Gardening: The Coverup, Potato Hilling

Long vines in our buckets means that hilling needs to begin.

Our bucket potatoes are beginning to green up. The Yukon Gold will be peaking up above the 5 gallon buckets soon.

This weekend was time for ‘hilling’ them. One more term to add to our end of the season dictionary.

Hilling is the act of piling soil up around the vines as they grow. Some gardeners say begin to hill when the vines reach 10″ long. The gardener that we are emulation says begin hilling sooner and continue to add to the hill every week or two.

Why hill the potatoes? Because like tomatoes, potatoes are nightshade plants. Nightshade plants grow root from the stem. This is why it is OKAY to bury a tomato plant up to it’s lowest branches. Roots will grow from the stem that is buried.

Same thing for a potato. Roots will grow from the stem. However, the potato will also develop in the roots. If the potatoes are exposed to the sun, they will turn green and be poisonous.

Another great reason to keep burying the stem is because more roots will develop and more potatoes will be the result. Greater harvest!

Bucket soil will dry out faster than potatoes that are grown in the ground. So, monitoring soil moisture is more important. We are using the device below to make sure our buckets have the correct amount of moisture to grow healthy and plentiful potatoes.

Our moisture monitor. Potatoes should be between 2 and 3 on the scale.

Published by R Dub's Rub

Conversational BLOG writer and contributing writer for LocaLeben magazine. My BLOG entries represent observations that intrigue, amuse, inspire or stimulate my appetite.

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