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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Potato Hilling I

French Fry Friday's are all the rage in our household. And our french fries don't come from McDonald's; we cut them from potatoes and fry them up ourselves. So you can imagine that we are really looking forward to harvesting our first homegrown potatoes later this summer. We planted our potatoes around Valentine's Day and they have now grown to about 6-8" in height. So we figured that we should go ahead and hill them. We may be a little early, but its the weekend and we have time, so why not.

Our method of planting was to scrap all the soil out of the bed; basically flattening the bed to about 8" lower than its desired depth. We then laid the potatoes on this lowered bed. Next, we added 4" of soil and leaf mulch over the potatoes and left all of the soil in a pile just north of the potato bed.

Hilling the potatoes was a family affair. The boys shoveled soil into small buckets. I didn't get a picture of my youngest helping, but you can see his shovel laying on the ground. He's only 3 and says that we are growing french fries (his absolute favorite food).

Mama, took the small buckets and poured the soil over the potatoes to form small hills.

Dad took the pics. Thanks a lot. (He was actually clearing other beds of fall plantings to make way for spring plantings).

The boys did fairly well, but they did leave the job before it was done. That's ok, I'll take all the help that I can get. I finished hilling the potatoes. I couldn't remember if I was supposed to cover the leaves completely. I covered the entire stem and only left the very tops uncovered. I'll read more about hilling potatoes before next time.
All that's left to do, is wait till they're 6-8" above the soil and hill them again......

I am also testing two other planting methods; just because I had more seed potato than would fit into my 4x8 bed. I am growing one potato in a grow box that we built. I added enough soil to that box to cover the entire stem and a few of the leaves. This potato stem was actually about 2" taller than the ones in the garden.
I also remulched so the soil doesn't dry out.

I am also growing 3 potatoes in a cardboard box. I initially tried to use just leaves, but after almost a month, the potato stems still hadn't emerged from below the leaves. So I dug them out and there was some growth. So its my guess that the potatoes need something a little more compacted than the leaves. So I added a couple of inches of soil over each potato and we'll see if that speeds them up at all.

I'll end this post with a couple pictures of the potato leaves. Can you tell which leaves belong to the Purple Majesty variety?


  1. Oh what fun! Gardening is a great family affair...especially when you are growing french fries!!

  2. I love the idea of growing french fries with your kids!