How To Huddle Potatoes Correctly? Timing, Quantity, Pros And Cons. Photo

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How To Huddle Potatoes Correctly? Timing, Quantity, Pros And Cons. Photo
How To Huddle Potatoes Correctly? Timing, Quantity, Pros And Cons. Photo

Video: How To Huddle Potatoes Correctly? Timing, Quantity, Pros And Cons. Photo

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Potatoes are the second bread, a vegetable without which we can no longer imagine our life. Literally, in every dish there is a potato in one form or another and, literally, in each area, a hundred or two is allotted for it. Alas, not everyone knows how to grow potatoes correctly, they are not aware of the basic rules of agricultural technology of this crop, therefore, the yields are sometimes more than modest. Today we will open the veil of secrecy over one important agricultural technique for caring for potatoes - hilling.

Hilling potatoes
Hilling potatoes


  • What is potato hilling?
  • First hilling of potatoes
  • Second hilling of potatoes
  • Third and subsequent hilling of potatoes
  • What is the best time for hilling potatoes?
  • Is hilling of potatoes always necessary?
  • Alternative to hilling

What is potato hilling?

As the name suggests, this event consists in dusting the base of potato bushes with soil in a soft and loose state. Sometimes, in order to get high yields, all that potatoes need is to combat weeds, pests and correct hilling, which sometimes reliably protect against negative climatic factors.

What is the correctness of hilling? It is determined not only on the basis of the rules for carrying out this technique, but also on the correct determination of the time for hilling. At the same time, sometimes the success of the business is determined by the very first hilling, then the second stage is to determine the required number of hilling and the third is the time of day at which it is safest to carry out hilling for potato plants.

It is important, when hilling potatoes using a hoe, not to damage the young shoots of the plant and roots. This is the most common mistake: after all, if they are seriously (and sometimes slightly) damaged, then this can have an extremely negative effect on the development of plants, and if the shoots are severely damaged, there is a risk of complete death of the bush or most of it.

As for the timing, then the opinions of both experts and "ordinary" gardeners differ. The only thing here is, perhaps, only that the period for hilling should be chosen, focusing on the height of the potato shoots, but the specific numbers sometimes vary quite a lot.

For example, some argue that the first hilling can be carried out when the stems reach a height of 13 cm, others - at 15, and still others - at 18, and so on up to 20 cm. Sometimes there is information that the very first hilling should be carried out as soon as the stems are stretched to 6-8 cm or, in general, be guided by intuition (depending on the weather, soil, etc.).

Indeed, you can get confused, but we will still focus on the advice of "experienced", and so they advise the potatoes to spud early, not to delay with this, since hilling may well reduce the number of weeding and loosening of the soil. In cold regions, among other things, hilling can also protect (sometimes literally save) plants from late return frosts.

In addition, the timing of the very first hilling also depends on the time when you planted the potatoes. For example, if you planted potatoes in the traditional terms for this, that is, in early May, then in the middle of this month, when the seedlings are already actively developing, it is quite possible to carry out the initial hilling. At this point in time, hilling will just play a double role - including as a defense.

Hilled potatoes
Hilled potatoes

First hilling of potatoes

Despite the many different recommendations, we will nevertheless listen to the professionals: they recommend carrying out the first hilling when the height of the stems is in the range from six to eight to nine centimeters from the ground. At the same time, if a strong cold snap is expected, up to frost, then it is quite acceptable to cover the bushes with soil entirely, "head first". In the event that frosts are not expected, then there is no need to completely cover the bushes, since such a cover can slow down the development of plants.

In this case, it will be enough if you lift the soil around the potato plants literally a couple of centimeters. The very first hilling can be done both with a walk-behind tractor and manually, that is, with a hoe, then it is advisable to use a hoe, that is, a hand tool, although if you professionally own a walk-behind tractor, then it is quite acceptable to use it. The main thing is to try to take the soil from the rows and evenly huddle the plants so that the soil is from all sides, and not from one or two.

Second hilling of potatoes

Further, disputes flare up not about the timing of the first hilling, but about the number of hilling. But here most gardeners are still similar in one thing: the number of hilling should be equal to three or four and not less than two.

So, after the first hilling, it is advisable to carry out the second when the potato tubers have already begun to form. This usually happens 15-18 days after the first hilling, that is, when planting in early May and carrying out the first hilling in mid-May, the second can be carried out in early June. The main thing is to be in time before flowering, because during flowering, experts advise not to huddle potato plants, and in general try not to touch them once again.

The second hilling is a slightly more complicated and time-consuming process, here it will not work to run through the rows and slightly heat the soil, as in the first hilling. When carrying out the second hilling, it is important to make sure that the height of the ridge near each potato plant is 15-17 cm, otherwise tubers may bulge out of the soil and, under the influence of sunlight, accumulation of solanine poison in them, as indicated by the atypical green color of tubers …

Third and subsequent hilling of potatoes

Further, the third hilling, it is usually carried out after the height of the potato shoots reaches 23-26 cm. When carrying out this hilling with a hoe, you need to work carefully, you should not fill up most of the plants, as many do; this is a mistake, however, a little soil should still be thrown between the shoots. This technique will allow the potatoes to start growing wide. As a result, at the end of the third hilling, the height of the ridge should be at the level of 17-19 cm.

The third hilling is not carried out by everyone, however, it has been proven that its implementation can still increase the yield of potatoes, so if you have such an opportunity, then you should not ignore the third hilling.

In the event that the bushes begin to fall apart and there are no nests along the ridge, then the third hilling must be carried out.

