A “late season potato,” such as heirloom fingerling types, takes about 110 to 135 days to maturity.So it is time to go out and check the early-season varieties such as Yukon Gold and Viking Purple that I planted in late March.If you can’t remember or don’t know what you’ve planted, grub around the soil below the vines with your hands periodically to feel for tuber development.Flowering just means that the vines are mature enough and have enough leaf area to start forming tubers.Cover the plants with soil and other organic material to protect the tubers as they form, from sunlight and greening of the skin.The greening is chlorophyll, which is not harmful in itself but may be accompanied by a high concentration of a toxic compound called solanine.Mounding soil around growing potato vines also makes harvest easier and may prevent water loss.Keep in mind that red potatoes, while great for eating fresh, don't keep as long as yellow or white varieties.After the curing period, store the perfect spuds in a cold, dark environment with moderate humidity.When storage temperatures exceed 40 degrees, potatoes should keep for two to three months, but sprouting and shriveling may occur.She is an associate professor emeritus at OSU and tends a large garden in the Coast Range Hills west of Philomath with her husband and dogs. .
Should you remove potato flowers and/or their fruits?
The theory is that by preventing a potato plant from putting its energies into flowering and fruiting, it goes on to produce larger tubers below ground instead.To find out the truth I began by running my own trial this year sowing four rows of Charlotte potatoes at my allotment.Well I was certainly keen to draw that conclusion (I love to shoot down a myth) but a bit of research tells me that it may not be that straight-forward.‘Flowers on’ therefore didn’t have any real impact on yield (if it was going to) and a 7.5% weight variance is pretty insignificant.In 1942 the University of Minnesota – Agricultural Experiment Station produced a technical bulletin called ‘Influence of Flowering and Fruiting Upon Vegetative Growth and Tuber Yield in the Potato’ .Its detailed research covers some potato planting experiments carried out at three of their sites.The decrease in yield appeared to be related to the number of flowers and fruits formed.Given that their research is a little more wide ranging and detailed than mine, and my previous assertion that my Charlotte plants didn’t even go on to produce fruit, it makes it hard to draw any real conclusion from my own allotment test.In 1990 the Canadian Journal of Plant Science published a paper called ‘The Effect of Flower Removal on Potato Tuber Yield’ .This means that it is almost impossible to ignore the key drivers that really affect potato yield :.If I repeat next year with main crops I shall ensure that all the seed potatoes are of the same size, and large.In any case, you don’t really want lots of tiny green toxic potato berries growing on your plot lest some visiting child takes a fancy to one and poisons themselves. .
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. .
How to Grow Potatoes — Seed Savers Exchange Blog
Fortunately potatoes are very adaptable and will almost always produce a respectable crop, even when the soil conditions and growing seasons are less than perfect.Potatoes may be planted as soon as the ground can be worked in the early spring, but keep soil temperatures in mind.A week or two before your planting date, set your seed potatoes in an area where they will be exposed to light and temperatures between 60-70 degrees F. This will begin the sprouting process.A day or two before planting, use a sharp, clean knife to slice the larger seed potatoes into smaller pieces.A good rule of thumb is to plant potatoes whole if they are smaller in size than a golf ball.Plant each piece of potato (cut side down, with the eyes pointing up) every 12-15 inches, with the rows spaced 3 feet apart.During this flowering period the plants are creating their tubers and a steady water supply is crucial to good crop outcome.When the foliage turns yellow and begins to die back, discontinue watering.Gently dig around the plants to remove potatoes for fresh eating, being careful not to be too intrusive.If the weather during harvest is wet and rainy, allow the potatoes to cure in a dry protected area like a garage or covered porch.If you are looking for maximum yields it is best to start with fresh, USDA Certified Seed Stock every year. .
