I do not put ads on my blog but do have a counter that shows me how many visits the pages get. (The stats. count is just there so I can see if I am 'talking' to myself, luckily so far this has not happened.) By continuing your visit here you are consenting to the stats. counter tracking cookies. Cookies, that sounds like something nice to eat but not that exciting.

Growing Your Own Fruit and Vegetables

We grow our own fruit and vegetables for our meals for as much of the year as we can. Without a greenhouse we have to buy shop food in the winter months but in the spring, summer and autumn we often have enough to share with family and friends.

Read about growing your fruit and vegetables here on my growing your own food pages.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Earthing Up Potatoes, why, when and how do you do this.

Earthing Up Potatoes.   

Do not forget to check  your seed potatoes, firstly to keep any weeds in check but if you are weeding the potato patch be careful not to damage the newly emerged green shoots of growth. When the green leaves of the potatoes reach a certain stage of leaf growth it can be a good idea to earth them up.

  • Potatoes - what is earthing up.
  • Earthing up is something you do to potatoes once the foliage has developed. 
 This is a technique used on potatoes where you pull earth up from the soil around the potato row and heap it around the growing foliage.

The reason you earth potatoes up are - it should increase the (yield) the amount of potatoes that the potato plants will produce. Potatoes will grow in the areas under the soil and any exposed to light will develop green patches (which means you should discard them it is not a good idea to eat any potatoes you harvest which have green ).

Earthing up potatoes covers the developing potatoes with a layer of soil. This is supposed to help to prevent you producing green potatoes which are inedible. Green potatoes are a consequence of light getting to the growing potatoes. 

The first time I grew my own potatoes I was surprised when I harvested them to discover that they did not grow downwards from the seed potato. Most of the potatoes that I harvest are in the area around where I planted the seed potato and in the soil that has been heaped up around the growing foliage of the potato plant.

  • If you want to earth up your potatoes, when to earth up the potatoes you are growing.
Some people say do this earthing up when the potatoes have produced stems that are about 8-9 inches high which is about 20 cm. Some people who grow their own potatoes prefer to use a method where the soil is heaped up at the same time as you plant them ( in ridges). 

But the decision about when to earth up, if you should earth them up and by how much or whether to do it all in one go or little and often much seems to be one of those gardening subjects that no one can agree on.  

To earth up potatoes - gently draw the soil up to and around the foliage/stems of the potato plants.  You can earth up in one go or do it little but often.

I do the first earthing up with a hand held hoe called an onion hoe but most people will use an ordinary garden hoe to do the job. The reason I use the hand held hoe for this job; is so that I do not damage the developing stems of the potato plants. 

My potatoes tend to get to this stage in small 'batches' as I stagger the planting times of the different varieties. I found the first time I earth up the potatoes I am less likely to damage the stems if I a working with the onion hoe.

Covering the stems of the potatoes can also helps to protect them from late frosts that may occur.
  • If you cannot earth up the potatoes it does not mean the crop will fail.

If you are growing potatoes in containers earth them up by adding compost each time the new stems start growing, you can fill to the top of the container in that way.

Watering growing potatoes.
Remember if the weather does turn dry that the developing potatoes will produce a better crop if watered. Do not leave the potatoes in dry conditions for ages and then apply lots of water in one go, as this can lead to the potatoes swelling in size too rapidly and splitting their skins.

a healthy potato plant in flower

a healthy potato plant in flower
photo of potatoes in flower

home grown carrots.. grown from seed

home grown carrots.. grown from seed
photo of my first bunch of carrots 2009

Even a small batch of mixed fruit can be useful

Even a small batch of mixed fruit can be useful
Home Grown Fruit can be made into delicious compote