Hilling of potatoes is one of the most important agricultural practices. However, in my experience, very few gardeners are familiar with the rules of this procedure.
Someone is lazy, someone spud too often and diligently - any option will do more harm than good. And after all, the quantity and quality of the crop depends on competent hilling.
Let's try to figure out why hilling of potatoes is necessary and whether it is needed at all, how to properly, in what time frame and the better procedure to carry out.
Why spud potatoes
Hilling is an agricultural undertaking consisting in feeding a certain amount of moist soil to the base of the plant in such a way that a kind of slide is obtained.
This is due to the fact that the masses of tubers gradually rise to the surface of the ground, and the mound collected by hilling saves them from the hot rays of the sun and other adverse effects.
Potato growing is impossible to imagine without hilling. Without a doubt, this procedure takes a fair amount of time and a lot of labor costs, but the effect of it is worth the effort.
It is safe to say that hilling potatoes contributes to the elongation of its underground escape, and this has a positive effect on yield.
- The stalks of the potato bush become stronger, they are more resistant to gusts of wind,
- The risk of greening the tubers is almost nil,
- When returning spring frosts bushes will be protected,
- Hilling involves the simultaneous removal of weeds,
- The root system becomes more branched and powerful
- Near the roots, a greater amount of moisture and oxygen lingers
- The risk of leaching nutrients from the soil in the garden with potatoes is minimized,
- Harvesting is facilitated at times.
It makes no sense to spud potatoes on very light sandy ground, because of the properties of the soil, the liquid and fertilizer will simply roll off before reaching the direct destination. It is advisable to hold such an event only on clay and loamy soil.
When farming potatoes in hot and arid conditions of the southern regions, hilling can also be abandoned in favor of growing under plastic wrap or dark non-woven material, under straw or in bags.
The most suitable time for hilling
It is quite difficult to determine the optimal date of hilling potatoes. It may be due to the cultivation area, current weather conditions, as well as the characteristics of the variety.
However, it is still possible to single out certain common periods in the process of the development of this culture, by which one can orient oneself during the hilling process.
- For the first time in a season, potatoes are spud after two or three weeks after sowing, at this time its seedlings will grow to 5-8 cm. It is necessary to carry out the procedure so that only 2-3 cm are left over the soil, the rest of it should be underground. This will protect the beds with potato shoots from the spring cold, will cause the growth of additional roots. In conjunction with hilling, do the weeding.
- The second time spud potatoes a couple of weeks after the first. The sprouts at this point will reach a height of 12-15 cm. After hilling, 3-5 cm of leaf mass should remain above the soil surface. This procedure is optional, it is carried out most often when the soil at the site of planting is clayey and rather heavy.
- The time for the third hilling comes four weeks later, about a week before the flowering and closing of the branches, the potato bushes have reached a height of 20-30 cm by this time. In the process you will have to fall asleep shoots 20 cm. It is very important not to damage a well-grown tops. Any damage, any wound is the cause of infections, just waiting for the right moment to enter the plant.
Always combine hilling with weed removing.
Caring for potatoes should include only 2-3 hilling. Constant loosening and adding soil to the bushes will only bring harm. This is due to the fact that when you often disturb the bushes, spud - you reduce the soil layer above the uterine rhizome.
As a result, the tubers overheat, start to suffer from a lack of fluid, the temperature rises, the small feeding roots grows less and the productivity of the bush suffers.
Such a state, among other things, makes the tubers vulnerable to various infections, especially as regards such an unpleasant disease as scab.
You should not start hilling, when the potato tops are fully closed and there is no more free space between the branches. The fact is that now the risk of damaging the bushes is extremely high. And to be honest, there will be no sense from him anymore. All this is the same can be attributed to the period of flowering potatoes.
How to spud correctly: rules and tips
If you spud incorrectly, not observing the main rules of procedure, the row becomes too thin. As a result, in a thinned place the bush will dry up and all your efforts will turn into not only benefit, but even more harm.
