When to harvest Red Norland Potatoes

Peter1142(Zone 6b)June 17, 2014

I have some Red Norland Potatoes, they were planted about 50 days ago. They took a while to sprout though.

They are early season variety and the bag says 65 days. When should I dig them up? Does the foliage die back or will it last until Fall? I don't want to risk harming the plants too soon. I don't see any flowering but have read the variety tends not to flower in any noticeable way.


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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

They will start to die back. That's when you can begin harvesting. Or you can gently dig around and feel for potatoes while the plant is still growing. You can "steal" a few before they are fully ready for harvest.


This post was edited by theforgottenone1013 on Tue, Jun 17, 14 at 10:33

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 10:32AM
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Peter1142(Zone 6b)

Great, thanks!

They have been getting eaten by Flea Beetles, but they are pretty sturdy plants so I haven't treated them in a while, it doesn't seem worth it as nothing works too well, and they are keeping the beetles from my more fragile eggplants.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 10:37AM
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Peter1142(Zone 6b)

They have been in the ground for 80 days are still kicking (early season variety package said 65 days). They look bad, having been eaten by slugs and the leaves are riddled with holes by flea beetles, having what looks to me like brown leaf spot on a couple plants and one plant has curled leaves and has looked bad since day 1, and having some yellow and brown spots which look to be water stress or something, and now they have all been knocked over in a thunderstorm and seem to be out of gas. I am kind of anxious to just cut them down already and harvest those potatoes, watching them slowly fade and die doesn't sound like fun to me. It must be tough to plant a long season variety and just sit there for 4 months hoping for something good under there and no blights!

Do you think I can just harvest and/or cut them down now?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 10:40AM
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You can harvest for "new" potatoes. But they will not keep in storage until fully matured when the vines die. Generally when the vines keep on living past thier appointed time, few potatoes have formed.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 12:05PM
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Peter1142(Zone 6b)

There are definitely some potatoes down there, I have found a couple... I think the Red Norland greens can last 90-100 days.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 2:31PM
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naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan(5B SW Michigan)

It sounds like yours are close to being ready to dig. Harvest enough to eat a meal or two from them now. These "new" potatoes are yummy but will not keep for long. Let the vines die back before harvesting any that you don't want to eat right away. Perhaps you can harvest the ugliest plants or most visible plants for early eating and let the others die and dry for good keeping. Days to maturity are guidelines only, the plants don't read them or necessarily obey them. Rain, soil temperature, etc., etc. may all play a part in how long the plants will grow.

I hear you on the poor looking plants. The first year my husband was involved in helping with our potato patch, he kept close watch on the plants. He could not understand why they would go from great looking plants to dying plants in a couple weeks time when we had not had frost, insects, or drought. My reminders that they were supposed to do that only made him ask why and how....which I couldn't answer with anything other than "that is how potatoes grow". The harvest was great that year. He puts up with the ugly drying vines for a few weeks now without complaint and helps me find new and unusual varieties to try.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 4:35PM
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Peter1142(Zone 6b)

The plants are definitely dying back now.

Some have a bit of a blight, tiny black dots over the leaves. It does not appear to be aggressive though.

Is there any benefit to just leaving them to die, why not just cut them down? I don't want to encourage blights and pests etc with dying plants in the garden....

Thanks everyone for the help. I'll post some photos of the harvest if it is any good!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 11:17AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

You can just let them die and harvest one hill at a time. But once the tops are dead you can be sure that the tubers are not going to get any bigger.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 2:04AM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

The reasoning behind letting them die is that they will store better that way. If you just planted enough for a couple of meals, you can start harvesting now. If you planted enough to last the winter, give some (at least the storage ones) more time in the ground for the skin to thicken.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 1:54PM
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Peter1142(Zone 6b)

That is the rationale for leaving them in the ground for extra time, not for leaving the vines to rot in place, I think? Can't you cut down the dying vines and leave them in the ground and the same thing would be accomplished?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 2:38PM
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Peter1142(Zone 6b)

Yield was not great... dug up just under half the 8' or so row and barely got enough for mashed potatoes.

My first year gardening hasn't been very fruitful so far. A lot of small harvests, I am getting dribs and drabs...

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 10:05PM
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