Put down at least 20 inches of hay (+ wood stuff, straw etc.) Next spring you have 10 inches of organic matter on top + native soil. Uncover, put potatoes on soil and cover back. Plenty of space for potatoes to grow and not being green...
For more potatoes earth up or make deeper layer in start.
I guess I knew to do this with them I was just never thought the name of the procedure.
I have a question, do you know the best way to keep organic potatoes from the store fresh?
I can't eat them but my family does, it seems that they always start sprouting & get soft before we can use them.
I do keep them in a ventilated container, in a dark cupboard with a cloth over them but what else might I do?
I bet it is just getting too hot in the cupboard then?
Do you think I should keep them in the frig.?
Got anywhere cooler than your cupboard? You can put a couple of meals worth in at a time.
Feel around for a cool place to keep them.
Wonder if there are any techniques equivalent to earthing for sweet potato? Sweet potato tower? How to encourage tuber formation?
I personally don't like to use hay because of all the seeds in it, but would reccomend straw instead. If you don't put the mulch on top of your potatoes but rather beside them and push it in to them from each side it works the same as hilling with soil, but don't use fresh clippings as it will cook your plants.
If you don't have a cool place for your potatoes in your house or garage you could make a "root cellar". You dint need a large one and even a clean plastic garbage can sunk in a hole and covered in a shady spot in your yard will do to keep them cool. I have a recycled garden shed under some trees that never gets direct sun in summer. All I did was dig some holes in the dirt floor and drop my garbage cans in. As they are not far enough underground for our winters here for year round use they are only good for non winter cool storage. I do however use them for seed storage as well but I purchased the good ones that have lids that turn to lock to keep out the rodents and keep my seeds in airtight insect proof containers over winter. I made a wood disk to sit in the bottom of the can with a rope around it to lift things out but its not needed if you are not adverse to getting down on your hands and knees to reach in.
Method - sweet potatoes are normally planted on ridges or mounds, the former being preferred although experiments in Zaire suggest that mounds are better, as they encourage tuber formation. In the tropics, small farmers sometimes interplant sweet potatoes with beans or cassava. Once planted in the field sweet potatoes normally receive little attention apart from weed control at the early stages of growth and the maintenance of ridge height and shape. In the USA, extensive use is now made of a wide range of effective herbicides for the control of weeds, including naptalam, allidochlor, chloramben, vernolate, diphenamid, prometryn; normally application is pre-planting or pre-emergence.
Field spacing - the spacing used is determined by the following factors: growth habit and root-setting characteristics of the cultivar; type and fertility level of the soil; length of the growing season; and the purpose for which the crop is required. In the last case, if the tubers are required for the fresh market, then high yields of tubers of uniform shape and size are of primary importance, while for canning or freezing small tubers with a diameter of 2.5-5 cm and a length of 7.5-15 cm are required; for industrial uses, such as the manufacture of starch and dehydrated flakes, large roots are preferred because they are easier to handle and losses during preparation are less.
In the USA, sweet potatoes are commonly planted 30-37.5 cm apart in rows which are 90-105 cm apart in well-drained light soils and 120 cm apart in heavier soils. In the tropics, the vine cuttings are usually spaced 22.5-30 cm apart in ridges 60-75 cm apart.
A clamp is just a buried pile (in this case, of vegetables) that has some ventilation built in. It has some of the advantages of a root cellar but is accomplished at much less effort and almost no expense. Lots of instructions on how to do this online. WWII instructions, for example...
One important thing I did not see specifically addressed on the subject of hilling for greater yield is the timing.... and in this regard timing is everything, this is why you cannot earth/hill the potato plants now, even though you can and should hill or cover any potatoes popping out of your soil, let me explain.....
You see it's not enough to just hill up a potato plant, you must catch the plants before they mature to far, covering the still developing lower stem of the plant.
For example, say your new potato plants are now about foot high, with small leaves on the main stock, bigger ones at the very top - cover the lower part of the plant by hilling/earthing up to the top 6" of the plant before it gets much taller or branching and mature leaf development starts.
Keep doing this hilling as your plant continues to grow up, it's another foot or so higher, cover it leaving just 6" to 8" of top growth (watch the plant and you'll start to 'see' what I mean). Keep watching your plants as they will grow fast, and if you wait to long to cover you will know it, because when you uncover your plants in the fall there will be just a long stem with some roots on it and no potatoes growing off at this level in the soil/hay.
You can stop this hilling process at any time you like, earthing anywhere from a couple of feet to six feet - you will increase your yield accordingly. Many vegetables can be forced/encouraged to produce more yield by constant gardener-intervention. But only you can weigh the cost of labor against the return for you.
The earthing/hilling process is usually a trade off between land and labor - those that have the land, plant lots of seed potatoes in large mounds and save the labor of continuous hilling. Those that don't like myself grow more by hilling up the plant as it grows.
You will find examples and instructions all over the internet on this and everything in between.
I've found most of the potato hilling info to be a bit deceiving, unintentionally of course. They advertise this method as the 'easy' way to grow 'more' potatoes, and do not give enough detail on the timing factor of it all. To my way of thinking, growing potatoes without hilling would be easier.
So in all of this talk about hilling potatoes for greater yield always remember to cover your plant before it has time to mature and branch, and don't get discouraged if you don't get it right the first time. A little patience and you'll be getting gobs of potatoes from your potato towers.
~ Some other terms to search are: No Dig, Bag, Container and towers.
~ Youtube has more videos on this than you can believe.
All the best with growing your potatoes ♥
Note: how the leaf branches happen at levels on the main stem. If you catch and cover the stem before these have started, somewhere around 8" to 1' of over-all plant growth - this is where a new set of possible potatoes can be produced - off this would be branching. I say possible, because there is always soil conditions, ph, insects, etc. in the over all consideration of possible yields The first year I tried hilling I was always to late, in the fall I had a lot of underground stem and no potatoes on it.
So - remember the timing factor if you want to try hilling....