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Old May 1, 2015   #1
AlittleSalt
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Default A Reason For Hilling

A few threads down are pictures on the "Escaped Potato" thread. I learned a lot from that volunteer potato. I'll explain...

Online, you can read all kinds of info on why some people hill-up dirt around their potato plants. You can also read why not to, and how hilling potatoes has been debunked. Often times, seeing for yourself is the best way to learn.

In the escaped potato thread, I tried it out. I shoveled a contractor's wheelbarrow of dirt around a potato plant. In 4 days, it grew 6 inches. Sense then, we had a hail storm that flattened that plant and all the potatoes in our garden (80+ plants) I thought about how hilling the dirt made that volunteer plant grow.

Yesterday, I put more dirt on that volunteer plant and on 20 feet of the potatoes in the garden. This morning, the ones I hilled look perky - it's almost like the storm never happened. The plants I didn't hill-up still look like they went through a hail storm. Below, are pictures taken with a Nintendo DS - It takes good up-close pictures, but landscape pictures don't look so good. The first picture is of plants without hilling - It shows some hail damage. The second picture shows plants I hilled-up yesterday. The third picture is of that volunteer potato plant - before adding more dirt, that plant looked dead.

I have no idea if hilling will make the plants produce more potatoes or not, but it's easy to see that in this case, there is a reason for hilling.
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Old May 20, 2015   #2
BNickel
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My Dad taught me to always hill potatoes, and all the gardens I have grown I have been lucky enough to get a lot of potatoes out of what I had planted. I can't imagine growing potatoes without hills

Yours look very happy!
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Old May 20, 2015   #3
pauldavid
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My uncle always hilled his potatoes, but I never knew why until now. Salt thats a cool idea with the DS!
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Old May 20, 2015   #4
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Hilling potaoes is an enormous amount of work if you have any quantity of them in the garden... That said, I have 50 pounds that I planted... the thought of hilling that many isnt high on my priority list, but it must be done. Yesterday my dear son went nd picked up a BCS tiller for me that we found on craigslist... I think doing my potatoes this year will be much easier. I'll make a better effort at least and this gives me a little more incentive to keep at it.
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Old May 20, 2015   #5
AlittleSalt
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Two weeks later - The first picture is hilled (The flower is a morning glory attacking - lol) The second picture are the three plants we didn't hill.
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Old May 20, 2015   #6
pauldavid
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlittleSalt View Post
Two weeks later - The first picture is hilled (The flower is a morning glory attacking - lol) The second picture are the three plants we didn't hill.
There is definitely a difference between them.
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Old May 20, 2015   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clkeiper View Post
Hilling potaoes is an enormous amount of work if you have any quantity of them in the garden... That said, I have 50 pounds that I planted... the thought of hilling that many isnt high on my priority list, but it must be done. Yesterday my dear son went nd picked up a BCS tiller for me that we found on craigslist... I think doing my potatoes this year will be much easier. I'll make a better effort at least and this gives me a little more incentive to keep at it.
I was going to suggest a hilling plow.

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Old May 20, 2015   #8
Cole_Robbie
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My grandpa uses an old Farmall Cub tractor. It has an adjustable disk underneath it to throw up ridges. After the potatoes have come up and grown a little, he will sometimes go over them again and throw more dirt on them. He does the same with onions, to keep the tops of the onion bulbs from getting sun burned.
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Old May 31, 2015   #9
NathanP
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The main reason hilling is usually necessary, is to cover the potatoes with enough soil so they do not produce solanine. Sunlight on tubers results in solanine production in the tubers (green color).
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Old May 31, 2015   #10
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i never grew potatoes, this year i have 9 4ft x10ft raised beds. one of those is dedicated to potatoes. and while these looked great early as of late i have been loosing plants. It is not early blight, soft rot, black leg... i think it may be Vericullium Wilt which sucks. I talked to Johnnys Selected seeds and they asked me to have samples tested asap. not happy
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Old May 31, 2015   #11
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I was going to suggest a hilling plow.

Worth
Maybe I will get one for the tiller... later. this week I used a 4 tined rake thing (my fil had it in his garage and snagged it. He will never use it again I am sure). I was tired after I tilled and hilled... more like exhausted. There is bind weed in the area so I was trying to get as much dug and pulled as I could.
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Old June 1, 2015   #12
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Next year, I'm going to plant potatoes 6 inches deep as usual, but instead of waiting until the plants come up - I will have already put the soil for hilling a foot away from the rows. It would be much easier this way. All I will have to do is rake the soil over to where it needs to be.
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Old June 3, 2015   #13
carolyn137
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlittleSalt View Post
Next year, I'm going to plant potatoes 6 inches deep as usual, but instead of waiting until the plants come up - I will have already put the soil for hilling a foot away from the rows. It would be much easier this way. All I will have to do is rake the soil over to where it needs to be.
For many years I grew a 250 ft row of potatoes, sometimes I wonder why I did that especially in late Fall when the wind was from the north and it was more than just chilly out there.

But my mother loved home grown potatoes, she had her lady friends who would come in summer, they'd sit on the front porch and gossip, but the main reason they were there is b'c mom insisted that I had plenty of fresh veggies for them to take home, and yes, also lots of tomatoes.

When I'd dig the potatoes in the Fall she'd call them to come and get potatoes.

All to say that I would move down that long row with a large hoe and stepping sideways, hoe down about 6 inches and pull the soil to the edge. When the cut pieces spouted I'd let them grow up to maybe a few inches above level, then pull some soil over them, let them grow a bit more, pull more soil over them, repeat until no free soil was left.

And I always got excellent production, but that also depended on the specific varieties that I was growing.

So essentially I was doing what you are doing although I allowed the plants to get a bit higher before starting to add soil.

Of course where I am now and considering my physical limitations and knowing that Freda does all my gardening for me all I've ever grown is different varieties of fingerlings in pots.

Yes, I still love fresh potatoes. For a few years a woman whose parents owned THE largest potato farm here, actually many acres in different areas would bring me the small new potatoes, which I loved. Her name is Sandy and she's married to one of the sons whose parents built my wonderful home here.

I just decided to see if his obit was online since I just read it in the AM paper and will link to it so you can see how much he was recognized for his potato knowledge.His daughter Sandy was also mentioned as being the wife of Jon McClellan, and it was the elder McClellans who had my home built.

The Funeral Home mentioned has McClellan as part of the name but that was Jon's brother Greg, who died two years ago from complications due to Chrons disease.

This part of upstate NY has many large potato farms and some of the varieties they developed are hard to get or are now extinct.

http://poststar.com/lifestyles/annou...f897be2e8.html

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Old June 15, 2015   #14
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I have to settle for heavy mulch because the rows are too close together. Shredded leaves and this year coffee chaff above that. It seems to work well but wider spaced rows would be nice.
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Old June 25, 2015   #15
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Not sure hill the potato works, but to make sure that it doesn't I did mound mine, here is the video : https://youtu.be/wSG07lJ-4RU .
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