks out of the seed taters at planting time and right into the ground. Never had a problem, but I'm interested.
As for the straw and taters it sure works. I got behind a couple years ago and my taters was getting pretty tall and I hadn't been able to keep my hills hoed up like they should be. I'd heard of the straw method but never tried it. Long story short, I had a bunch of straw left over from winter I had bought to straw my dog houses with. I just real quickly busted up bales and pretty much just covered two rows of tater plants about a foot thick. About a week later the plants came through the straw and we had taters as usual that year except virtually no digging.
On edit: Actually I think I know/remember what the hardening off is for. Supposed to help prevent rot before they take off and grow, right? I don't usually do it because I can live with my taters not being in the ground too early. Locally, the 'ol husband's tale magic day is St. Patrick's Day. Gotta be in the ground before St. Pat's day.