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How to earth up potatoes

Discover how to earth up potatoes for a bigger harvest and to reduce weeds.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do not To do in March

Do not To do in April

Do To do in May

Do To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do not To do in August

Do not To do in September

Do not To do in October

Do not To do in November

Do not To do in December

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.

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You Will Need

  • Potato plants
  • Garden fork or spade
  • Rake

Total time:

Step 1

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.

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Step 2

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.

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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.

Spade cut out