Harvesting potatoes

by Pippa Greenwood

We've been harvesting potatoes. After the dreaded potato blight hit the rows of potatoes I was quick to employ my son to cut off and rake up all the haulms.

Harvested potatoes in a trugWe've been harvesting potatoes. After the dreaded potato blight hit the rows of potatoes I was quick to employ my son to cut off and rake up all the haulms.

Although we couldn't lift the tubers immediately and we had a lot of rain, when we did lift them they were well-nigh perfect. For harvesting we used a super-sturdy potato fork; these minimise waste by making it virtually impossible to inadvertently spike and damage the tubers. I still found the whole process of lifting spuds as exciting as I did when I lifted the crops with my mother more than forty years ago. The addition of one and sometimes two small helpers makes the job even more of a pleasure and this year's crop of 'Desiree' had particularly high entertainment value.

The variation in size and shape of the tubers was extreme. There were two tubers which stood out from all the rest. The first, held aloft by a grinning 10-year-old, weighed in at a full 750g and was ear-marked for slicing and frying. I was sure it would win a prize in the 'vegetable man' competition at our village show. In contrast, the second was about 4cm in diameter, entirely hollowed out, with no sign of the flesh at all, but plenty of slug damage.

Why were all the larger tubers free of slug damage, and yet this tiny tuber was eaten out of existence?!

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Gardeners' World Web User 04/08/2008 at 10:38

my potato plant has produced a small bunch of fruit bodies. they are very similar in look to a small green tomato. when cut open it has small seed and smells like a tomato. when I lifted the plant there were tuber attatched. any ideas ?

Gardeners' World Web User 29/08/2008 at 15:22

I'm desperate for some advice with my own potatoes! For the first time, I planted some second-earlies back in April and and they romped away magnificently to begin with and I haven't seen any sign of any blight (touch wood!). They suffered a little when I went away for three days back in July when it was hot and some of the stems died so I cut them back. The problem is, I don't know when to harvest them! They don't look like they're ever going to flower which I understand is the usual sign and they're in those green potato bags so it's difficult to just pull some soil away to see what's going on. Should I just bite the bullet and empty the bag to see what I've got? And if all the stems died on any one particular plant, would the (possible) tubers rot away and damage the other plants in the same bag? Any help would be gratefully appreciated. :-)

Gardeners' World Web User 30/08/2008 at 16:07

i need some advice on storing potatoes in a clamp... how much straw? how much space do they need? how accessible are they for use? I’ve got space in the greenhouse, is that a good place to make a clamp?

Gardeners' World Web User 03/09/2008 at 19:48

I had exactly the same thing happen to me,plus I had some lovely big plants,lots of foliage and was looking forward to lots of potatoes from these plants but when I dug them up there wasnt a potato to be seen,so what happened to them,? all the other plants yielded lots of very large potatoes but these 2 plants,nothing

Gardeners' World Web User 04/09/2008 at 09:29

My potatoes did not flower, they are in containers, some of the leaves died back and on harvesting I found they burst after minutes in boiling water, the skins were very thick and just peeled off and the potato was powdery and dry and tasteless. I don't think it's blight because the potatoes look fine before cooking. Would appreciate some advice.

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