Digging up potatoes….

Your potato plants should be ready for harvest when they appear to be dying and/or dead. I am not one to look to for advice on this subject because mine did not come out too well. They were taking up a third of row and I was getting impatient so I figured, let’s do this. As you can see — they aren’t what they should be. I think my dirt quality and looseness was not good for growing potato maybe I would do better if I tried growing them in a trash can or large pot with better soil or one of those special potato containers you can buy online. I mean these are edible, I think.

Does anyone know why they are such odd shaped? Any tips or info would be greatly appreciated!

Here are some tips and info I found online:

Here are a few tips for digging up and storing potatoes:

  • Once the plant turns crispy and brown and dead, the potatoes under the ground are finished growing.  ( I suppose this is obvious.)
  • When the plant is crispy, you can leave the potatoes under the ground for several more weeks and they will be fine.  This will toughen them up a little, which is good.
  • On the other hand, if you’re experiencing a lot of rain, you want to get the potatoes out of the ground so that they don’t rot.  Rotten potatoes don’t make good french fries.
  • Use a big spade or potato fork to dig up your potatoes.  Look for the base of the plant, then dig several inches away from the base.  There are likely to be four to eight potatoes with each plant.
  • Occasionally you will stab a potato with your spade or potato fork.  This is a bummer…and also kind of funny.  Throw those stabbed potatoes into a separate box and eat these potatoes first.
  • Green potatoes can make you sick.  Potatoes turn green when they are exposed to light. Some people say to throw away any potato that has even a little green on it.  I just cut off the green part and eat the rest.  I have lived to tell about it.
  • Russet or kennebec potatoes store the best for a longer period of time.  We usually eat up our red potatoes and yukon gold potatoes first and keep the brown potatoes in storage longer.
  • To prepare your potatoes for storing, lay them singularly on a newspaper or old sheet in a darkish room.  Cover them with another newspaper or sheet and let them sit this way for about a week.  This will help “harden them off”.   Their skins will toughen up, which will help them keep longer.
  • After your potatoes have been hardened off, put them into covered boxes or baskets.  We usually put about 15-20 pounds in each box.
  • It is VERY important that the containers for your potatoes do not allow any light in.  Light will cause the potatoes to sprout.  Without light, potatoes will not sprout for months.
  • Place your containers in a dark, cool room.  We have a room in our basement that has been great for storing potatoes.  It doesn’t have windows to allow any light in.  It is cool but not cold.
  • Cold potatoes will “sugar”.  That’s why you don’t put potatoes in the refrigerator.
  • You may want to occasionally sift through your potatoes to check for any that may be rotting.  One rotten potato can cause the whole box to rot.  It stinks (literally).
  • Potatoes will keep well for several months if stored correctly.  Ours usually last until about March, at which time we use the remaining potatoes for our seed potatoes!

Thanks to Heavenly Homemakers for this info!


2 responses to this post.

  1. We have harvested some potatoes this weekend, and the harvest was terrible. We only got 2-3 potatos per plant. I’ll have to add to the soil for next year.


  2. Those are some great tips and advise on storing potatoes. I’ll have to try a few of them once my plants finish their thing.


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