Potatoes, ready to dig?

michelelcJuly 16, 2012

I planted my potatoes on April 29. I have Red Norland, yukon gold, and red pontiac. I think they are dying off but I feel like the plants are smaller than last year. Also, they never flowered. I grow these at my community garden plot, so I am nervous that they died back because they were diseased. But, I guess the Red Norlands and Yukon gold take 65 day varieties, so the timing seems right. Do these look ready to dig? Should I let them sit awhile?

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You can dig some for fresh eating, but I would wait until the plants totally die back before digging for storage.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 6:49PM
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I planted those same 3 varieties May 13 and dug very large new potatoes off the RN and YG last week. The Pontiacs are still blooming, but with the dry weather are starting to wither (RN are almost dead, and YG are still looking good).

I'd check how large the RN are, and you *have* to try the YG as new potatoes, though they're probably pretty large right now. if the skins rub off easily (like if you *look* at the YG!), the tubers are still growing and you can leave the plants longer to get larger potatoes (let the plants die completely and then leave the poatoes a couple weeks past that) for storage. If the skins are pretty tough, then the plants are close to dead and the tubers have stopped growing, won't be long for storage potatoes, you can even chop off the foliage now to hasten the process.

I'd be interested in knowing how many/how large your potatoes are - looks like mine got stressed to begin with, then developed large tubers (but not many) when I started watering during the 90 degree days. Since you planted earlier I'm going to assume yours will be larger than mine, but want to know if you get a lot or few, and if they're clustered shallowly near the stem or are farther away.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 7:11PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Those plants are not ready to dig up yet. Depending on the weather, at least a couple more weeks to go. Fully dead plants and then wait 10 days to 2 weeks.

This has been a very frequent question lately so I linked one of the discussions on this from late last week below. There are several others the search will pull up for more info.


Here is a link that might be useful: when to dig potatoes discussion

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 8:16PM
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Thanks everyone! I thought they were dead :) I guess I understand now that they need to be completely brown, then leave them 10 days. Much different than my summers spent in Sweden digging potatoes with my grandfather out of his potato patch. We went out every night and dug potatoes for dinner. He had to have potatoes for dinner every night of his life. I tried explaining to my mother that the plants I have need to die before I dig and she didn't understand, since she grew up digging potatoes from green plants, too. I think I'll sneak a few new potatoes, if I can find some close to the surface, just for old times sake.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 9:05PM
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Go ahead and dig some of them if you want new potatoes now. It'll cut down on your yield, but having new potatoes when you want them can make up for that.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 10:04AM
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My potatoes look just like yours, and I was wondering the very same thing this morning! And I am in your zone in Massachusetts.

Your post helped me out. What a small world! I guess that's what this forum is all about.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 10:40AM
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Looks great! Never tried potatoes before but would love to! Good luck w/ them!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 12:34PM
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Digging them up now would be fine if you plan on eating all of them. Waiting for them to totally die back and then another two weeks is to harden them off so that you can store the potatoes for months at a time.

So yeah, if you just want dinner, dig 'em up, they're good to go. If you want to save some for next year's seed potatoes, then you need to leave them down there to harden up some more.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 2:46PM
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