When Do You Harvest Potatoes and How Do You Store Them

Why do we have to plan potatoes if we can just buy them? Growing potatoes mean you must waste your garden space, do the trench digging, mound your hills, and even get ready to battle with some potato bugs. Are you sure you want to know when do you harvest potatoes and how to grow potatoes?

Though there is lots of struggling in growing potatoes, there are benefits of growing this vegetable. Potatoes that are recently harvested come with silky texture and tenderness as well as deep flavor. You can even plant potatoes in limited space just like the big container or raised garden beds if you have no spacious garden in your backyard. Get yourself ready to grow this vegetable.


Growing Your Precious Potatoes


You must sprout your potato seeds, cut them, and dry them during the spring. You also need to dig your trenches before mounding your soil, watering them, and wait until the potatoes grow. Witness when your potato sprouts becomes lush green stems. Then watch them when those stems start becoming yellow before they die back. That is when do you harvest potatoes.

You might be wondering how you can harvest the potatoes. There are tools to help you picking your potatoes. Bigger tools like pitchforks and shovels are good. You can also use hand tools such as claws or trowels to harvest your potatoes. Garden gloves are the best alternative if your potatoes are planted in soft and shallow towels.

  • Shovel is helping you to dig the potatoes easily. However, shovels and spades tend to chop up your tubers.
  • To avoid the trouble above, consider using your own hands or garden forks carefully in harvesting your potatoes.
  • Start your harvesting process by pulling the potatoes up with your hands. This process can only be done if the potato plants you grow have the stronger stems.
  • Potato plants might give you smaller specimens that cling to their roots. To collect them, you have to be gentle when digging the soil. Dig some inches around you’re every plant’s base then lift up your soil. Grab the potatoes from those roots.
  • Hold your potatoes are fresh from the soil along with the green tops using your hands.
  • Upturn your soil in order to make sure that you collect every last potato, use garden gloves to protect your hands.
  • Always make sure that dig down very deeply in order to make sure there’s no specimens that are left underground. If there are potatoes left inside the ground, they will either sprout or rot. You don’t want it happens if you have crop or planting rotation plans.

That’s all about the steps to harvest potatoes, it is time for when do you harvest potatoes.

When Do You Harvest Potatoes Plants


There are also things to remember about when do you harvest potatoes. Here are most of them.

  1. Harvest your new potatoes when one third of your potato greenery starts turning die back or yellow. These potatoes are going to be on smaller side with extremely delicate skin. Be careful so that your gloved hands, forks, and shovels won’t kill them all. Those potatoes are going to give you delicious treats during the midsummer.
  2. You could harvest those potatoes, but you also have another option: wait for some more weeks until the potatoes develop. This is a good option if you desire bigger potatoes or if you are going to store those potatoes. You can enjoy the test potatoes in order to get future harvest’s delicious preview.
  3. Harvest the marble sized potatoes you can find. Those potatoes are also known as the peanut potatoes. You can fry them, grill them, or roast them and they’ll give you better taste than the bigger ones. Compared to bigger potatoes, those smaller potatoes have higher crisp ratio from the skin to their flesh.
  4. Speaking about when do you harvest potatoes, you can gather the entire potatoes at once. Or you might want to leave your potatoes for the process of hardening off. It is better to harvest your potatoes from your planting areas together but in stages. Harvest one of your gardening bed or container so you can have space for the other crops.
  5. Leaving some other containers or gardening beds will let you harvest your potatoes in some other weeks. This is going to give you enough supply that makes you ready to welcome the midsummer until the Labor Day. Besides, this step is going to give you free sections or containers to grow some other fall crops such as lettuce, beets, and carrots.
  6. When you’re thinking about when do you harvest potatoes, you’d like to keep big potato crops fresh for some months after the harvesting time by doing the process called hardening off.

When Do You Harvest Potatoes after You Harden Them Off


Whether you’re going to store your potatoes for long time or you’re interested to get potatoes that have firmer skins, you need to leave those potatoes in the garden ground for some other months. Do not pick your potatoes though you see their tops are all died back. Here are things to watch before you start questioning when do you harvest potatoes.

  1. Keep your potatoes dry, do not water them. Heavy rains and applied irrigation are going to make your potatoes sprout or rot. That’s why you have to plan the harvest accordingly. If you’ve decided to leave them for the process of hardening off, you shouldn’t water them until the next time when do you harvest potatoes.
  2. When the forecast tells you that there will be lots of frost or wet weather in few months later, you have to harvest the entire potatoes before the weather gets wet. Forget all your plans about getting hardened off potatoes since the weather will ruin everything. If you really want to continue the process, bring your potatoes in and harden them off indoor.

