In a previous article, we talked about secrets for growing potatoes, but what about after they are in the ground? How do you know when the potato plants are ready to harvest? In this article, we’ll be talking a bit about that.
When Are Potatoes Ready For Harvest?
In general, potatoes take around 3 months. BUT, the early potatoes take only around 10 weeks. However, the “main” crop can take up to 20 weeks to be ready. So, how do you know?!
The easiest way is to look for the flowers. When the blooms appear, it’s a good indicator that your tubers are mature and ready to be harvested. However, while you CAN harvest them at this point, they will be small. So, it’s better to wait at least 2 weeks before you pull them up to get good size potatoes from your harvest.
When To Harvest Potatoes In Containers?
When your potato plants begin to die back, this is the ideal time to harvest in containers too. The plant should not be completely dead looking, but if you see some yellowing and looks to be drooping a bit. While you can wait until the plant completely dies back, this means more dealing with pests like slugs attacking your crops.
What About Indoor Growing?
If you are growing indoors in buckets or containers, then pests will be less of an issue. This means you can afford to wait until the plants have completely died back for larger potatoes. Though, of course, you don’t have to as potatoes can be harvested and eaten at any size.
What Do Potato Plants Look Like When They Are Ready To Harvest?
In summary, once the plant begins to look like it has died back – it’s time to think about harvesting. When you choose to do so is really up to you, but the appearance of yellowing leaves, blossoms, and the appearance of “potato fruit”. (Don’t eat these or let kids or pets near them by the way, these “fruits” are poisonous as they contain high amounts of solanine – the same as “green potatoes” which have been left in the sun.
While these are the “true potato seeds” and can be used as such, it’s really not worth the effort. Growing from actual potatoes is more efficient, as growing from these “fruit pods” would take several years and not be true to the parent plant. These are mostly used by farmers interested in trying to create a new kind of potato hybrid.
In closing, while growing potatoes can be a bit challenging at first, once you learn what to do they can provide a hefty amount of calories in only a small amount of space! This makes potatoes a valuable crop for homesteaders and backyard gardeners a like.
Bob learned about farming from his grand dad. So, the decision to leave the city and start homesteading was not a difficult transition. He now lives with his wife and two kids on their 30 acre property in Ohio.