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Thread: How do I know when potatoes are ready?

  1. #1
    Darthcider is offline Sprouter
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    Default How do I know when potatoes are ready?

    Like it says in the title, how do I know when potatoes are ready to be dug up?

    I have a new plot and have random potato plants, which I have decided to leave alone and see if I can get some meals off them.
    Going by the flowers, white, yellow and purple, I have 3 different types.

    When do I get to dig them up?

    Thanks in advance for any help.
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  2. #2
    DWSmith's Avatar
    DWSmith is offline Rooter
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    I'm new at growing potatoes but from my reading it seems that they are ready about 2 weeks after the vines die.
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  3. #3
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    If they have flowered, just have a furtle - technical gardening term and if you feel a sizeable potato under the ground, it is probably ready.

    I tend to just dig up a plant at a time and I have been known to pull a few out of the ground for a meal and leave the smaller ones to carry on growing.
    Last edited by scarey55; 05-06-2017 at 02:04 PM.
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    The problem is potatoes mature at different times, first early at about 10 to 12 weeks, second early around 18 weeks and main crop usually over 22 weeks, these timings will vary on the weather.

    So if you don't know what they are or when they were planted Scarey's way is about the only way.
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  5. #5
    Darthcider is offline Sprouter
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    That's what I thought, but was hoping that there might be a rough guideline, like DWSmith suggested, 2 weeks after they die down.
    They were gizzits, so no worries if I am wrong.
    Thanks all.
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  6. #6
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    I harvest my potatoes as I need them but any time from when the foliage starts to look "tired", usually slightly yellowish or sometimes with small brown spots (not blight). Flowering is a fairly good indication that something may be ready to eat - once the flower fall you can think of starting to dig some up. However if you want large potatoes to store, leave them longer as long as they don't get blight.
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  7. #7
    Martin H's Avatar
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    I start earlier than most people. For example, I've been eating Charlotte (second early) potatoes for 2 weeks now. The foliage is green and lush, there's no sign of flowers ... but I dig up a plant carefully, pick off the 5 or 6 biggest tubers off the rootball, replant carefully and empty half a watering can of water onto them to help them settle again. The plants look wilty for a few days but then pick up again.

    I'll carry on doing this with earlies (I treat Charlotte as early) but I won't touch the maincrop until the foliage dies, either in a couple of months when they are mature or sooner if they get blighted.
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  8. #8
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    Well I must compliment the Geordie with the carrier bag method, yesterday I lifted a couple of bags out of their pots but nothing was worth picking so put the bag back. However if I had dug the plant out of the ground it would have been lost.
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