How do you know when your potatoes are ready for harvest? You wait for the plants to fall over and turn brown. Once the plants start falling over, you want to stop fertilizing, but keep watering. Once they’re all fallen over and brown, you can pull the plants right out of the soil. Some potatoes will come out with it, which is good.
As you pull the potatoes out, HANDLE THEM GENTLY! They’re still very wet and soft, and even rubbing them can rub the peel off. And rubbing the peel off will make them go bad quickly. Just leave them covered in dirt for at least a few days while they dry out.
Once you’ve pulled the plants out, pull out the dirt with a hand trowel, and move it into another container, gently removing the potatoes as you go. You should have potatoes all the way to the bottom of the container, so you will need to remove most of the dirt to get everything.
What do you do when you’re done? Replant! You can get a full other harvest in this season, and potatoes will keep growing merrily until the first frost. Leave 4″ of soil, plant 6-8 potatoes that are smaller with at least 2-3 eyes, cover with 4″ more soil, and repeat. Unless you live very far north, with September frost, you have plenty of time to plant potatoes in August, or even as late as mid-September.
I got two full bowls this size after eating a half dozen, AND after replanting. And most of the potatoes were the size of my fist. After harvesting, leave the potatoes in a cool, dark place for a few days, and DO NOT WASH THEM. As I said, even gentle rubbing can rub the skin off, and the potatoes won’t keep. If you let them dry, they’ll keep for months, and you can wash the dirt off before you eat them.
Loving the city, but longing for the farm, Melissa has made a hobby and a habit out of living sustainably, and DIYing, all while enjoying the perks of living in the big city. From Vancouver BC, she posts about making your own homestead from the smallest condo, and bringing farm living to rapid transit.
Copyright © Josephine 2015. All rights reserved.