What is Hilling Up?
Adding extra soil around potato stems is known as Hilling and it serves two purposes.
Hilling up adds extra soil and this helps prevent potatoes from exposure to direct sun and therefore turning green. Green potatoes can be toxic.
Hilling up can also encourage more root development and large crops on some types of potaoes.
The process of Hilling Up differs for the two type of potatoes – Determinate and Indeterminate and applies to growing potatoes in bags as well as the ground
What are Determinate and Indeterminate Potatoes
With the Indeterminate potato types ‘Hilling Up’ also encourages more root growth up the stem as you hill up and therefore more potato production.
Determinate varieties produce potatoes in a single layer and are commonly referred to as early or mid-season potatoes. These varieties have a rapid growth rate and typically yield a crop within 70-90 days. Plant them at a depth of approximately 6 inches and hill them up once.
Some examples of determinate potato varieties include:
‘Caribe,’ ‘Carlingford,’ ‘Cranberry Red,’ ‘Pink Eye,’ ‘Red Pontiac,’ ‘Russet Norkotah,’ ‘Ratte,’ ‘Spunta,’ ‘Norland,’ ‘Yukon Gold,’ ‘Sierra Rose,’ ‘Sierra Gold,’ and ‘Adirondack Blue.’
Indeterminate varieties, often known as late-season potatoes, are particularly suited for growing in bags and allowing the stems to be covered as they grow. These stems produce more roots, resulting in an increased yield of potatoes. These varieties take approximately 100-130 days to produce a crop. Plant them at a depth of 6 inches and hill them 3-4 times.
Some examples of indeterminate potato varieties include:
‘All-Blue’ (Russian Blue), ‘Bintje,’ ‘Butte,’ ‘Canela Russet,’ ‘Carola,’ ‘Desiree,’ ‘Dutch Cream,’ ‘Elba,’ ‘German Butterball,’ ‘Green Mountain,’ ‘Kennebec,’ ‘King Edward,’ ‘Nadine,’ ‘Nicola,’ ‘Red Cloud,’ ‘Russet Burbank,’ and ‘Russet Nugget.’