Potatoes – what on earth?
We often hear the phrase ‘Earthing up’ whilst speaking about potatoes, especially around this time of the year. It is much simpler and more useful than it may sound!
Earthing up or ridging as it is sometimes known, is simply drawing up soil into a ridge above the row of planted potatoes. You can do this as soon as foliage emerges above the surface.
- it protects the early foliage from any frost damage.
- it blocks light from reaching the tubers which can have the adverse effect of turning the tubers green and making them inedible. To make sure this is always happening, we recommend earthing up in stages.
- finally, the piled up soil can help to lock in moisture which allows the tubers to ‘swell’ and grow.
For container potatoes
Maybe you have decided to grow potatoes in sacks or containers, if so the process of earthing up still applies- simply add layers of compost in stages as the stems begin to grow. Carry on until you reach the top of the container. A good heap of about 8 inches / 20-cm should be enough.
After all your efforts with earthing up, don’t give in to the temptation of harvesting your crops too early. For early potatoes be sure to wait until the flowers are completely out and for the main crop variety you can hold back until the foliage begins to turn yellow.