Harvesting potatoes (and our hot tips for storing potatoes for long keeping)…
Harvesting potatoes is a new year tradition we have enjoyed in our family for quite a few years! We do snaffle potatoes earlier in the season (by bandicooting and removing select plants to free up space in the garden). However the majority of our potatoes we harvest come January, when the plants are quite mature.
How do you tell when your potatoes are ready to harvest?
Once your potato plants begin to flower it is an indication that they are mature. You can bandicoot around now for small surface potatoes suitable for eating straight away. We recommend, however, that you allow the main plant to mature for another 2-4 weeks, or until the vine has begun to die off and yellow. This will mean larger spuds with thicker skins that will store longer.
Other tips for harvesting potatoes to ensure a year-round supply
- Don’t plant your spuds all at once. This means you can harvest them over a longer period to extend your homegrown potato season.
- Plant different varieties. Like many annuals there are “early” and “late” varieties of spuds which can extend your growing (and thus harvest and eating) seasons. Examples of early varieties include “Kipfler” and “Pink Eye” while later varieties include “Kennebec” and “Russet Burbank”.
- Hold off watering your plants the last few weeks before you plan to lift them – this will help them to develop a thick skin. Excess moisture can also cause mature potatoes to rot in the ground.
- Once harvested, brush the dirt gently off with a dry cloth or soft-bristled brush. Allow them to cure in a cool, dry, dark spot with plenty of air-flow, sitting in cardboard boxes or paper bags for 2 or so weeks
- Chuck out any spoiled or dodgy looking spuds. One bad pomme really can spoil the bunch!
- When storing cured potatoes, find a dark spot, with good airflow and no excess moisture. A wicker basket in a ventilated cupboard is ideal.