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How to earth up potatoes


Potatoes will grow very quickly under warm and moist conditions. When they are 10cm tall, the leafy shoots can be mounded around with soil to their full height, a process known as 'earthing up'. Earthing up potatoes will increase the length of underground stems that will bear potatoes. This mounding can be repeated once or twice more at 2 - 3 week intervals to ensure the best crop, with the added benefit of smothering any competing weeds.

How to do it


Loosen soil between the rows using a garden fork. Use a rake or spade to draw the soil into a ridge along the length of the row around the emerging stems of the potatoes. Leave a shallow trough along the row at the top of the ridge to channel any water down to the developing tubers.


When growing potatoes in large pots or sacks, the tubers will have been planted into 10cm of compost at the base of the container. As the shoots emerge, add more compost at regular intervals, 5cm at a time, until the container is almost full.

Our tip

On light soil, mix in well-rotted garden or bagged compost to earth up the potato plants. This helps conserve moisture which swells the tubers.

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Talkback: How to earth up potatoes
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3154 24/11/2011 at 15:27

Any Update useful for Southwest France would be helpful, I've just subscribed to your magazine and it appears to be a little ahead here for planting although we get frost still

blossom_1 24/11/2011 at 15:27

Growing veg for the first time this year, as I have a flower garden not much room so have made a couple of boxes 4ftx4ft & plan to grow potatoes in large flower tubes. Unsure if they will be deep enough at 14"? Do I need to feed, if so what & when?

milann 24/11/2011 at 15:27

I've watched and read about potatoes - now I'm going to give it a go it looks fairly straightforward and hope mine are as successful as the Gardeners World team!!

hosta 24/11/2011 at 15:27

Hi im gonna have a go at the potatoes too (first time) and like othergarders here I too am trying veg for first time starting easy with tomatoes lettuce and cucumber and herbs.

I garden in pots but how deep does a pot have to be and wide for planting potatoes.Im not sure and its getting time to plant soon.

summerplace 24/11/2011 at 15:27

Just the information I was looking for presented in a sraightforward
understandable way. I find the website very user friendly

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