The How And When To Harvesting Potatoes

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Harvesting Potatoes (Photo by Viana Boenzli)
(Photo by Viana Boenzli)

The How And When To Harvesting Potatoes

Ten weeks ago, it was still the beginning of summer and I had dirt under my fingernails from planting potatoes and other veggies in the garden. Since then, our plants have been growing and producing, and we’ve been picking tomatoes and cucumbers and beets and so much more healthy, delicious food. Now that it’s fall, the potatoes are ready to be harvested too. The how and when to harvesting potatoes is really quite simple. There are just a few things to keep in mind…

 

When To Harvest Potatoes

All summer long, my potato plants were busily growing big and strong, while producing their tubers underground. The green plant above ground steadily grew and grew until it was several feet fall. Recently, though, that plant has turned brown and wilted onto the ground. But don’t fret! There’s nothing wrong with the plant. This is just its way of saying that the potatoes are ready for harvest.

Harvesting Potatoes - Brown and wilted potato plants, ready for harvest! (Photo by Viana Boenzli)
Brown and wilted potato plants, ready for harvest! (Photo by Viana Boenzli)

How To Harvest Potatoes

With a small hand rake and a large bowl in hand, I got to the job of digging. After pulling the wilted plants out of my way, I gently raked the soil a little at a time. The reason for this is to try to avoid (as much as possible anyway) damaging the skin of the potatoes. While a few will get some nicks and scrapes, make sure to eat those potatoes first, as any damaged skin just opens it up to rot and disease.

 

How To Store Potatoes

Once I had my bounty of potatoes, I took them into the kitchen and lightly brushed off the dirt with a soft brush (you can use a towel, if you prefer). Again, be as gentle as possible to avoid damaging the skin. Don’t wash the potatoes until you’re ready to cook them, as getting them wet can also cause problems if you’re going to store them.

 

Keep your potatoes in a cool dry place and they should last at least a few weeks, if not longer.

 

Now, what to make, what to make? Baked potatoes, french fries, mashed, au gratin…so many yummy possibilities!

 

Watch the short video below, where I explain and demonstrate how to unearth a bowlful of delicious taters from your garden:

Fun Facts About Potatoes

  • Potatoes are part of the nightshade family, which also includes tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and tobacco.
  • White potatoes and sweet potatoes are not related. While the white potato is a member of the nightshade family, the sweet potato is related to the morning glory flowering vine.
  • A potato is about 80% water and 20% solid.
  • French fries were introduced to America when Thomas Jefferson served them at a White House dinner.
  • The average American eats 140 pounds of potatoes per year. Germans eat more than 200 pounds.
  • Potatoes are the world’s fourth food staple – after wheat, corn, and rice.
  • Potatoes were the first vegetable grown in space.
  • In 1974, Englishman Eric Jenkins grew 370 pounds of potatoes from one plant!

 

Are you growing and harvesting potatoes in your garden this year? Let us know in the comments below!

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