Now, what are you going to do after harvesting your potatoes? If your question about when do you harvest potatoes has been answered, you might want to know how to store your harvested potatoes. Keep reading and you’ll get the details you need.

Best Ways to Store Your Harvested Potatoes


  1. First of all, you need to unearth your various potatoes. Brush off the entire dirt from your golden potatoes, purple potatoes, or red potatoes. Those potatoes need to be stored in a place that’s dry, dark, and cool, inside your house.
  2. Another ideal place to store potatoes once you’re done studying about when do you harvest potatoes is inside your fridge. Potatoes you keep in your fridge will stay fresh for two months. Store your potatoes in zip top bag or in plastic to help them stay fresh and firm until it is time to cook them.
  3. You’re free to store your potatoes inside the fridge after you brush them or after you wash them. If you decide to wash all your potatoes before storing them in the fridge, make sure you dry them well before keeping them inside the plastic. If you skip the drying process, you’ll see the potatoes rot faster.
  4. Do not wash your potatoes if they passed the hardening off process. Just brush off the soil from your potatoes and keep the potatoes inside your house. Do not let the sun destroys your potatoes or sprout new specimens. Keeping the potatoes dry is going to avoid the rotting.
  5. You don’t have to work really hard in brushing off the potatoes. It is okay to leave few dry soils clinging to your potato skins. Just inspect the haul really carefully. Cull any broken skin, cuts, or gashes from your potatoes. You need to do this immediately once you’ve practiced the theory of when do you harvest potatoes.

When Do You Harvest Potatoes and Store Them


There are some more rules you better understand before you start storing your potatoes. Check them out down here.

  1. Store the bigger potatoes behind the smaller ones. You need to cook the smaller ones before the bigger ones. One important reason why you have to do this is that smaller potatoes have less keeping power compared to the bigger ones.
  2. Check your storage temperature. If you’re planning to store the potatoes for long time, the best temperature your storage must get is about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Stash your potatoes in really dark place that has no light at all. Just make sure that your storage is well ventilated. Try cardboard box, plastic bin with some cutouts, mesh or paper bag, and wicker baskets.
  3. If you have done learning when do you harvest potatoes, you need to study about the best place to store them. The best place to keep potatoes is basement that dark, dry, and cool. Root cellar is even a better place to keep your potatoes save for long term.
  4. You absolutely have to protect your potatoes from the hungry critters. One of many ways to do it is by wrapping your potatoes in muslin before you store them. If you can’t wrap them, save your potatoes in cool and dark closet or pantry. Those places cannot be accessed by pests. This lets your potatoes to stay healthy for few months.

Throw Away the Green Skinned Potatoes


  1. Avoid eating the green potatoes. Green skinned potatoes are created when your potatoes are exposed to too much light. This condition increases the alkaloid levels of your potatoes. The high levels create the toxin that becomes poisonous for humans. Besides, the taste of green skinned potatoes is bitter than normal skinned potatoes’ taste.
  2. Once you finished learning when do you harvest potatoes, you need to help them free from greening. Keep your potatoes in really dark place that has zero light exposure. Do not eat the potatoes that their skin turns totally green.
  3. If the potatoes you got are not entirely green, but have some green hint on the skin, you can eat them safely. Just remember to cut away the green portion before you start cooking them.

What to Remember After You Know When Do You Harvest Potatoes


  1. Make sure you don’t eat your potato seeds. When the potatoes grow and reach the maturity, there will be small green colored cherry tomatoes that grow between your potato leaves. It usually happens before your potatoes’ green top begins to die back. Those cherries are your potato seeds you shouldn’t eat. Those seeds are toxic.
  2. Understanding when do you harvest potatoes isn’t enough, you should also understand that potatoes aren’t growing from the seeds. If it happens, you can propagate your potatoes by saving the seeds from a year to another year. But you have to store it in dry place and safe from children.
  3. Green colored potato seeds you keep and grow from one season to another season will cause diseases. So make sure you throw away those small potato seeds and replace them with new trusted potato seeds every year.

You’re suggested to grow your tomatoes and potatoes on three year rotation. This means you must have three separated containers or beds if you’re interested to grow tomatoes or potatoes every year. Of course you must also understand when do you harvest potatoes every year. Planting one of those crops in one place repeatedly is going to invite plant diseases or pests.

If you’re planting your potatoes in series of containers and raise beds, you must build up the soil level of your raised bed since it drops inevitable throughout every season. Build up your soil level by emptying the container soil of your potato. Doing it is going to keep your rotation properly. You will also get your raised beds ready to grow some more potatoes in the upcoming season.

Don’t you see that learning when do you harvest potatoes isn’t enough. There are some more other things to study if you really want to harvest the healthiest potatoes and store them for longer time. Besides, you also need to understand which potatoes are healthy and which ones are poisoned.

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