You say potato, I say patahto, potato, patahto, let’s plant a crop of potatoes!
In this blog post, I will cover when to plant them as well as how they grow and when to harvest potatoes for maximum benefit. Keep reading!
Plant potatoes in the ground and water them regularly
Seed potatoes should be planted in the soil about an inch deep and once they sprout, the potato plants should be further covered. If you want taller potato plants, continue covering them with soil. However, if your aim is for shorter potato plants, all you have to do is cover the lower part of the tuber with soil.
For best results, it is recommended to plant seed potatoes in soil that contains lots of organic material. Potato plants and tubers are heavy feeders, so you can also add fertilizer right after planting them.
The best time for planting seed potatoes would be in early spring or late summer/fall and potato plants and the tubers underneath should mature between 80 and 100 days after planting (90 days is a safe bet). Plant potatoes with plenty of time to harvest before your first frost though to protect your harvest. You can start stealing new potatoes from the vines sooner than that they’ll just be smaller than the mature version.
Potato foliage will blossom into potato flowers and sometimes grow small berries. This is perfectly normal when growing potatoes but don’t eat the berries, they’re poisonous. Harvesting potatoes throughout the season gives you new potatoes and baby potatoes but you’re ready to harvest once all the potato foliage has died back before harvesting potatoes for storage.
When to Harvest Potatoes? They should be ready for harvest in around 4 months or so depending on how much you want to grow at once.
To know when to harvest potatoes pay attention to the vines, the vines should be completely dried up and leaves wilted. You can also let them turn yellow or red before harvesting them. Get yourself a potato fork to make harvesting your homegrown potatoes easier. Drive your fork down deep into the soil and pull all the dirt up while shaking it to harvest potatoes easier.
There are many different potato varieties that come in all shapes, sizes and colors like white, red, purple, blue eggplant type of potatoes (just to name a few).
All sorts of potatoes are fine to grow for food, but you should choose cultivars that are locally adapted.
You can dig potatoes in many different ways depending on what you want to do with them. You can harvest potatoes by pulling whole potato plants, cut the vine and leave the tubers attached, or cut the vine and remove each tuber individually.
Make sure you harvest all your potatoes at least one week prior to your first frost. Frost can damage the skins making them susceptible to insects and diseases. Freshly dug potatoes need to be cured and dried before you can store potatoes for an extended period of time. However you can use freshly dug potatoes as baby potatoes, or new potatoes, right away to eat if you’re not planning on storing them.
Store your potatoes by placing them in a dark, cool place like an attic, root cellar, or basement.
Once you’ve dug your potato crop you’ll need to prepare them so you can store potatoes long-term.
Cover your main crop potatoes with dry straw, sawdust, leaves or sand for insulation. Then, check every day to see if they are sprouting. If they do sprout, it is best to eat them right away. The smaller baby potatoes can be eaten right out of the ground.
If you do not plan on eating your potatoes right away, make sure you have conditions that are cool and dark to store potatoes until it’s time to use them. While it’s easy to grow potatoes many people have issues with having enough space to store them after the harvest. Make sure you grow potatoes you like and only enough plants that you have room to store.
Potatoes will last longest if the soil temperature never goes above 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius). As soon as they are exposed to lower temperatures for more than a few days, the starch in potatoes turns into sugar; this is what gives them an off-flavor and makes them lose their appeal.
However, if you want to store them through the winter, make sure they are exposed to lower temperatures for only a few days at a time. This will prevent sugar buildup and keep your potatoes tasting great!
We Hope Now You Know a Little More About How to Grow and When to Harvest Potatoes
Potatoes are versatile vegetables that can be grown in many different ways for use in your diet. Whether you want to grow them from seed, purchase plants or even order potatoes online, there is a variety of methods and techniques available to ensure the best possible yield. They also store well when harvested at the right time and stored correctly which makes it easy to enjoy fresh potatoes all year round!
Remember to harvest them all before your first frost and let them cure and dry before storing them away.
Interested in how to grow and harvest other veggies? Check out some of our other articles on vegetable gardening!