The goal of hilling is to stimulate the formation and growth of lateral auxiliary roots, tubers will be subsequently formed on them, and for this, the row must be made fairly voluminous.
Spud preferably in the evening or early morning hours on wet ground after the last rain. If there is no precipitation in the allotted time, then water the ridges. Wet earth is more malleable, it is much more convenient to construct ridges from it.
In addition, wet land, poured to the base of the bush, activates the development of a larger number of underground shoots, it is on them that the formation of the future harvest takes place. And the procedure itself significantly increases the yield of the plant.
If frost is predicted at the time of the first hilling, the seedlings are covered with soil as high as possible, so it is much easier for them to survive the cold. If the weather is warm, it is not necessary to fall asleep too high, so as not to slow down their growth.
For this reason, hilling is a mandatory procedure for the northern regions, and for the south, on the contrary, it can be harmful. This is due to the fact that the potato does not like too high a temperature, and the increase in soil temperature can reduce the yield.
Before starting an earthing up, remove all grass from the plot. It is possible, even desirable, to leave on the ground, having dried up, it will turn into a safe shelter from the hot sun.
Tools used for hilling
- Motoblock can not be called a cheap way, but it is more practical, especially when you cultivate potatoes in large quantities. With the help of various structures intended for hilling, you can choose the appropriate agrotechnology option. Using the tiller note that there must be an equal distance between the potato rows, otherwise you can cut the tubers.
- The manual disk hardener is much more budgetary option than the walk-behind tractor. You can easily make it yourself from a pair of piles, a cutting and a handle. With it, hilling is much easier to perform than by hand or plow.
- Mechanical and automatic cultivators, which often loosen the ground, are popular among gardeners. This is an affordable good option for hilling potato beds. The main thing in the process is to move on a flat line, deviations from which can damage the roots and ridges.
- Plow - this is the good old version can be called a classic. Of course, today, the plow has improved significantly, it can be used in several ways. Pull by hand, use a horse or attach it to the wheel - you decide. To facilitate the process and minimize power costs, choose a lighter plow.
- Chopper or hoe are used for manual hilling. Its meaning lies in scooping the soil from between the rows on potato bushes. It is very important to choose the right tool, then your strength will be used more efficiently. The height of your assistant should reach the chin of the worker, he should be well ground to easily cut off weeds, and firmly hold on the handle. Properly selected tools will increase productivity, improve its quality. The hoe can have a triangular or trapezoidal shape, its edges can be rounded or pointed. Spud potatoes with its help in two ways:
- Row the soil to the bush evenly from all sides, forming a bouquet of potato shoots,
- Preliminarily pushing the stalks in different directions, and then pouring the ground into the center of the plant.
Regardless of the method chosen, try to make the mound high and wide so that the tubers are spacious. Then the underground shoots of plants can grow in breadth and form a greater number of potatoes.
But in general, why spud potatoes?
- Loosening and hilling make the soil loose, free from weeds.
- Thanks to hilling, the supply of oxygen to the tubers is improved, thereby creating comfortable conditions for their growth.
- Spudding, we roll the soil to the stem, as a result, new nodules are formed on it - the harvest from the bush rises!
Like it or not, hilling is useful 😉
First - loosening
BEFORE RANKING, as early as 6-8 days after planting the potatoes, the ground can be slightly puffed up with a rake, so that there is no dense crust. Access of oxygen will increase, and shoots will appear faster. The soil is carefully harrowed with rakes along rows.
Loosening is repeated every 6-7 days. Ideally, you need to make 2 loosening before germination and 2 loosening of the germination. When full shoots appear, the aisles and the soil around the bushes are loosened with hoes (hoes). At the same time you can pull the weeds at the same time.
It is convenient to loosen after rain or watering, on wet soil. Rakes or hoe work carefully, not moving the soil from the place. Fill the plants with earth at the stage of loosening is not worth it. And if it happened to accidentally sprinkle the stems or leaves of seedlings with earth, they should be gently brushed off.
