POTATOES- WHEN TO HARVEST
It seems to me that most gardeners that grow potatoes are experienced gardeners, but please don’t let that discourage you from trying. Growing potatoes is very easy and almost a “no-brainer”. A couple of things you need to know is that the best way to get started is by using certified “seed potatoes” sold at most garden centers during the spring planting season. What makes the seed potato better than just any potato that you purchase at the grocery store is that the store-bought potatoes are generally treated with a growth inhibitor that prevents the “eyes” from growing. It is however still possible to grow potatoes from store-bought as the chemical does wear off as indicated by the growth from the eyes at a later time.
You can expect to harvest 20 lbs. or more from just 1 lb. of seed potatoes and within a period of about 10 weeks.
To the novice, knowing when to harvest is the scariest part, but fear not!
After the plant grows for a while it will start to bloom…at this time you could harvest some of your crop as “new potatoes”, you know, the small ones. Keep in mind that the small ones need to be eaten fairly soon after harvest as they will not keep for long. Allow the rest to grow-on for larger potatoes that do store well but keep harvesting as needed. Just like planting a garden, it does not all have to be done in one day and harvesting is also done in stages.
Eventually cold weather will step in and dictate the need for the final harvest. At that time, dig up the remaining potatoes and allow them to dry out. Do not wash off the soil but rather after they have had plenty of time to dry out, simply brush off the dry soil being careful not to scrape or damage the potato.
Storage should be in a dry, dark area where it remains very cool but without freezing.
Any damaged potatoes should be included with your next meal and never stored with good potatoes.
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