Knowing when to harvest potatoes and how is incredible and easy. The potato plants are happy to show and tell you exactly when you can harvest your potatoes. The part of growing your own potatoes are all the potato varieties you have as an option.
Not only are potatoes easy to grow from seed potatoes whether you grow them in the ground or in grow bags, but they are incredibly easy to harvest as well. I suggest growing potatoes for every home gardener. You can even grow them in a raised bed or a Grow-Bag. Potatoes are the simplest vegetable to grow as a beginner gardener because they require very little effort. I highly suggest growing potatoes if you have a beginner garden or especially if you are growing a garden with kids. Even better the plants will tell you exactly when it is time to harvest. Below you will find all the info you need to know EXACTLY when to harvest potatoes, how to harvest, and the best way to store potatoes for long storage.
When to Harvest Potatoes?
Everyone loves harvesting potatoes. My son calls it an archeological dig because that is completely what it feels like to harvest potatoes. Kids will love it, but knowing when the time is right is the only main challenge. Here are the simplest things to look for when deciding when to harvest your potatoes:
- The plants flowered in the earlier part of the season
- Dry and unwatered soil
- The plants are dead and have been for over 2 weeks
How to Harvest Potatoes?
To start harvesting the potatoes is just as easy as knowing when to harvest. To harvest, you will want a container to put them in before you begin to harvest. This can be a bucket or crate that you can wash in. You will also need a garden fork if you grew them in the ground and some garden gloves.
- Place the garden fork in the ground a foot away from the base of the plant.
- Dig potatoes up with the garden fork to expose the roots and tubers (potatoes) from under the plant.
- Some potatoes may still be in the ground so make sure you search thoroughly with gloved hands to remove all of them.
- Lift and dump grow bag wherever you would like to leave the soil.
- Take gloved hands and move the soil around to pull up all the potatoes.
- Place all the potatoes in your container as you find them.
When completed with your harvest wash them off really well and let them dry for storage. If you choose to go after New Potatoes rather than storage potatoes, it is important to harvest them as you plan to eat them. You can harvest them when the plant has just died back, but just eat them within a few days and keep them in a dark place till you are ready to eat them.
How to Properly Store Potatoes:
If you would like to do long storage for your potatoes, They need to go through a curing process before being stored. You also will need a cool place for their longer storage time. A root cellar is ideal but you can make do in a basement.
To cure potatoes for storage:
- Lay your potatoes out flat on newspaper or cardboard in a cool (50-60 degrees), dark spot with good humidity for two or three weeks.
- Make sure there is plenty of airflow in this area you choose to store them.
To Store for Long Periods:
- Remove any potatoes that are damaged
- Place them in a paper bag or cardboard box with holes or anything similar.
- Keep them in 1-2 simple layers instead of a big pile.
- Then cover with more newspaper to keep light out.
Where to Store Potatoes:
You will want to store your potatoes in a location that is a cool dark place that is cooler than your curing site. You can use the depths of your basement, a refrigerator (with high humidity), and around 40-45 degrees. You want to do remove as much light because if you get green potatoes (light exposure) they release a toxin that will hurt your stomach.
If you store and cure them properly potatoes can last for 6-8 months. If your potatoes begin to sprout or turn green make sure you compost them and let them go. You do not want to eat these types of potatoes at all.