If the potato plantings grow very strongly, which happens on nutritious and moisture-rich soil, when the bushes actively grow across and in breadth and the tubers sometimes bulge out of the ground even after three hilling, then it is quite acceptable to carry out the fourth hilling.

Hilling potatoes
Hilling potatoes

What is the best time for hilling potatoes?

So, when to carry out hilling on a calendar and how many of them to do, we have already understood, now let's talk specifically about the time of these hilling. This is very often asked by novice gardeners who plant potatoes for the first time in their plots and this question, despite its apparent simplicity, is quite important.

Each of us, especially in the dachas, saw gardeners working on potatoes literally in the middle of the day. Indeed, people get up early, get to the dacha, eat and go out with hoes to the site at noon, a little earlier or a little later. Is this true if at noon and the next hours towards noon the sun, as a rule, literally burns and it is most active? In fact, no, it is not true: many gardeners, after hilling potatoes at noon, noticed how the bushes literally wither in the evening.

The thing is that in the hottest hours of the day, plants are especially sensitive to all kinds of work with them, and we also throw often very hot soil over the bushes, which sometimes leads to severe moisture loss, a decrease in turgor. Given this, the optimal period for carrying out operations for hilling potatoes is morning or evening. You need to complete the operations by 10-11 o'clock in the afternoon and continue them after six in the evening. Of course, if the weather is cloudy, then it is quite possible to carry out hilling at any time of the day.

By the way, after the rain, hilling is considered the most favorable for potatoes, this is due to the fact that the soil is well moistened and does not crumble after hilling, which will save you time and effort in the future. In addition, moistened soil sprinkled on the shoots will stimulate the formation of underground stalks (stolons), on which tubers will form in the future, and, therefore, this will increase the yield from one plant and from the plot as a whole.

In the event that you have no other choice but to carry out hilling at noon, we strongly recommend that you thoroughly water the site before hilling, this will cool the topsoil and increase the turgor of the plants.

Hilling potatoes
Hilling potatoes

Is hilling of potatoes always necessary?

So, disputes among gardeners, especially in recent years, have flared up not only because of the timing, the amount of hilling, but in general because of the expediency of this event. Many frankly argue that hilling only adds labor costs to the difficult agricultural technology of growing potatoes, which implies weeding, pest control, and the planting and harvesting processes themselves are also quite laborious.

So, let's look at the obvious advantages of hilling potatoes and give a couple of examples of growing this vegetable crop using other technologies, when hilling is not needed at all, and you decide whether it is worth doing it or not.

Obvious and indisputable advantages of hilling potatoes are the acceleration of growth and development, both of the aboveground mass and underground (roots and tubers), of course, if you do not exceed the hilling height indicated by us and do not cover the plants "headlong", except for the very first time, if frost protection is required.

The next plus is an improvement in the air and water exchange of the soil, due to the fact that a soil crust does not form on its surface. Another argument in favor of hilling is to protect the plant not only from the cold, but also from drying out, which is extremely important for summer cottages, where we visit from time to time and, if on the site located near the place of residence, we can carry out additional moistening the soil and watering the plants, if it is very dry and hot, then we can return to the dacha already to the dried up sprouts.

In the case of hilling, which, as we already wrote, is excellent to carry out after rain, moisture, as with mulching the soil, will linger, flow to the roots and not evaporate.

Further, hilling allows you to simultaneously fight weeds, because we literally cover the soil with another layer, thereby inhibiting the growth of weeds, which means that the potatoes will have no competitors and will receive more nutrition and moisture.

In addition, thanks to hilling, the bushes become slimmer, resemble a bouquet of flowers in a vase, they do not fall apart, do not grow unnecessarily, which means they do not shade neighboring plants. With skillful site planning and using hilling, 10-15% more plants can be placed on the same area than when growing without hilling, and a larger crop can be harvested.

Hilled potatoes
Hilled potatoes

Finally, hilling will protect the tubers from sunlight and solanine build-up, as we have already mentioned. Do not forget that solanine is a poison, it is especially abundant in potatoes exposed to the rays of the sun, which acquire a green tint. Of course, for a person the lethal dose or the dose when we feel the poisoning is quite large, but still why tempt fate and poison your body once again?

Naturally, in order for hilling to give all the advantages, plants must be treated carefully. When carrying out hilling, it is important to try to avoid all kinds of injuries to the aboveground mass of potatoes and its root system, otherwise it is possible not to improve the condition of the plants, but to worsen. Remember that you should not rush here, if you have little time, then it is better to stretch the hilling for two or three days.

Alternative to hilling

In conclusion, as we promised, a couple of examples of growing potatoes without hilling. The first method is to use a black covering non-woven fabric. Here, not all and not always even dig up the soil. Usually, on the ground, it is better still dug up and leveled in advance, the covering material is laid in one layer and, according to the usual scheme of planting potatoes, holes are made in it and tubers are planted. Then it remains only to water the plants, if it is hot and dry, and to fight pests and diseases.

The second way to reverse hilling is to unroll. Here, on the contrary, we do not collect the tops in a heap, but spread them over the soil surface. Further, the entire surface of each stalk must be sprinkled with soil a centimeter thick, leaving only its very top free. But this method provides additional weed control and soil loosening.

So, we told how, when, at what time of the day it is better to hilling. It is up to you to decide, based on the advantages of this event, whether it is worth hilling or using a black non-woven covering material or trying to grow potatoes using a different technology.

The main thing is that if you have already decided to experiment, not to allocate the entire site for "experiments", but first select only a part of it, and if the newfangled method proves its effectiveness and at once crosses out all the previously gained knowledge of potato farming, then next year it will be possible to give the whole area is under the "know-how", and if the method turns out to be ineffective or ineffective, well, you will not lose much.

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