Harvesting Potatoes

Since this is my first year growing potatoes, I have been doing a lot of research on how to plant them, cover them, and when to harvest them. That is a big issue on my mind right now – when do I harvest??

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Five rows of Pontiac Red and five rows of Yukon Gold potatoes, quite frankly overrun with weeds
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18 containers – 4 with Blue, 5 with Red Fingerling, 9 with Pontiac Red

In this video, this guy harvests when the potatoes when they start to flower. At that point, the plant starts putting all the energy into the flower and the actual potato will stay the same size. But his plants look really green, and what I have seen and read is you want them to keep growing until the vines die, that the plants do keep growing the potatoes. Honestly, I don’t think he knows what he is doing.

In this video, you can see his potato vines have a really brown and dried. I have seen similar conditions of the vines in other videos, and my friend in Virginia waits until the fall and there did not seem to be any vines left. My plants still have some green in them and are not dead yet. My potatoes look like the potatoes at the ~6 min mark in this video. He basically outlines when to harvest based on what size potato you want: greener leaves (smaller), leaves dying (mix of large/small), leaves and vines dry + 2-3 week wait (large).

In this video, his potatoes look similar (maybe greener) to what I have now in the garden and he says they are ready for harvest. It is interesting because, he says there is nothing wrong with potatoes turned green from the sun, where others say it is bad. He also sort of tosses his potatoes while others are a bit more careful.

Google: Green potatoes have produced alkyloids and in low quantities is not harmful, but can make the potato bitter. The specific chemical is solanine and it is poisonous. The symptoms are listed here. Basically peel the green part off.

Here is another video I watched to gather information.

So, here is my potato fields and containers. I will be harvesting this weekend for a few reasons:

  1. I think they are ready.
  2. I want to use the dirt from the containers and add it to some of my other rows.
  3. I want to plant more fall crops in the potato beds come August. I may fill them all up with peas!

More Harvest

Just a few more pictures from today’s harvest. Wow, we are really producing (and need to be preserving)!

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More cucumbers and long beans
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EVEN more tomatoes!
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