Why Is My Potato Plant Flowering? (3 Reasons & What It Means
Potatoes are a cool-season vegetable, but after temperatures warm up, you may see the plants begin to flower.Cold, wet weather can also make potato plants flower.In fact, potatoes and tomatoes are related, since both are members of the nightshade family (Solanaceae).Potato plants are more likely to produce fruit when the weather conditions are cold and wet.Potato plants also need proper pollination to produce these green seed pods.The flowers on potato plants may turn into green fruit with seeds inside, like the one seen here.Wind, birds, bees, and other insects can help to improve pollination of potato flowers.These fruits (and the stems and leaves of potato plants) contain solanine, which is a toxic substance that will make you sick if you eat it.Potato plant flowers usually have white, purple, or pink petals, along with a yellow center.According to the University of Arkansas Extension, potato flowers are often aborted before they are pollinated and produce fruit.A potato plant will flower towards the end of its growing season as it gets closer to maturity.Also, be sure to keep track of the date you planted your seed potatoes (mark it on your calendar!).In colder northern areas of the U.S., some gardeners plant potatoes in mid-April, about 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date.This extends the growing season, but increases the risk that a hard frost in late spring will kill any potato plants that emerge.To decrease this risk, wait until 1 to 2 weeks before the last frost date in your area to plant your seed potatoes.Knowing the last frost date in your area helps you to plan for your potato crop.Hilling simply means using extra soil to cover some of the new growth on a potato plant.Hilling helps to prevent potato tubers from getting exposed to sunlight (which can make them turn green and toxic).As mentioned earlier, solanine is a toxic substance that makes you sick.Remember to keep your potatoes watered when they are flowering, since maximum tuber formation occurs during this time period.A thick layer of unexpected snow will make it difficult to harvest your crop, so watch the weather forecast if you live in a colder region with a short growing season.Flowering means that the plant has been successful in absorbing the water, nutrients, and sunlight it needs from the environment.This may allow the plant to put more energy into the tubers underground, resulting in larger potatoes.Another option is to use your hands to dig in the soil around one of your plants to search for new potatoes.The skins on new potatoes are so thin that you might accidentally rub them off if you handle the tubers too roughly.Tubers do not continue growing after the potato plant’s vines and leaves have died.This extra time underground will allow their skins to become thicker (called curing).A pitchfork is a good tool for harvesting potatoes if you don’t want to use your hands.You might also be interested in reading my article about a potato’s life cycle (they are technically perennial!).I hope you found this article helpful – if so, please share it with someone who will find the information useful. .
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. .
Do potatoes have to flower before harvesting?
They contain a toxic level of solanine, a poisonous alkaloid that forms when parts of the potato plant are exposed to sunlight.All above-ground portions of the potato are poisonous and should not be eaten, including the flowers, stems, leaves, fruits, and any tubers that remained above ground.Consumption of parts of the potato that contain solanine can cause confusion, diarrhea, digestive discomfort, drowsiness, vomiting, shortness of breath, and weak or rapid pulse, and if solanine poisoning is not treated, the person who consumed it can die due to respiratory failure. .
Growing Potatoes: How to Plant & Harvest Potatoes
How to Grow Potatoes 7 steps for planting, harvesting and storing potatoes at home By Kevin Lee Jacobs FREE WEEKLY NEWSLETTER: Plants, Design Ideas, Gardening Solutions & More!But in my experience, containers like these require constant attention to watering, and yield smaller harvests than growing in a raised bed.I achieve an enormous harvest—enough to feed two for nearly a year—by planting potatoes in two 4'-x-8' raised beds.The tubers are wildly productive in the well-draining, rock-free soil the beds provide, and the vines require deep watering only once each week.Of all the root vegetables I grow, it is the potatoes that give me the biggest thrill at harvest time.I love to stick my hands in the soil and retrieve the buried bounty, with a yield of eight to ten potatoes for every one that I plant.Step 2: Separate the Eyes Only small, golf ball-sized potatoes should be planted whole.I cut mine so that each segment has two or three "eyes" (the little bumps from which sprouts emerge, as shown in the photo).Either set them out in the sun, or place them on a table or counter in a warm (about 70°F), moderately lit room for three to five days.Gardeners in warm climates often plant around Valentine’s Day, while those in cooler areas may get them into the ground near Easter, or early spring.A good rule of thumb is to aim for 3-4 weeks prior to your last frost date.The closet in my mudroom doesn’t cool off until the outside temperatures plunges to 45° at night.After digging the tubers, I let them sit on top of the raised beds for a few hours to dry, as illustrated.Then I gently brush off any loose soil from the tubers, and place them in double thicknesses of paper bags.If you don’t want to bother with hilling, plant your potatoes 8-9 inches deep.To reduce the chance of infection, never plant potatoes (or tomatoes and other members of the nightshade family, such as eggplants or chili peppers) in the same patch of land without leaving an interval of at least three years.The disease overwinters in tubers left behind during the previous year’s harvest. .