Why huddle potatoes?
The answer to it will become clear after considering the vegetative characteristics of this crop. In potatoes, below the soil level, relatively rapidly dying elongated lateral shoots, called stolons, develop. They have elongated internodes, axillary buds and underdeveloped leaves. On the stolons, shortened shoots develop, which are the potato tubers. Read about when to spud potatoes here!
Reasons for spilling potatoes
There are several reasons why potatoes are hilled. Moreover, not all of them are associated with the formation of additional lateral shoots. The main reasons for this procedure are:
- Most often, hilling of potatoes is carried out in order to obtain a large number of additional side shoots – stolons, on which tubers are formed. With regular hilling of plants, the bushes actively grow and become more powerful. In this case, the tubers are tied on a larger number of stolons, and the significant leaf mass of the plant contributes to the supply of a sufficient amount of nutrients to the lower sections, which also leads to an increase in yield.
- Another important reason for hilling potatoes is the protection of young plants from late frosts. This event is especially relevant when potatoes are planted early or cultivated in climatic zones with an unstable climate. The land forming mounds around young potato stalks serves as a kind of “blanket” for them. Hilling also protects vulnerable young shoots from sudden frost, allowing them to actively develop further.
- High mounds around the potato do not allow strong winds to break and bend the stems of plants, which also has a beneficial effect on increasing yields.
- Some gardeners who prefer to plant this crop “under a shovel” are wondering whether it is necessary to huddle potatoes in this case, because the bulk of the lower part of the plant is deep in the ground. Hilling not only contributes to the formation of more stolons, it improves the structure of the soil, making it looser and more breathable. This is especially true when growing potatoes on dense and moist soils..
- The procedure allows water, when irrigated or rain, to penetrate faster to the underground organs of the plant, which helps them to obtain a sufficient amount of moisture.
- Hilling potatoes helps to reduce weeds in potato plantings. This is especially true of such a plant as creeping wheatgrass, which, if untimely removed by its roots, can even penetrate into young tubers, violating their market value.
- With shallow planting and regular hilling of potatoes during harvest, it is easier to dig up the tubers, since this does not require “burying” deep into the ground. Thus, the procedure for collecting tubers becomes less labor-intensive..
- Furrows, ridges and simple rows of spudded potatoes are much easier to process with products designed to kill harmful insects such as the Colorado potato beetle.
- Hilled potato plantings are easier to process with various cultivators and other agricultural equipment.
How and how many times to huddle?
Many novice gardeners do not know how to huddle potatoes. The video clearly demonstrates that this procedure can be performed in a variety of ways. The most popular ones are:
- Hilling with a hoe or hoe. This method is applicable in the event that the area of the site occupied by the plantings of this crop is not too significant..
- Hilling with a motor-cultivator. With this practical agricultural technique, large potato plantings can be cultivated..
- Hilling with a mini tractor is an ideal option for small farms where quite large areas of land are allocated for potatoes.
When hilling potatoes, it should be remembered that active development of tubers occurs only when the air temperature is no more than 25 ° C. In this case, the soil should always be loose and moist. Otherwise, the yield will be very low, no matter how many times the gardener spuds the potatoes. That is why in dry and hot regions where there is no possibility of regular watering, hilling is often abandoned altogether..
How many times to spud potatoes? During the season, it is necessary to carry out this procedure at least 2 times. The first time it is performed when young plants just emerged from the ground and reached 5-10 cm in height. Re-hilling is carried out when the stems reach a height of 15-20 cm and buds appear.
Tilling potato beds is best done early in the morning or in the evening. Moreover, the soil must be moist. Ideally, the hilling of potatoes, after reaching 20 cm in height, is carried out every 2 weeks until its green mass on the site is closed.