It is worth noting that regular loosening according to all the rules is relevant for small areas. Otherwise, just do it and we will, right?
June - it's time to spud potatoes! When to start?
Folk calendar reads:
- June 15 - Nikifor. From this day spud potatoes.
In practice, we manage to spud potatoes just at this time or a little earlier. In the preparation of this article, I looked at photos from past years. It turned out that we spud potatoes for the first time in early-mid-June (when planted in early-mid-May).
According to the Lunar calendar for 2018, favorable dates for hilling potatoes in June will be:
In the country literature, it is recommended to spud potatoes 2 times during the whole vegetation period, but the authors do not give exact dates. The need for hilling is determined by the height of the seedlings. Usually, spud potatoes need to:
- For the first time - when stem reached 10-15 cm in height.
- Second time - 2-3 weeks after the first hilling, but you need to have time to flowering (plant height is about 15-20 cm).
In the photo - our huddled potatoes (already managed to beat the rain):
First hilling - when the bush has become tall with a palm, about 15 cm:
Hilling of potatoes is convenient to hold solid hoes (hoes), without holes, so that the soil does not wake up between them. The earth is rolled to the bush so that around it there is a bump, and the lower part of the tops turned out to be closed. In the middle of the bush also sprinkled with earth, so that the stems do not converge. They write that the ridge should be about 5-6 cm, and the sprout should rise about 5-7 cm above the ground.
15-20 days after the first earthing up, before flowering. The height of the plant during the second hilling is about 15-20 cm.
At first, with a hoe (hoe), slightly loosen the ground between the rows and on the ridges, destroying the crust. And then the soil is rolled to a bush higher than it was. Higher ridges are obtained, which contribute to the formation of new tubers.
It is important to know:
- Potatoes are best spud after rain, the bottom of the stems sprinkled with damp earth.
- If the weather is hot and dry, in such conditions it is better to spud in the morning and evening so that the potatoes do not sweat.
- Before hilling, it is effective to conduct additional feeding, avoiding the ingress of fertilizers on the leaves of plants. And if this happens, they are washed off with water.
How to spud
It is recommended to spud potatoes after rain on wet soil. But if the summer was dry, hot, then it is better to do it in the morning or in the evening. Hoeing machines are used for hoeing, but in our technological age motorblocks are increasingly used for this purpose.
At the first hilling, the ground is rolled to the bushes so that a low bump grows. It should cover the bottom of the tops. The center is also sprinkled with earth, so that the stems do not touch each other.
The purpose of the second hilling is to loosen the ground between the rows with a hoe, to break the crust on the surface of the ridges. And only then sprinkle the bush with earth. Hillocks do higher, resulting in the formation of new tubers.
Own experience: How many times over the summer do I need to spud potatoes?
To be honest, we never wondered how many times spud potatoes. As it turned out, this should be done twice a season, and in addition to this - also loosen the soil. But we spud potatoes always 1 time. We plant a large lane, we don’t have a motoblock, therefore hilling for us is a very laborious process. With all this, the yields always get good, with the exception of wet seasons. Here is our plantation:
Baba Tani has a very sooooo plantation of potatoes, so we loosen once, if the rain has heavily nailed the ground (even before sprouting) and spud it once, with hoes, with the whole family, for several days. That is why the hilling of potatoes causes melancholy and despondency
Baba Lucy has a smaller plot, so there are more frequent tillage of soil, combined with weeding and hilling twice a season.
I must say, the yields in both areas are about the same. Therefore, the question: is it worth it to often loosen potatoes and spud twice - very controversial.
We are sure that hilling is an important stage in the cultivation of potatoes, it should not fall out. A case of life: a neighbor planted potatoes on the strip, but, for health reasons, could not take care of him, did not spud him. Result: the bag was planted - the bag was dug up. This example shows the best why spud potatoes.