One of my greatest childhood memories from living on the farm has to do with potatoes. I don’t think I remember one instance but rather many times that my Grandpa and I would go out to the potato field and dig up some new baby potatoes out of the potato field. We would bring them back to his house. Grandma would be shelling fresh peas from the garden into a big bowl. For dinner she would make creamed baby potatoes and peas. You can’t find anything in the world that tastes fresher and cleaner. I want to have baby potatoes so I grow potatoes in my garden. At least I attempt to grow them.
Our potatoes are big enough that we were able to hill them up for the second time this season. When hilling (or earthing up) potatoes you draw earth up around the vines of the potato plant. There are different schools of thought on when to do this but we usually do it when the plant gets 8 inches high, and then 2 more times as the plant gets about 8 more inches above the soil. I find it easiest to hill potaotes in the morning as they tend to be more upright and perky. if you do it later in the heat of the day they tend to droop more. I have found the easiest way to do it is to gather all of the vines together like you would a pony tail and hold with one hand. This should cause them to point up in the air. Then with the other hand throw dirt around the vines. We have probably added an additional 8 inches of soil around the potatoes.
Here are a few benefits that your potato plants will get from hilling.
- Gives potatoes extra room to grow and provides ideal loose soil for growth.
- Keeps the potatoes from being exposed to sunlight which can make them poisonous.
- Potatoes don’t like being waterlogged. Hilling allows potato rows to shed water so they aren’t waterlogged.
- The hilling process kills weeds that thrive in the loose soil created for potatoes.
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