Once they arrived in Europe, plant breeders focused their efforts on creating the familiar edible tubers we’ve come to know and love today.In cooler climates, potatoes can be planted as early as two to three weeks before the average last-frost date in spring, but only if the soil has dried out a bit.While most potato varieties do well in various climates, check with your cooperative extension or a few fellow gardeners to discover the best choices for your part of the country.They’re easily found by searching the seed potato for small, dark indentations or, if the eye has already begun to sprout, swollen bumps.Select a potato planting site that receives full sun, and work plenty of compost into the area.Choose a spot, if possible, where other members of the nightshade family, such as tomatoes and peppers, have not been grown within the past few years.Hilling increases the underground surface area for tuber production, but an alternative to this process is to simply mulch your potato plants with a thick, 8- to 10-inch layer of straw.Not only does the straw layer serve to increase the underground surface area, but it also suppresses weeds and cuts down on the need for watering.You can easily harvest a handful of new potatoes while still leaving the plant intact for continued tuber production.These tubers take a bit longer to develop, and there are a few necessary practices to ensure the spuds are truly ready for harvest and storage.The plants continue to grow for the next several months, and eventually the leaves and stems start to turn yellow and flop over.Mature storage potatoes are ready for harvesting a few weeks after the foliage has turned brown and died back completely.If a root cellar isn’t an option, put your harvested potatoes in a wicker or plastic basket, a brown paper bag, or a cardboard box and store it in a dark basement or cool garage.For this method, put a thick layer of fresh straw over the plants after they have died back, and dig the tubers up as needed.Some gardeners might experience a high rate of rot in potatoes stored in-ground, particularly during periods of wet weather.Also, potatoes stored in the ground are left vulnerable to voles, chipmunks, mice and other tuber-munching mammals that enjoy burrowing under the straw mulch.Potatoes can be a trouble-free crop if you follow a few simple practices, though they’re not immune to typical garden problems.These two pests can affect yields by reducing the amount of photosynthesis taking place in the leaves.These two pests can affect yields by reducing the amount of photosynthesis taking place in the leaves.If you find teeth marks on your harvested potatoes, you might need to set a few mousetraps inside sideways, empty tin cans to control them.If you find teeth marks on your harvested potatoes, you might need to set a few mousetraps inside sideways, empty tin cans to control them.The soil-dwelling larvae of several different species of click beetles, wireworms tunnel into the tubers, creating shallow holes that extend into the potatoes only by about 1/2 inch.The holes are easily removed when the potatoes are peeled, but their presence can limit their storage life.The soil-dwelling larvae of several different species of click beetles, wireworms tunnel into the tubers, creating shallow holes that extend into the potatoes only by about 1/2 inch.The holes are easily removed when the potatoes are peeled, but their presence can limit their storage life.After harvesting, pull the smallest tubers from the bunch and store them in a dark box or bin, wrapped in layers of newspaper. .
Master Gardener: When are potatoes ready to harvest? – Press
A: I guess this could puzzle a gardener at first, since the potatoes are a root crop and grow beneath the soil surface.About two months or so after planting, they are topped by clusters of small white flowers with yellow centers.Experienced gardeners sometimes judge the progress of the crop by watching for a distinctive bulging of the soil around the stem of the plant.Late in the season, when the potatoes are large, I usually will dig the entire plant to harvest its crop.Like other Zoysias, its main disadvantage is that it has a winter dormant period when its bright green color may turn to light brown. .
When to Harvest Potatoes in Garden Beds and Containers
Potatoes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow producing heavy yields of tasty tubers when planted in garden beds and containers.Plus, there’s so many awesome potato varieties to grow – from fingerlings to russets – in a rainbow of colors.In my zone 5B garden I harvest my storage potatoes in late September through October.Pick a dry day to harvest potatoes as moisture can spread disease and rot.I find it handy to keep a bowl nearby for damaged tubers which then head directly to the kitchen.Once you’ve harvested a few new potatoes, push the soil back in place and mound it around the plants.Once harvested, gently brush off caked on soil and allow them to dry off for an hour or so outdoors.After harvesting new potatoes from in-ground or container plants, feed them with a fish emulsion fertilizer to encourage healthy growth and more tubers.Once the potatoes have been harvested, I sow a cover crop or add a source of organic matter, like manure or compost, to the top of the bed.Planting these crops on a 3 year rotation cycle can reduce pests and soil-borne diseases.This helps the skin thicken up and extends the storage life of the tubers.To cure potatoes, lay them on newspaper, trays, or cardboard in a cool, dark spot (50 to 60 F, 10 to 15 C) with high humidity for one to two weeks.Once cured, move the potatoes (removing any that have signs of damage) to bushel baskets, cardboard boxes (with ventilation holes poked in the sides), low baskets, or brown paper bags.You can also find multiple drawer harvest storage at many garden supply stores.Check tubers regularly and remove any that show signs of rot or shrivelling.The thin skin that makes new potatoes so appealing limits their storage life to weeks not months.For a tutorial on when to harvest potatoes and how to do it right, check out this video by Savvy’s Jessica Walliser. .
