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How to Harvest Potatoes in the Home Garden

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Do you know how to harvest those potatoes you’ve grown this year? This simple guide will show you how to get the most out of your potato crop!

Harvesting potatoes can be a fun and rewarding experience, and this guide will take you step by step through how to harvest those fresh potatoes!

Fresh potatoes being dug up

When to Harvest Potatoes

Timing really is everything, and this is also true for harvesting from the home garden. Potatoes can be a bit more forgiving than something like beans or okra which can both get tough and inedible the longer they’re left growing.

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Thankfully, potatoes are very laid back. The best time to harvest potatoes is when the plant starts to die back. This usually happens in mid to late summer, when the days are warm and the nights are cool.

The plant will likely have bloomed, but as you’ll see in my video below, that isn’t always the case.

Don’t worry too much about when to harvest potatoes. If you’re a few weeks early or late, your potatoes will be just fine. In fact, leaving the plant in tact, and digging near the roots is a great way to harvest tender new potatoes, but we’ll cover that soon!

How to Harvest Potatoes

Now that you know when to harvest, it’s time to get down to the business of actually harvesting those spuds! Here’s what you’ll need to harvest:

  1. First, note if the plant seems ready for harvest. As I said earlier, the plant will usually be starting to die back. This means the leaves will be yellowing and wilting. If you’re unsure, give the plant a little tug. If it comes out of the ground easily, it’s time to harvest!
  2. Start by putting on your gloves if you plan on using them. Some people like the feel of soil under their fingertips… to each his own.
  3. Grab the potato plant close to the base and move it side to side and back and forth, loosening it a bit. Then pull the entire plant up. You should see the original seed potato, as well as the fresh potatoes hanging onto the plant.
  4. Using your garden fork or your hands, start digging around where the plant has been pulled up. If you’re using a garden fork, be careful not to damage the potatoes as you dig them up. Once you have a few dug up, place them in your container and continue until you’ve harvested all the potatoes you need! And that’s it! You’ve now successfully harvested your own potatoes!

How to Store Fresh Potatoes

If you’re lucky enough to live in a cooler environment, then chances are you can store potatoes for months on end. For those like me who live in the hot, humid south, storage will always be a bit more difficult and less long lasting.

Don’t wash your potatoes before storing, though you do want to clean most of the soil off of them. A light brushing will do.

  • Store potatoes in a cool, dark place that has good ventilation. An unheated basement or garage is perfect. If you don’t have either of those, any dark closet will work in a pinch.
  • Place in a wire mesh basket or on a wooden pallet to allow for air circulation.
  • Be sure to check on your potatoes every few weeks and use any that have started to sprout.
  • Need more info on storage? Check out this post from The Pioneer Woman on storing potatoes.

And there you have it! Now you know how to harvest and store your own potatoes! I hope this guide was helpful and that you enjoy fresh potatoes all winter long! Happy harvesting!Do you have any tips for storing fresh produce? Let us know in the comments below! And be sure to check out our other gardening guides to help you be successful in the garden!

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