Harvesting potatoes

by Jane Moore

Yes, it's potato time again; over the past week or so I've been lifting the last of the earlies and second earlies to store in the garage at home.

Recently harvestested potatoes in a trugIt's all go at the moment, there's so much to do. The recent hot weather has had quite an impact on the plot - plants have doubled in size, flowers are abundant, the onions are trying to bolt and I've got a spring in my step.

When there's so much to do on the plot it's tricky to know where to start. At the moment I've got a bit of a routine: I do a quick whizz round, snapping the flower buds off my onions, harvesting courgettes and checking the brassicas for signs of cabbage white butterfly eggs.

Then I focus my attention on potatoes. Yes, it's potato time again; over the past week or so I've been lifting the last of the earlies and second earlies to store in the garage at home.

The earlies are getting beyond 'new' potato stage - in fact there are some lovely big ones for baking - but the second earlies are just lovely. I've grown my all-time-favourite potato, 'Charlotte' again. I've yet to find another to beat it for quality, appearance, disease resistance and, above all, flavour. I know there are lots more potatoes out there, but Charlotte is just superb.

I haven't started lifting my main crop potatoes yet but I think I may have to soon. Like Pippa, the foliage of my plants has started to show signs of blight. That mottled, spotty, slightly yellowed look on the leaves makes me think "get them out quick!" I acted quickly last year, cutting and disposing of the haulms and digging up the potatoes before the blight spread to them. I saved nearly my entire crop so I don't think I'll hang about this year. In fact, that seems like a good job for this weekend.

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Gardeners' World Web User 02/08/2008 at 11:25

Oh yes, I did harvest the first potatoes and they tasted wonderful. I want to conserve the small ones for next year. The problem we faced last year was that most of the potatoes dried out or rotted away. Now I want to keep them in sawdust, in our basement which is cool. Is that a good idea? reinier van der Leij

Gardeners' World Web User 03/08/2008 at 10:33

This is my first year of growing potatoes. I took advantage of a special offer in the magazine a few months back for 3 patio planters and 3 varieties of seed potatoes, and I'm pleased to say it's proving to be a success! Going to plant more and more and more! Thanks to everyone at GW magazine, website, etc, for all the good advice!

Gardeners' World Web User 03/08/2008 at 20:25

I have a good yield of Rocket earlies and still have quite a few to be lifted. How long will they keep in store? I have a lovely cool cellar and have had success storing lates but have not tried with earlies before.

Gardeners' World Web User 03/08/2008 at 23:03

Hi first year planting potato's this year. Small/first crop. I'm digging them up as i want them. I was told that i can dig up the potato's as soon as the flowers die away. which i am doing. Beautiful flowery potato's. You talk of Storing, how do i do this?

Gardeners' World Web User 04/08/2008 at 11:50

I have grown potatoes for the first time and have loads of foliage, but help! How do I know when to harvest them?

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