Cindy who grows her garden in Apopka, Florida recently raised a question regarding the best time to dig potatoes:
“Yesterday we discovered that all three of our plants now have produced potatoes. My question is when is the right time for us to dig up our crop? We have noticed that we still have a few babies that have yet to form into larger spuds.”
“We live in Florida and so I know that if we were in the Northern States that we’d be digging our crop up towards the fall. This is like the end of January and so my question would be… when do we dig them up? We have both red and white potatoes.”
Potatoes can be dug up and harvested whenever they reach the size that you wish to use. Some gardeners sneak a few of the small ones to enjoy as baby potatoes. Just keep in mind that the more baby potatoes harvested earlier, means you’ll find fewer full-sized ones to dig up later in the season.
Here in the north the potatoes can be left in the ground until after the potato vines stop growing and begin to die back in late summer or fall. That’s a sure sign that the potatoes have finished growing and are ready to be harvested.
Prior to harvesting keep any tubers that become exposed covered with soil to prevent the sunlight from turning them green, and don’t leave the potatoes in the sun for long after they’ve been dug up from the garden.
After the potatoes have been dup up and harvested brush the soil off, but don’t wash them until you’re ready to use them. Washing can reduce the storage life and encourage mold. Store potatoes in a cool, dark area after harvesting but avoid refrigeration.
Other Related Vegetable Gardening Posts: