when to harvest potatoes from the garden

when to harvest potatoes from the garden

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Harvesting potatoes is definitely one of the crucial enjoyable backyard duties! Massive, bushy inexperienced crops on high of the soil disguise unimaginable riches beneath. However the precise factor that makes harvesting so enjoyable—the fantastic shock of your bounty—additionally makes it a bit of tough to know precisely when to dig up these scrumptious tubers.

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We’re going to provide you some easy-to-spot indicators to know when is the proper time to seize your potato fork and get to digging.

Hands hold scrubbed potatoes

How have you learnt when it’s time to reap potatoes?

The beauty of potatoes is that when the tubers have began to set, you’re welcome to dig them up anytime to seize potatoes. Relying on the dimensions of potatoes you’re after, listed below are two landmarks to search for:

  • For brand spanking new (child) potatoes: As soon as the vast majority of your potato crops have began to flower, that’s a good time to start out harvest new or child potatoes. These creamy, tender early potatoes are a springtime deal with that isn’t to be missed.
  • For full-size potatoes: It’s simple to know when important crop potatoes are prepared as a result of all of the leaves in your potato crops can be yellow or brown, and the crops will begin to fall over. This implies the plant has put all of its vitality into the tubers, and it’s time to dig! For those who see spots or different illness signs on the foliage or if die-off is barely on a few of your crops—this won’t be the pure finish of the plant’s life-cycle, and you need to examine for potato illnesses.

White blossoms on a potato plant

Do potatoes must flower earlier than harvesting?

Flowering crops are signal that the crops have began to set tubers. For those who harvest earlier than flowering, you might need very small potatoes or no potatoes in any respect!

We advocate ready to start out harvesting till the vast majority of your potato crops are in full bloom—some of us even wait till the blooms have begun to fade and petals have began to drop.

Purple blossoms on a potato plant

Are you able to harvest potatoes too early?

You’ll be able to eat potatoes at any stage, however should you select to reap earlier than the crops flower, your potatoes can be small (otherwise you won’t have any to reap in any respect).

What number of potatoes do you get per plant?

The yield of a potato plant will differ primarily based on the particular cultivar, however typically, you may assume you’ll get 5-6 bigger potatoes per plant, plus a handful of smaller-sized child potatoes.

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Freshly dug potatoes rest on the soil

Why are my potato crops falling over?

Whereas weak crops will be attributable to potato illness or a heavy pest infestation, in case your crops are falling over, more often than not it means the plant’s life cycle is ending up and it’s time to reap! Mature potato crops could have yellow or brown leaves, shriveling stems, and can not help themselves.

Dead plants in rows of hills show potatoes ready for harvest

When ought to I cease watering my potato crops?

Cease watering your potato crops about 2-3 weeks earlier than harvest, or whenever you first see the foliage on the crops beginning to flip yellow. Ensure to reap your potatoes on a dry day when the soil is dry—harvesting potatoes when moist or damp could cause the potatoes to rot extra simply in storage.

What occurs should you don’t harvest potatoes?

You’ll create a perennial potato patch! Relying in your local weather, the potatoes left within the floor will both sprout quickly and develop new crops or will overwinter and sprout new crops subsequent spring.

Potato plants grow in hills

How lengthy can potatoes keep within the floor?

In average or chilly climates, potatoes can keep within the floor till the soil freezes in late fall or early winter. Some of us have success closely mulching (with mulch like straw, wooden chips, or shredded leaves) the patch to maintain the soil from freezing and dig potatoes all winter lengthy.

We advocate most people head out with their potato fork and dig the patch up earlier than the primary arduous freeze of the season.

In hotter climates, potatoes saved within the soil run the danger of sprouting new crops. Constant soil temperature above 45°F will sprout potatoes.

A person in boots stand next to a pile of freshly harvested potatoes

Do potatoes continue to grow after the plant dies?

As soon as the plant dies, the potatoes are completed rising in measurement. Nevertheless, the pores and skin on the potato does harden and treatment to make it stronger for storage. We advocate leaving the potatoes within the floor for about 2 weeks after the crops have died off.

Are you able to eat potatoes proper after harvest?

Certain can! Whereas we advocate curing them for long-term storage, freshly-dug potatoes are excellent for consuming proper out of the bottom (perhaps clear them off a bit first).

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A hand holds a freshly dug potato

Why are my homegrown potatoes so small?

To begin with, it’s necessary to know what varieties you’re rising. Some potato varieties are supposed to be small! Not all potato cultivars grown within the house backyard will produce chunky russet baking potatoes. But when your potato is meant to be large and isn’t, listed below are some the explanation why:

  • Improper rising circumstances: Something that stresses the plant out could cause lowered tuber measurement—lack of daylight, over or beneath watering, nutrient deficiency, too excessive of temps.
  • Pest or illness stress: An unhealthy plant gained’t set good-sized potatoes, so if a plant is burdened from pests or illnesses, you’ll in all probability get smaller potatoes.
  • Harvesting too early: As we lined earlier than, the sooner you harvest, the smaller your potatoes can be. For the largest potatoes, wait till the plant had died again.

Must you wash freshly dug potatoes?

In case you are planning on utilizing your potatoes instantly, sure, go forward and provides them rinse and a scrub earlier than cooking with them.

If you wish to retailer your potatoes (quick time period or long run), be certain to dig on a dry day, after which gently brush off any giant clumps of soil, however don’t wash or scrub them till proper earlier than cooking. Moisture can unfold illness and decay amongst storage potatoes.

A pile of freshly harvested fingerling potatoes lay on the soil. In the background, hands hold a shovel digging up more potatoes

How do you retain potatoes after digging them up?

Remedy your potatoes by inserting them in a single layer on newspaper, trays, or carboard in a cool (50-60°F) and darkish spot with comparatively excessive humidity for 1-2 weeks. It’s also possible to treatment potatoes within the soil by clipping off the useless crops on the soil stage, and leaving the crops within the soil for 1-2 weeks earlier than digging.

Earlier than storing, take away and use instantly any potatoes that present indicators of harm.

As soon as the potatoes are cured and picked by means of, retailer potatoes in baskets, crates, cardboard containers (with holes poked within the sides), or brown paper baggage. Don’t pile your potatoes too deeply—this will encourage rot to unfold.

Yellow and red potatoes are spread out in a single layer to cure

How do you retailer potatoes long run?

Ensure containers are lined or saved in a darkish space to stop gentle. Any gentle publicity throughout storage could cause the potatoes to sprout. Retailer the potatoes in a cool space (however above freezing) with excessive humidity.

An unheated basement, storage, or root cellar often takes care of the cool half, and if you have to replicate the excessive humidity, you may cowl the potatoes with a moist material and mist with a twig bottle when it dries out.

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