How to Know when Potatoes Are ready to Harvest
Potato is an extremely versatile vegetable. It can be baked, boiled, steamed, mashed, fried and can be cooked in every possible way. As it is said, there is never a wrong way to cook potatoes. Growing this awesome vegetable in our own kitchen garden can prove to be a great investment as you would always have a supply of your own organic potatoes. While growing potatoes one is often confused as to how to know when the potatoes are ready to harvest. Keep reading this OneHowTo article to find the answer.
Types of potatoes
While growing, you will come across two types of potatoes. One is the new potato and the other is the mature potato.
- New Potatoes: New potatoes are the young tubers of the potato plant and are quite small in size with soft skin. They are consumed soon after harvest as they can’t be stored for a long period of time.
- Mature Potatoes: Mature potatoes are harvested some weeks after the new potatoes. They have firm skin that doesn’t come off easily. They can be stored for a longer period of time than the new potatoes.
When to harvest Potatoes
As there are two types of potato, each one will need to be harvested at a different time. Take a look at how to harvest each variety:
Usually new potatoes are harvested 10 weeks after planting the potato plant. When the flowers of the potato plants start to bloom the first time, it is time to harvest the new potatoes.
Mature potatoes are usually harvested when all the foliage of the potato plant has withered and died.
How to harvest Potatoes
Know you know when the right time to harvest them is, let's take a look at how to do so properly.
When you see that the first flower has bloomed in the potato plant, be ready to harvest the sweet new potatoes. Instead of digging out the entire plant, carefully move aside the soil around the roots. Then carefully remove a few potatoes from each plant. Make sure not to harm the roots and to handle the potatoes carefully as their skin is quite soft.
Since the foliage dies before harvesting the mature potatoes, you can just dig up the whole plant. At first, dig up one or two of them and check the skin. If the skin is soft and can be scrubbed off easily when rubbed then leave them for a few days. When the skin doesn’t scrub off when rubbed with fingers, then the potatoes are ready to harvest. Dig them out and store them for future use.
New potatoes can’t be stored and taste best when eaten on the same day it is harvested.
Mature potatoes can be stored for several months. Before storing, wipe away the dirt from the potatoes then keep them in a dark place. Check them after 2 weeks. Discard the ones which feel soft. Store the rest of them in a dark place.
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