How Long Until Potatoes Are Ready to Harvest

Are you a gardener who loves harvesting fresh potatoes from your own garden? You might wonder when it's best to pick them. You could be surprised by the answer. Let's find out when the best time to harvest potatoes is.

Signs That Potatoes Are Ready to Harvest

Harvesting your potatoes at the right time boosts their yield and quality. Potato size may not tell you if they are ready. There are clear signs that show your potatoes are mature. Look for these signs to pick your potatoes at their best.

The main clue that it's time to dig up your potatoes is in the plant's look. When the vines are dead and leaves are yellow or brown, the potatoes are mature. This usually happens 10-12 weeks after planting, but the exact time varies with the type of potato and how they are grown.

Another sign is the skin of the potatoes. As they grow, their skin thickens and sticks to the flesh more. Dig up a potato to check. If the skin is thick, the potato is mature. If the skin is thin and easily peels off, the potato is not ready yet.

  • Potato vines have completely died back and the leaves have turned yellow or brown
  • Potato skins are thick and firmly attached to the flesh
  • Potatoes have reached their full, expected size for the variety
  • The potato plant has flowered, indicating a window of about two weeks until harvest
  • Potatoes can withstand light frost (28°F to 32°F) for a brief period

Size doesn't always show if your potatoes are ready, especially with small varieties. To make sure, look at the plant and tubers closely. Use the above signs as a guide.

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Indicator
Description
Foliage
Potato vines have completely died back and the leaves have turned yellow or brown
Skin Thickness
Potato skins are thick and firmly attached to the flesh
Size
Potatoes have reached their full, expected size for the variety
Flowering
The potato plant has flowered, indicating a window of about two weeks until harvest
Frost Tolerance
Potatoes can withstand light frost (28°F to 32°F) for a brief period

Watch for these signs to decide when to harvest. The right timing ensures your potatoes are top quality. Enjoy your plentiful harvest that can last for months in storage.

Timing Your Potato Harvest

Harvesting potatoes right on time is a big deal. The best time to pick them can change based on the weather, when you plant, and the type of potato you have. Knowing when to expect your potatoes to be ready can help you plan when to harvest. This way, you’ll get the most potatoes you can.

Small potatoes, often called "new" potatoes, might be ready in just ten weeks. But, big, mature potatoes can need 80 to 100 days to grow. When you plant, make sure the soil's a bit acidic, around 5.8 to 6.5 pH. Space them out two feet apart to make weeding easier.

It’s best to pick potatoes when the weather is nice. A sunny day in late October is a good time. This will help keep them in good shape for storage without freezing.

Below is a list of when you can expect to harvest different types of potatoes:

  • First early seed potatoes: Ready for harvesting after about 10-12 weeks
  • Second early potatoes: Ready for harvesting about 10-12 weeks after planting
  • Maincrop potatoes: Ready for harvesting in about 15-20 weeks

Maincrop potatoes can keep for a long time in a cool, dark, dry place. But, the smaller ones should be eaten soon after you pick them. Be sure to keep an eye on your potato plants. Do some test digs to make sure the potatoes are really ready before you harvest them.

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Potato Type
Typical Harvest Timeline
First Early
10-12 weeks after planting
Second Early
10-12 weeks after planting
Maincrop
15-20 weeks after planting

How Long Until Potatoes Are Ready to Harvest

Growing potatoes takes time and effort. It mostly depends on where you live and the type of potato you plant. "New" potatoes ripen after 60 to 90 days. They are small, usually less than 2 inches.

Full-sized potatoes need about 120 days to grow. But this time could change a bit. It depends on the potato type, your area's weather, and the growing conditions.

In cooler places like northern Europe, growing bigger potatoes might take 150 days.

If the conditions are perfect, with temperatures between 60°F and 70°F, potatoes could be ready in just 90 days. But in cooler places, it might take longer, up to 150 days.

  • Early potatoes: 60-100 cool days to reach harvest
  • Midseason potatoes: 101-135 cool days to reach harvest
  • Late-season varieties: 135-160 cool days to reach harvest
Potato Type
Days to Harvest
Early Potatoes
60-100 days
Midseason Potatoes
101-135 days
Late-Season Potatoes
135-160 days

Knowing how long it takes to grow potatoes helps farmers and gardeners plan better. This way, they can get a lot of this favorite vegetable at the end of the season.

Harvesting Potatoes Step-by-Step

Harvesting potatoes is simple yet crucial. You need to be gentle. Whether they're in the ground or in pots, gently dig them out. This ensures your potatoes stay healthy and plenty.

  1. Determine Harvest Time: Wait for the plant's top to die off completely. After another 2-3 weeks, it's time. This shows the potatoes have grown fully.
  2. Gather Necessary Tools: You'll need a garden fork, a bucket, and gloves. Gloves protect your hands from dirt and cuts. The fork helps you dig.
  3. Gently Loosen the Soil: Carefully loosen the dirt with your fork. Be sure not to damage the tubers.
  4. Lift and Remove Potatoes: Now, gently remove the plant from the ground. Let the potatoes drop. Pick them up and put them in your bucket. Be very gentle to avoid hurting them.
  5. Sort and Clean: Look at your harvest. Get rid of any bad ones. Clean off loose soil lightly. But, don't wash them yet.
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Following these steps will help you get a good amount of potatoes without hurting them. Use the right time to harvest and with care. This will keep your harvest fresh and long-lasting.

Storing Potatoes for Long-Term Use

Storing harvested potatoes the right way can keep them fresh for 7-8 months. It is crucial to keep them at the best temperature and humidity. This helps them avoid sprouting and keeps them from getting soft.

It's best to store potatoes in a cool, dark place. This means a spot between 40-45°F with humidity from 85-95% is perfect. You can use a root cellar, insulated garage, or a spare fridge. Make sure it's not too cold or too warm. Warm temperatures above 46°F can make potatoes sprout and shrink. Cold places under 38°F might cause them to get sweeter, making fried products look darker or greasier.

Take about 10 days to cure your potatoes before storing them. This process toughens their skins and helps them heal from any cuts or bruises. While they're stored, check on them often. Remove any potatoes that start to sprout or turn green, as they can be harmful. Keep them away from apples, too. Apples can make potatoes start to sprout early. By doing all this, you'll help your potatoes last through the off-season.

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