Harvesting Early Potatoes: Getting A Successful Harvest

https://theherbprof.com/ | More Articles Here

TheHerbProf.com is a treasure trove of knowledge for those interested in natural healing and herbal remedies. The website is run by Paul Johnston MD. A naturopathic who has not only received extensive education in the field but also has personal experience in self-healing.

Harvesting early potatoes can be a rewarding experience for any gardener. Early potatoes are typically harvested in late spring to early summer, as they take around eight to fourteen weeks to mature. Maincrop varieties, on the other hand, take much longer, often around five months. Within the early category, there are potatoes that grow faster than others.

Knowing when to harvest early potatoes is crucial to ensure that they are at their best. First early varieties are planted between the end of February and early May and are typically ready to be harvested 10 weeks after planting. These varieties are ideal options when planting in potato grow bags or large containers. A few to look for include ‘Arran Pilot’, ‘Foremost’, and ‘Pentland Javelin’ among many others. It is important to note that the size of the potato is not always an indicator of when to harvest. Instead, it is best to wait until the plants have died back before harvesting.

Harvesting early potatoes is relatively straightforward. Gently dig around the plants with a fork, being careful not to damage the potatoes. Once harvested, it is recommended to let the potatoes dry out in the sun for a few hours before storing them in a cool, dark place. With a little patience and care, harvesting early potatoes can be a fun and rewarding experience for any gardener.

Understanding Early Potatoes

As a potato farmer, I have learned that early potatoes are a great addition to any garden. They are generally harvested in late spring to early summer, and take around 8 to 14 weeks (55-100 days) to mature. Early potatoes are known for their thin skin and tender flesh, which makes them perfect for boiling, roasting, or frying. In this section, I will discuss the characteristics and varieties of early potatoes.

Characteristics of Early Potatoes

Early potatoes are harvested before they reach maturity, which means they are smaller in size and have a thinner skin than maincrop potatoes. They are also known as new potatoes or baby potatoes. The thin skin of early potatoes makes them easy to peel, and their tender flesh gives them a buttery texture. Early potatoes are perfect for boiling, roasting, or frying, and they are often used in salads.

Varieties of Early Potatoes

There are many different varieties of early potatoes, each with its own unique characteristics. Some popular varieties of early potatoes include:

  • Red Norland: This variety has red skin and white flesh. It is known for its early maturity and excellent flavor.
  • Irish Cobbler: This variety has a light brown skin and white flesh. It is known for its creamy texture and nutty flavor.
  • Kennebec: This variety has a light brown skin and white flesh. It is known for its high yield and excellent storage qualities.
  • Butte: This variety has a light yellow skin and white flesh. It is known for its early maturity and excellent flavor.
  • Norkotah: This variety has a light brown skin and white flesh. It is known for its high yield and disease resistance.

In addition to these varieties, there are also fingerling and red potatoes that can be harvested early. Fingerling potatoes are long and thin, and they have a firm texture and nutty flavor. Red potatoes have a red skin and white flesh, and they are known for their sweet flavor and creamy texture.

Overall, early potatoes are a great addition to any garden. They are easy to grow and harvest, and they have a delicious flavor and texture. With so many varieties to choose from, there is sure to be an early potato that suits your taste and needs.

Pre-Harvest Considerations

Lush green potato plants, small tubers peeking through soil, farmer inspecting crop for readiness

As a gardener, I know that harvesting early potatoes is a delicate process that requires careful planning and attention to detail. In this section, I will discuss some of the key considerations to keep in mind before harvesting your early potatoes.

Soil Preparation

The first step in preparing for a successful early potato harvest is to ensure that your soil is well-prepared. This means ensuring that your soil is rich in nutrients and has good drainage. I recommend adding compost or well-rotted manure to your soil before planting your seed potatoes.

Planting and Growing Conditions

When planting your seed potatoes, it is important to ensure that they are planted in an area that receives plenty of sunlight. Early potatoes require at least six hours of sunlight per day to grow properly. Additionally, it is important to ensure that your seed potatoes are planted at the correct depth and are spaced out properly.

Once your seed potatoes have been planted, it is important to ensure that they are watered regularly. I recommend watering your potatoes deeply once a week, rather than watering them lightly every day. Additionally, it is important to ensure that your potatoes are properly mulched to help retain moisture in the soil.

Finally, it is important to ensure that your potatoes are properly hilled. This means that you should pile soil around the base of your potato plants as they grow. This will help to prevent your potatoes from being exposed to sunlight, which can cause them to turn green and become inedible.

By taking the time to properly prepare your soil, plant your seed potatoes in the right conditions, and care for your plants as they grow, you can ensure a successful early potato harvest.

Harvesting Techniques – Harvesting Early Potatoes

Farmers dig up rows of early potatoes, carefully lifting the tender tubers from the soil and placing them in baskets

As an experienced gardener, I have learned that harvesting early potatoes is a crucial step in ensuring that they are at their best. There are two main aspects to consider when harvesting early potatoes: determining the right time to harvest and how to dig and gather potatoes safely.

