Ripening

Mid to Late Potatoes: Potatoes are ready to be harvested when plant vines turn yellow and/or die back.

When and How

Tubers, 35-1 days before maturity

When: You can start harvesting new potatoes 65 days after planting, after the plants have been flowering for a while.

How: Just root around beneath the living plants until you find some sizeable tubers. This reduces the final yield (don’t take more than 2 per plant), but they taste great. The skins of new Potatoes are very thin and they are high in sugar, so they don’t store well. 

Handle the tubers gently to minimize damage. Even the slightest skin abrasion can cause a tuber to rot in storage and this can easily spread to nearby tubers. When you have finished digging, sort the tubers into three piles, badly damaged (speared or chopped) ones for immediate eating, grazed ones for use fairly quickly and perfect ones for storage. You will also sort out any green potatoes have been exposed to light and are toxic.

Tubers, 1-60 days after maturity

When: The mid-season Potato harvest occurs when the leaves start to lose their green color. If you want to store the tubers you should leave them in the ground for 2 weeks after the tops turn yellow and die down. This allows the skins to toughen up. If the skin rubs off easily with a finger they are not ready to store. Once the tubers are mature you should dig them, as otherwise they may eventually re-sprout.

How: Digging the tubers is a very rewarding activity. It feels like digging for treasure, but is a lot more fruitful. Dig the tubers with a spade or spading fork, starting at least a foot away from the plants to minimize accidental spearing. Tubers will always be found above the seed potato (which is usually still recognizable if rather mushy), but may be some distance to one side.

Some people like to dig a hole alongside the first plant and then pull the plant over into it. The second plant then goes into the hole left by the first one (this method ensures thorough soil cultivation).

Handle the tubers gently to minimize damage. Even the slightest skin abrasion can cause a tuber to rot in storage and this can easily spread to nearby tubers. When you have finished digging, sort the tubers into three piles, badly damaged (speared or chopped) ones for immediate eating, grazed ones for use fairly quickly and perfect ones for storage. You will also sort out any green potatoes have been exposed to light and are toxic.

Plants/person:

10.0

Yield/plant:

0.5-3.0lbs

Yield/sq. ft.:

0.5-3.0lbs

Fruit Size:

2.5"-3.5"

Exterior Color:

Red

Interior Color:

Yellow

Nutrition:

The Potato is a substantial and nutritious food. It contains important amounts of protein, vitamin C, several B vitamins and the minerals copper, iron and potassium. It makes an important contribution to the diet because it is eaten in quantity.