Hilling Potatoes is the middle step when you grow and harvest potatoes. Not sure what hilling potatoes is? Watch our how to video and read on.
Hilling Potatoes, what is it?
Potatoes, the crop, grow along the stem of the potato plant. When you plant your potatoes - video here - you plant them 6" deep in the soil. To get a better crop, once the plants grow above the soil line, and are about 12" high, you add about 6" of soil along the potato plant stem. ( you can add more soil, if you want, its subjective) This adding of soil along the plant stem is called hilling.
We use raised beds, so hilling potatoes is easy, we remove some of the soil in the potato bed, then dig down 6" to plant the seed potatoes. When its time for potato hilling, we add some sort of fence alongside the raised bed, and add soil, burying the stems of the potato plants.
You can use different materials to hill. Straw, compost, leaves, soil, or a mix of all this. With straw you may get mice burrowing into it, so keep an eye on that.
If you have a long planting season, you may be able to hill the potatoes twice, and get a larger crop. We aren't able to do this, being in New England. We've also found that hilling potatoes much past 6-8" doesn't yield many more potatoes. Your results may be different, that just the way gardening is.
I watched your hilling potatoes video and was reminded of something I read years ago when we lived in South Africa. The idea was to plant the potatoes in dirt inside an old car tire. As the stem and leaves emerged you add more dirt and then stack more tires on top. Eventually there would be several tires stacked with potatoes growing inside. The yield was enormous. And it enabled a high yield in a small space. I have not tried it but wondered if you are aware of this idea.
Thanks for all your very stimulating videos and podcasts.
Yes, i have heard of that Richard, thanks for that. I haven't tried it but we'll see. thx!