Forum home Talkback

Can you pile on a potato plant that's 20inches high?


I've read to pile on roughly 6cm every 20cm. Is it still ok to pile on to the plant when its been left this long? Does there come a time when it's too late to pile up?

I only have room to pile 5 inches on, can I do them all in one go given the entire plant is 20?

It's first leaves sprouted in January, if that means anything. Early planting for me, but this thing had sprouted legs (and arms) in my cupboard! It looked like it was going to die, half shriveled up, but it's done really well. Looks extremely healthy now.

Thanks in advance, I realize this is probably a dumb question~ But I need to check as this is my first year piling up and I don't want to harm a decent plant.





  • Mel McbrideMel Mcbride Posts: 112

    PS - There's no sizeable tubers yet. There may be tiny ones in there I had a good feel around but I didn't fully expose it to see properly.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,913

    Tell us more about how you're growing this potato.

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Mel McbrideMel Mcbride Posts: 112

    @dovefromabove (great username!) -

    For this plant, fresh multi purpose compost, it's planted about 2 inches deep. It's in a deep pot, same ones I've been using every year, there's more than enough depth and width. 

    For piling up (because I only decided to do this the other day!) I'm using a second pot with the bottom cut out, I've put it over the plant and its giving me 5 extra inches to work with. 

    I feed potatoes sporadically, I feed them if they are looking a bit off, if they're thriving I just leave them. I didn't feed them at all the first few years. - The feeding part is another area I'm not sure what I'm doing in. (!) But whatever I'm doing it's working, I'm only just finding out my crops are low.. I thought they were massive! lol image

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,913

    Have a look here the principle's the same - when you mound up the soil the stem will grow more tubers (potatoes).  

    I presume these potatoes are in a greenhouse - otherwise they're very early.

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Mel McbrideMel Mcbride Posts: 112

    NO this and four other small ones are indoors. It's a pain because I don't have much room, but they had so many sprouts on them and were really shriveled so I worried they'd die, and given how GOOD they looked, I didn't have the heart to leave them like that. I have a greenhouse, I'm too scared to go in there the spiders are HUGE, its basically a summer house for the cats and insects!

    Thanks for the link. I take it, its doesn't matter how late you leave piling in terms of the plants height, I guess it's more to do with the stage of growth? I'll probably find out in the link, I'm just thinking out-loud here image


  • Mel McbrideMel Mcbride Posts: 112

    Ahh the article explains how to pile up, but not if piling this late will damage the plant. I really don't want to harm it. Maybe I'll just leave this one, and pile the others as they grow.

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    Mel, the main reason for earthing up is to make sure the potatoes are covered so they don't go green if they are exposed to the light.  

    When they are in a garden it also allows the sun to warm up the potatoes when it shines on the sides of the earthing-up.  It also directs the rain water down to the roots/potatoes.

    Although it does work, it is not the best idea to grow potatoes from sprouting potatoes you bought from the supermarket.  They may carry all sorts of nasties which may show themselves if they do not have a regular dose of pesticide or herbicide which amateur gardeners would not want to apply..

    As a rough guide, you will have usable potatoes when the plant flowers. Though not every variety does flower.

    Conquer your dislike of spiders (you really are bigger than them) and get the plants out into good light as soon as you can, but make sure they do not get frosted.

     Cover them with a sheet of newspaper overnight if frost is threatened.

    Good luck.

Sign In or Register to comment.