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13 messages
07/05/2014 at 19:04

Hi all,

Whilst chitting my potatoes I mixed up the second earlies and main crop (2 varieties of each).

I had no idea which was which so I've planted them mixed up.

What should I do about harvesting?

Shall I harvest them all as second earlies or can I risk leaving half in the ground as main crop.

I understand this is a bit of a school boy error. Hopefully one I won't make again.

07/05/2014 at 19:20

No point in harvesting them all as second earlies - second earlies don't store well.

I'd just dig them up as I need them for the kitchen, working my way through them until I've got them all - only digging up and storing any that are still in the ground when the first frosts are due. 

07/05/2014 at 19:30

Sounds like a plan Dovefromabove.

07/05/2014 at 19:44

Its our first year as potato growers - how do you tell when they are ready to harvest??

07/05/2014 at 19:52

From the RHS website,

 

First early potatoes should be ready to lift in June and July, second earlies in July and August, maincrops from late August through October.

With earlies wait until the flowers open or the buds drop; the tubers are ready to harvest when they are the size of hens' eggs.

With maincrops for storage wait until the foliage turns yellow, then cut it and remove it. Leave for 10 days before harvesting the tubers, leaving them to dry for a few hours before storing.

 

http://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/grow-your-own/vegetables/potatoes

07/05/2014 at 19:56

Most potatoes produce flowers - when they do I fudge around in the ground and see if I can feel some potatoes, if I can and most are about the size of a hen's egg then I'll dig some up for a meal.  

When digging put the fork in some way away from the plant and ease it up gently and hopefully you won't spear any spuds.  Then when you think you've got all the potatoes turn the soil over again quite deeply and /or scrabble around with your hands, and you'll probably find some more potatoes hiding down there 

Occasionally there are some varieties of potato that don't flower - not sure why - then they ought to be ready 10 weeks from planting - if the size of the potatoes is disappointing give them another week or so. 

Oh, and the green things that look like tomatoes and that sometimes appear on the the potato plants after the flowers, are the seeds - make sure the children know they are not tomatoes as they are poisonous if eaten. 

07/05/2014 at 20:11

'Oh, and the green things that look like tomatoes and that sometimes appear on the the potato plants after the flowers, are the seeds - make sure the children know they are not tomatoes as they are poisonous if eaten. '

Top tip. 

07/05/2014 at 20:12

As a child I loved being told what was poisonous - it made gardening really interesting 

07/05/2014 at 20:13

And survivable thankfully. 

07/05/2014 at 20:51

I harvest mine for the annual flower and vegetable show. Second prize last year. First time I had ever won anything, so got a big buzz... and 50p. !!!

08/05/2014 at 07:41

Congratulations Woody!!! Hope you spent it on something useful - a bun in the tea tent? 

08/05/2014 at 07:46

Oh I am glad you posted this! While reading it I realised I completely forgot to note when I put my potatoes in the ground! 

08/05/2014 at 07:51

Dove 

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