Determining the Right Time to Harvest – Harvesting Early Potatoes

To determine when your early potatoes are ready to harvest, you should keep an eye on the foliage. When the plants start to flower, it is a good sign that the tubers are ready to be harvested. Another way to check is to gently dig around the base of the plant and see if the tubers are the size that you want. If they are still too small, you should wait a little longer before harvesting.

How to Dig and Gather Potatoes Safely

When it comes to digging and gathering early potatoes, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you should use a garden fork rather than a shovel. This will help you avoid damaging the tubers. Second, you should gently lift the plants out of the ground. Avoid pulling them out by the stems, as this can cause damage to the tubers.

Once you have lifted the plants out of the ground, you should carefully remove the tubers from the roots. You can do this by gently shaking the plants or by using your hands to carefully remove the tubers from the soil. Be sure to handle the tubers gently to avoid bruising them.

Harvesting early potatoes requires careful attention to detail and a gentle touch. By determining the right time to harvest and using the proper techniques to dig and gather the tubers, you can ensure that your crop is healthy and delicious.

Post-Harvest Handling – Harvesting Early Potatoes

Potatoes being gently lifted from the soil, cleaned, and sorted into crates for transport

After harvesting early potatoes, it is important to handle them properly to ensure their quality and longevity. In this section, I will cover the curing process for potatoes and how to store them for long-term use.

Curing Process for Potatoes – Harvesting Early Potatoes

Curing is a process that allows potatoes to dry and heal any minor cuts or bruises they may have received during harvest. This process also helps to toughen the skins, which will help them last longer during storage. To cure potatoes, I recommend leaving them in a warm, dry location with good ventilation for about 7-10 days. The ideal temperature for curing potatoes is between 50-60°F (10-15°C). During this time, it is important to avoid exposing the potatoes to direct sunlight, as this can cause them to turn green and develop solanine, a toxic substance.

Storing Harvested Potatoes

Once the curing process is complete, it is time to store the potatoes for long-term use. Potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark location with good ventilation to prevent them from sprouting or rotting. The ideal temperature for storing potatoes is between 35-40°F (2-4°C), with a humidity level between 85-95%. It is important to avoid exposing the potatoes to extreme cold or freezing temperatures, as this can damage their texture.

When storing potatoes, it is important to keep them in a container that allows for good air circulation, such as a mesh bag or a cardboard box with holes. Avoid storing potatoes in plastic bags, as this can cause them to sweat and rot. If you are storing potatoes in a refrigerator, make sure it is a frost-free model, as frost can damage the potatoes.

Proper post-harvest handling of early potatoes is crucial for maintaining their quality and longevity. By following the curing process and storing the potatoes in a cool, dark location with good ventilation, you can ensure that your potatoes will last for several months.

Pest and Disease Management – Harvesting Early Potatoes

Farmers inspecting and handpicking early potatoes, while using organic pest and disease management techniques

As with any vegetable, early potatoes are susceptible to pests and diseases that can significantly reduce yield and quality. Identifying and managing these issues is crucial for a successful harvest.

Identifying Common Pests and Diseases – Harvesting Early Potatoes

Early potatoes can be affected by a range of pests and diseases, including blight, aphids, and wireworms. Blight is a fungal disease that affects the foliage and can quickly spread to the tubers, causing significant damage. Aphids are small insects that can transmit viruses to the plant, while wireworms are the larvae of click beetles and can cause damage to the tubers.

Other diseases that can affect early potatoes include blackleg, which causes blackening of the stems and leaves, and common scab, which causes rough, scabby patches on the tubers. It’s also important to be aware of solanine, a toxic compound that can develop in the foliage and tubers of potatoes when they are exposed to light.

Preventive Measures and Treatments

Preventing and treating pests and diseases is essential for a successful harvest of early potatoes. Here are some measures you can take:

  • Choose disease-resistant cultivars when possible.
  • Rotate crops to prevent the buildup of pests and diseases in the soil.
  • Keep the foliage dry by watering at the base of the plant rather than from above.
  • Remove any infected foliage or tubers promptly to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Use insecticidal soap or neem oil to control aphids.
  • Apply beneficial nematodes to control wireworms.
  • Avoid exposing the tubers to light, which can cause solanine to develop.

By taking these measures, you can help prevent and manage pests and diseases in your early potato crop, ensuring a healthy and abundant harvest.

Optimizing Yield and Quality – Harvesting Early Potatoes

Lush green potato plants with ripe, golden potatoes being gently unearthed from the rich soil

Best Practices for High Yield – Harvesting Early Potatoes

As an avid potato grower, I have found that optimizing yield and quality is crucial when harvesting early potatoes. To ensure a high yield, it is important to choose the right potato variety. For early potatoes, I recommend choosing Viking or King Edward varieties, as they tend to mature faster than other potato varieties.