How to Know When to Harvest Potatoes
Includes different things to look for depending on whether they’re an early potato or maincrop, time in the ground, and what happens to their foliage and flowers.These include the Red Duke of York, Lady Christl, Arran Pilot, and scores more.This year I’ve grown Pentland Javelin which is a type that matures slightly later than other First Earlies.They’re easy to grow, don’t tend to suffer blight, taste tender and delicious, and are fun to dig up in early summer.Early potatoes generally produce flower buds that sometimes bloom and sometimes don’t.It’s time to dig up your tender, homegrown potatoes when the buds drop or the flowers that do bloom begin to fade.The potatoes from earlies will be about the size of an egg with skins so tender that they’ll melt in your mouth.Potatoes that fall into the ‘Second Early’ category include Nicola, Maris Peer, Jazzy, and Kestrel.Varieties in the UK include Cara, King Edward, Pink Fir Apple, and Purple Majesty.Over the summer they swell and grow resulting in harvests large in both size and quantity.They’ll crop earlier and be bred for flavor and texture as an early.You harvest main crops in late summer, typically in August to September and you know the time is right when much of the foliage on all your plants begin to turn yellow.If you see black spots on the foliage or if the die-off is only affecting some of your plants then you should investigate potato diseases.Spread them out in a garage or greenhouse, or outside in the sun, turning them over after one side is dry.Store maincrop potatoes in a cool garage or shed and make sure to eat the best ones first. .
How and When to Harvest Potatoes
You'll need to keep an eye on the flowers and foliage to determine when to best harvest your crop.If you are careful, smaller potatoes can be left in place and gently replanted to allow them to continue growing.To harvest large potatoes for storing, let the plant continue growing after it is done blooming.Keep hilling up the soil or add mulch around the plants so that the tubers aren't exposed to sunlight.Once the foliage has died back at the top, dig up your tubers with a garden fork.If they are fully ripe and suitable for long-term storage, the skins will rub off under thumb pressure.Don't wash the storing potatoes; just let them sit out in a single layer for a couple of weeks to fully cure.Three to four weeks before planting time, bring your seed potatoes out into a warm, sunny area, and cover them with moist burlap or moistened paper towels. .
When Are Potatoes Ready to Be Pulled?
It typically takes about 10 weeks after planting for most potato varieties to produce tubers large enough to eat. .
Plant Sweet Potatoes
The plants produce lush vines that make a pretty ground cover, so they are a great crop for beds that adjoin areas that are difficult or tiresome to mow.Before planting, improve your native soil by mixing in several inches of aged compost or other rich organic matter.Plant sweet potatoes about 12 to 18 inches apart, and allow 3 feet between rows so the vines will have plenty of room to run.Thoroughly weed your sweet potatoes 2 weeks after planting by pulling them gently; if possible avoid deep digging with a hoe or other tool that disturbs the feeder roots that quickly spread throughout the bed.Deer love to nibble tender sweet potato leaves, so you may need to deter them with floating row covers.Japanese beetles and other leaf-eating insects may cause light damage, but sweet potatoes are so vigorous that they usually outgrow foliage pest problems.In Florida and some other Southern states, sweet potato weevils are a big problem, often ruining the harvest.In late summer, sweet potatoes often produce flowers that resemble those of morning glory, a close botanical cousin.Sweet potatoes are usually ready to harvest just as the ends of the vines begin to turn yellow, or just before frost in the North.Shake off soil, and then lay the unwashed sweet potatoes in a warm (80°F to 90°F), well-ventilated place for about 10 days.As the sweet potatoes cure, any scratches in the skins should heal, and the flesh inside will become sweeter and more nutritious.After 10 days, move your cured tubers to any spot that stays cool and dry, but do not refrigerate or store below 50°F.Cured sweet potatoes will keep for up to 6 months when stored at around 60°F with high humidity; a basement is ideal, though an air-conditioned storage room or pantry will do, too.In climates where summer is hot, mulching before the vines get too long will help keep your sweet potato patch moist and weed-free.Sweet potatoes are ready to dig when the vines start yellowing at the end of the season. .