Since we welcomed spring a couple of days ago, you’re probably starting to think about planting everyone’s favorite vegetable – potatoes.
This vegetable is very simple to plant, nourish and harvest, but it’s essential to know when to harvest potatoes according to the type of this vegetable that you decide to grow, in order to get the most of each type.
You’ve already read all about potato as one the best organic vegetables to grow indoors or how and when to plant sweet potatoes in our previous blogs, but how do you know when potatoes are ready to harvest?
In this blog, other than learning about three other types, you’ll also learn when to harvest sweet potatoes to enjoy their delicious taste.
Besides that, you’ll learn when to harvest potatoes in containers if you have a limited place for this tasty vegetable.
Without further ado, let’s find out how to know when potatoes are ready to harvest?
- Types of Potatoes
- When to Take Out the Early and Mid-Season Varieties
- When to Dig up Late Potatoes
- When to Harvest Potatoes in Containers
- How to Dig Up Potatoes Without Damage
- How to Know When to Harvest Sweet Potatoes
- What’s the Best Way to Harvest and Store Sweet Potatoes
Types of Potatoes
Before we speak about when are potatoes ready to harvest, you should know all of the kinds of this vegetable
- Late potatoes
Each type will require planting and harvesting at a different time, and that’s why you should know when each type is ready to be pulled.
Also, as you can imagine, every one of these three types will be a different size, but it also depends on how long you let them stay inside the soil.
When to Take Out the Early and Mid-Season Varieties
While there’s a subtle difference in the number of days that these two kinds of potatoes need to be ready for harvesting, both of them are also known as “new potatoes.”
When it comes to these potatoes, they are ready to be dug up after around 70 days for early varieties and around 100 days for mid-season ones.
The number of days that they stay in the soil it’s different, but what makes us consider both of these types as “new” ones is the fact that they are small once they’re out of the soil, and they should be eaten shortly after the harvest.
Other than the number of days, another indicator that’ll tell you when to harvest potatoes is the beginning of flowering.
This means that you’ll be able to take out the potatoes before they reach the full size and maturity, hence the smaller tubers.
Of course, the longer you leave them in the ground after you notice the flowers, the larger they’ll get.
When to Dig up Late Potatoes
When it comes to late varieties or “storage” tubers, let’s try to explain how do you know when potatoes are ready to harvest.
As opposed to new, smaller potatoes, storage potatoes won’t be good to take out of the soil when you see the flowers, but later.
They need around 140 days to be mature enough for harvest.
The best indicators are the leaves above the soil. When the leaves start becoming yellowish and dying, it’s time to collect them.
Also, storage varieties shouldn’t be planted at the beginning of April, but in August, which means that you’ll be able to dig them in November.
These kinds of potatoes are much larger than the other two types, and you can keep them in a dark place during the winter, and enjoy their deliciousness whenever you want.
When to Harvest Potatoes in Containers
The right time to collect the potatoes that are planted in containers depends whether you want new or storage potatoes, or even both, actually.
You can provide both new and storage type of this vegetable from only one container, and even one seed potato.
If you’re opting for tasty smaller potatoes, you should gently dig the tubers out when you see the plant flowering.
Be careful not to damage the rest of the vegetable and other tubers that you want to stay in the soil longer, reach their full size and maturity.
When it comes to potatoes you want to store, wait until the leaves change color and start becoming yellow and falling on the soil, carefully pour out everything from the container, and take the tubers you want to store.
How to Dig Up Potatoes Without Damage
Whether you’re taking a couple of tubers for supper or you want to store the main crop, you should be very patient and gentle when pulling them out.
If you want to take a few of the new, early potatoes, use a gardening tool to loosen up the soil and delicately take the rest of the plant so that you can collect as many tubers as needed.
Once you finish, place the rest of the potatoes back into the soil and water well.
When digging all of the potatoes for storage, you should also be gentle and do everything slowly.
Even though mature, the skin of potatoes is still delicate and can bruise easily before the curing process.
In case you damage some tubers, make sure to eat them as soon as possible because those will decay during the storage.
Collecting this vegetable from the containers is probably a bit easier because you can take out everything from the container first, without gardening tools that could cut the skin, and then gently pull the tubers from the soil.
After you take them out, you should leave them to cure them before you move them to the storage.
The Correct Way to Cure Storage Tubers
When it comes to potatoes you want to store, the process of curing is very simple.
All you need to do is leave them in temperature from 7 to 16 degrees Celsius for about two weeks so that the skin can harden and heal any minor bruising.
After this, you should keep all of the tubers of the potato in some dark place with a temperature of 4 degrees Celsius, and don’t allow any light inside the storage because it could turn the potatoes green.
Also, it’s very important not to allow the tubers of potato to freeze.
How to Know When to Harvest Sweet Potatoes
As you probably already know, sweet potatoes are also effortless and simple to plant and grow because they are very resistant and don’t have a lot of problems during the growth (such as diseases or pests).
Another big plus, other than the great taste, is the fact that you won’t have any trouble harvesting sweet potatoes, just as long as you’re careful.
Are you comparing sweet potatoes to the new or storage ones and wondering when are potatoes ready to harvest?
Well, you should know that, while the planting should be done in the spring (like with the early-season kind), the indicator of when to harvest potatoes is similar to the storage potatoes.
Let’s explain a bit better.
Like said, you should plant the sweet potato in the first couple of weeks of spring, which usually means in April.
This vegetable loves warm temperatures, and for that reason, the soil can’t be frozen.
Sweet potatoes need around four months (100 days) until they fully grow.
Contrary to new potatoes where you harvest them as soon as you notice the flowering, sweet potatoes are actually similar to late-season potatoes on this matter.
So, as explained for the storage potatoes, you should wait until the leaves become dry and start dying before harvesting sweet potatoes.
You can even wait until the weather becomes colder and harvest them then, but don’t let them freeze.
What’s the Best Way to Harvest and Store Sweet Potatoes
The last thing we should mention is the harvesting of sweet potatoes and how to store them correctly.
The roots of sweet potatoes can go deep into the soil up to 6 inches, and that’s why you need to use a spading or small gardening fork while digging them.
Be gentle and try to avoid damaging the skin because it’s very delicate.
You can pull the largest crown of sweet potato and then gently take the tubers with your hands while being even more careful than with storage potatoes because this type can bruise even more easily.
Shake off the soil as much as possible without applying the water on the roots.
Unless you let the tubers have the curing period, the potatoes will lose their unique taste, and that’s why you need to leave them to form the secondary skin.
To allow them to do that, you should put sweet potatoes in someplace warm; ideally, the temperature should be around 27 degrees Celsius, with a lot of humidity.
One option could be to keep them on a table outside hidden from the direct sunshine and leave them there for two weeks.
Make sure to keep each potato separated for a better curing process.
When it comes to storing sweet potatoes, the first thing you should do is wrap each tuber in some kind of paper individually and then place them gently in a basket or box made of wood.
The temperature of the place where you’re going to keep the sweet potato should be around 13 degrees Celsius and with a high percentage of humidity in order for the potatoes to last for up to six months.
Don’t forget to be delicate with the potatoes even when taking them out of the storage place because of their tender and fragile skin.
Hopefully, you understand more about questions like “when are potatoes ready to harvest” and how exactly to do it in order to get the best of them, no matter which type you’re growing.
Now you can take care of your own potatoes and have them ready for the preparation of the delicious dishes.