When planting early potatoes, it is important to plant them in dry soil. This helps to prevent bruising, which can reduce yield. Additionally, early potatoes should be planted in rows, with each potato seed placed 12 inches apart. This allows for proper growth and prevents overcrowding, which can also reduce yield.

To encourage high yield, it is important to provide the potatoes with cool days and plenty of water. This helps to ensure that the potatoes grow healthy and strong. A row cover can also be used to protect the plants from the sun and other harsh weather conditions.

Ensuring Quality of Early Potatoes

In addition to optimizing yield, it is important to ensure the quality of early potatoes. To do this, it is important to harvest the potatoes at the right time. Early potatoes are typically ready to harvest when they start blooming. This is a sign that the potatoes have formed stolons and are ready to be harvested.

When harvesting early potatoes, it is important to be gentle to prevent bruising. Bruised potatoes can reduce yield and affect the quality of the potatoes. Additionally, it is important to sort the potatoes carefully, removing any green potatoes or potatoes that are bruised.

To ensure the best quality of early potatoes, it is important to store them properly. Early potatoes should be stored in a cool, dry place to prevent them from sprouting or rotting. Maincrop potatoes, on the other hand, can be stored for longer periods of time and are suitable for winter storage.

Optimizing yield and quality when harvesting early potatoes requires careful planning and attention to detail. By following the best practices for high yield and ensuring the quality of early potatoes, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of delicious and healthy potatoes.

Harvesting Early Potatoes: A Herbalist’s Delight

Today, we’re digging into the world of early potatoes. Exciting, isn’t it?

Now, you might be wondering, “What’s the connection with theherbprof.com?” Well, let me tell you, it’s all intertwined!

Imagine this: You’re on our site, soaking up knowledge about the amazing benefits of herbs. Suddenly, you spot your potato plants. They’re ready for harvest! But how do you do it?

That’s where harvesting early potatoes comes in. It’s a simple, fun way to enjoy the fruits of your labor. And the best part? It’s super rewarding! You can check our homepage here.

As you harvest your early potatoes, you can continue to explore their benefits on theherbprof.com. It’s a beautiful blend of hands-on gardening and enriching knowledge. Plus, there’s something incredibly satisfying about digging up your own potatoes!

So, are you ready to start your early potato harvesting journey? Your journey into the wonderful world of potato gardening starts now!

Remember, in the world of herbs and plants, there’s always something new to learn and grow. Happy harvesting!

References – Harvesting Early Potatoes

Little Herb Encyclopedia, by Jack Ritchason; N.D., Woodland Publishing Incorporated, 1995
The Ultimate Healing System, Course Manual, Copyright 1985, Don Lepore
Planetary Herbology, Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., Lotus Press, 1988
Handbook of Medicinal Herbs, by James A. Duke, Pub. CRP Second Edition 2007
The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Published by Dorling Kindersley

Check the Following Articles!

African Violets Care: Tips for Keeping Your Plants Healthy

Olla Pot: A Versatile and Efficient Cooking Tool

Water Wilt Tomatoes: Causes and Prevention

Frequently Asked Questions – Harvesting Early Potatoes

A farmer carefully digging up small, tender potatoes from the rich soil, placing them in a basket with the sun shining overhead

What are the signs that early potatoes are ready for harvesting?

When the potato plants start to flower, it is a sign that the tubers are forming underground. You can start harvesting early potatoes when the plants have finished flowering. The foliage of the plant will start to yellow and die back, which is another indication that the potatoes are ready to be dug up.

Is it possible to harvest early potatoes by hand without damaging the crop?

Yes, it is possible to harvest early potatoes by hand without damaging the crop. You can gently dig around the base of the plant to check the size and development of the tubers. Be careful not to damage the potatoes or the roots of the plant.

How many weeks after flowering should early potatoes be harvested?

Early potatoes should be harvested about 8 weeks after planting, when the plants start to flower. You can harvest a few tender “new” potatoes from around the edge of each plant at this stage. For maincrop potatoes, wait until the foliage of the plant has started to yellow and die back, which is usually around 15-20 weeks after planting.

What is the best time of year to harvest potatoes grown in containers?

The best time of year to harvest potatoes grown in containers is when the foliage of the plant has started to yellow and die back, which is usually around 15-20 weeks after planting. You can also check the size and development of the tubers by gently digging around the base of the plant.

Can harvesting potatoes prematurely affect their taste or storage properties?

Yes, harvesting potatoes prematurely can affect their taste and storage properties. If you harvest potatoes too early, they may be smaller in size and have a less robust flavor. It is important to wait until the potatoes are fully mature before harvesting them to ensure the best taste and storage properties.

How long can you leave early potatoes in the ground before they must be harvested?

Early potatoes should be harvested as soon as they are ready. Leaving them in the ground for too long can result in the potatoes becoming overripe and losing their flavor. It is best to harvest early potatoes when the plants have finished flowering and the foliage has started to yellow and die back.

Spread the love

Leave a Comment