Friday, 10 June 2011


No Green Aliens here, Jim
Whether you like your potatoes baked, boiled, chipped, or mashed this traditional vegetable complement many of the favourite dishes we eat today.

And now that my seed potatoes have made about 15cm (6in) of top growth, it’s time to start earthed up.  Earthing-up is the old gardening term referring to the process of banking up soil around young potato plants to prevent greening which occurs when the tubers are exposed to light and beware, green potatoes are poisonous.

The advantages of earthing up are many to us gardeners – it encourages the formation and swelling of many more tubers in summer and early autumn and, at the same time, this protects the exposed tender growth from being caught by frost.  I’ve notices that it also has the added advantage of killing any weeds that might have grown amongst the potatoes plants.

A useful tip when earthing up is, try to make the sides as upright as possible so that spores of  potato blight do not contaminate the tubers.

As well as potatoes, I also earth up celery and leeks to prevent greening, and broccoli, kale, and cauliflower to keep them firm in the ground.

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