You can easily grow potatoes in pots and containers. The best part is potato plants produce a good amount of harvest. Many different varieties of potatoes are available to grow. You can choose any of them because growing and harvesting potatoes is a simple and easy process.
Most of the new growers don’t know when to harvest potatoes? Because the crop is produced under the ground. So, how will you know when to harvest potatoes.
The plant condition and color of foliage tells the size of potatoes.
When to harvest Potatoes?
Harvesting of potatoes is extremely fun for kids. They like digging and taking out the hidden potatoes. Potato harvesting is like a game for kids.
There are two types of harvesting and storing techniques for potatoes. Because potatoes are also of two types that we harvest. One is harvesting Early potatoes and the second is mature potatoes.
In my garden, I have new and storage potatoes. I grow 5 plants of each because I love to eat fresh potatoes in summer. And also like to store them for the fall and winters. The real challenge is figuring out when to harvest potatoes. The secret of harvesting is the timing and the growing basics.
First of all, let me clarify that all potatoes can be new early potatoes. We harvest them in their early stage of maturity. The potatoes are small in size with a thin outer skin layer.
When you see the flowers on the potato plant this indicates that they are ready to harvest. New potatoes get ready for the harvest after the 60 days of planting. Whereas storage potatoes take more time to mature.
These are the potatoes that we harvest when they grow to their full size. The plant begins to die naturally and the leaves start drying and turning yellow. Once you see the yellow leaves on potato plants. This means that your potatoes will be ready for the harvest within in 14 days.
You have to let them under the ground for 2 weeks. The main benefit of leaving them under the ground for more days is this make the outer skin of potatoes thick.
Thick-skinned potatoes can be easily stored for a long time without cold storage facilities.
Best methods of harvesting potatoes
Start digging on a sunny day because high humid days add moisture to the harvested potatoes. This increases the chances of getting rot like diseases. Also, be gentle while digging and have a separate bowl for the damaged potatoes. Once you finish the harvest take the damaged or sliced potatoes to the kitchen and eat them on the same day.
It is not a good idea to store such potatoes.
Early Potatoes Harvesting
As I said once you see the flowers early potatoes are ready to harvest. Do not take out the plant from its roots or start digging. Here you need to use your hands to harvest. Get a pair of clean garden gloves. Then reach to the potatoes from the side of the plant.
Take out them one by one with your hands no tools are recommended for an early potato harvest. Once your basket is full of potatoes then push back the soil in the place. Make sure the plant root area is properly covered with the soil.
At this point, you need to give them nutrients boost if you want big mature potatoes in the second harvest.
Use fish emulsion fertilizer to give them a healthy dosage of nutrients. This helps them to get in the form once again and produce more potatoes.
It does not matter you grow potatoes in-ground, in containers, or in grow bags. The technique of early harvesting of potatoes is the same for all.
Container-grown potatoes are easy to harvest once the plant dies. Just pull the plant out of the container or empty it in any way. Remove the soil from the roots and collect the potatoes.
For in-ground potatoes, you need a garden fork. Dig the ground to take out the plant from the roots. Then collect the potatoes. Also, use your hand to find the remaining potatoes in the ground.
How to store potatoes for a long time?
You need to cure the potatoes before storing them for a long time. This technique thickens the outer layer. To cure them, put on the newspaper for 2 weeks in a cold and dry place. The temperature should be maintained between 10 to 15 Degrees C. They need good air calculation to avoid fungus-like diseases.
Now the second step is,
After 2 weeks of cure put them in the perfect container for storage. Here you need have the cardboard container. Put the potatoes in it and make few holes on the side for fresh air. Then cover the cardboard box with the cover or with the new paper. The purpose of covering the box is to block the light from entering the box.
Do not pile them this will cause the rot like diseases.
Find the storage area in your house that is cooler than the curing site. Because the storage area temperature should be between 5 to 8 Degrees C. I use my basement corner to store my matured potatoes. Check the box ones in every two days. If you see any sign of rot remove it and save other potatoes.
Under ideal storing conditions your harvested potatoes will stay fresh for 8 months.
I hope now it is clear when to harvest potatoes. If you still have any questions contact us anytime.