All garden potatoes are harvested late in the growing season in your home garden, but when to pick potatoes in the home gardendepends on whether they are being harvested and eaten immediately (these are called new potatoes), or if they are stored and cured during the winter.In trying to figure out when to harvest, potatoes may be a mystery. All important developments seem to be happening underground.
New potatoes in the home gardenare small tender potatoes, harvested and eaten immediately. They are not well stored. When the plant has finished flowering, you can use a garden fork to dig at the edge of the plant and collect the potato bundles to harvest new potatoes. (If you use a garden fork, you are unlikely to cut the tuber instead of using a shovel to cut the tuber.) Generally, the depth of the potato will be 4" to 6". If you are careful, the small potatoes in the home gardencan be left in place and replanted gently to keep them growing.Although potatoes in the home gardencan usually be eaten immediately, fresh potatoes can be stored for several months, although they will not last as long as fully matured potatoes. You could place them in a dark location with a temperature of 38°F to 40°F.
Ripe potatoes storage
To harvest large potatoes for storage, you could let the plants continue to grow after the flowers bloom. Gardeners ought to keep the soil fertile or cover the plants to prevent the tubers from being exposed to the sun. Once the leaves die back to the top, you should use a garden fork to dig out your tubers. You needn’t worry if the plant has been killed by freezing, because the first frost on the ground will not affect the tubers. However, you should try your best to let the tubers freeze on the cold ground for too long. When the leaves die, the harvest is quick.
You could rub the skin with your thumb to check the maturity of the potatoesin the home garden. If they are fully mature and suitable for long-term storage, the skin will be wiped off under the pressure of the thumb. If they are not fully mature, the potatoes should be considerednew and will be eaten soon.
You'd better not wash off the stored potatoes, but let them rest in a single layer for a few weeks to fully cure. Then wipe off the dry soil and store in a dark and cool place (38F to 40F). Throw away potatoes with damaged skin (or eat them right away). The storage time of damaged potatoes will not be too long. Potatoes that have been fully cured and mature underground may be kept for several months. You'd better avoid exposing them to light during storage, as this will make the potatoes green.
Reserve some potatoes for replanting
If you want, you can keep some potatoes as seeds for spring potato replanting. Three to four weeks before planting, bring the seeded potatoes into a warm and sunny area and cover them with a damp linen cloth or wet paper towel. Soon, they will start to sprout. At planting time, cut large potatoes into 2 ounce pieces. Each segment has a bud. These form seeds that are planted into the hills of your garden. After a few months, each potato segment will produce a whole potato.
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