HOW TO HARVEST POTATOES FROM CONTAINERS
Article by David Marks.
Harvesting potatoes grown in containers is relatively easy, easier probably than for potatoes grown in the open ground.
The difficult part is knowing when to start harvesting. This depends on the type and variety of potato and also the weather conditions throughout the growing season. Our advice, hints and tips below will tell you exactly when to harvest your potatoes.
PLANT TO HARVEST TIMES
The time it takes for potatoes to be ready for harvest varies greatly depending on the type and particular variety. The timings below are for the different types of potato.
|First Early||60 days||105 days|
|Second Early||95 days||120 days|
|Maincrop||125 days||140 days|
Another commonly used method for harvesting is to start about two weeks after the flowers appear. This is a reasonably accurate method which involves no calculations back to the planting time.
Whichever method you use don't harvest all your potatoes at one time. The initial harvesting is a bit mucky but that's gardening!. Gently wriggle you hand into the compost trying to disturb as little as is possible. Feel around for potatoes and remove one or two of the largest. If they are all still very small then leave the harvesting for a week.
If the potatoes you remove are of an acceptable size then harvest as and when you need potatoes. There are some difference in harvesting method depending on the type of potato which are described below.
FIRST EARLY POTATOES
These are sold in the shops as New Potatoes and are the most expensive to buy. They do not keep well and need to be eaten within a week of harvest. The beauty of growing potatoes in containers though is that you can harvest tem exactly when you need them and pop them straight into boiling water for the tastiest New Potatoes ever.
The smallest new potatoes are the tastiest but at the same time they are the least productive. It's up to you to balance the taste against the size of the potato. First early potatoes crop over a period of about 30 days.
SECOND EARLY POTATOES
Second Early potatoes are really a cross between first early and maincrop potatoes. They bridge the gap in harvesting times, maturing faster than maincrop but slower than first earlies.
The harvesting method is the same as for early potatoes. The main difference is that second earlies can be stored for longer than first earlies.
The difference with maincrop potatoes, aside from the time they take to mature, is that they can can be stored for much longer. The time depends on the variety and the storage conditions. Harvesting method is the same as for other potatoes but your are looking to harvest only good-sized potatoes leaving the smaller ones to mature into full-sized potatoes.
After harvesting your potatoes the method of storing them is crucial if you want to keep them for the maximum time. Click the link below "HOW TO STORE POTATOES" or simply click "NEXT PAGE" at the bottom of this page.