Harvest potatoes

Harvest potatoes

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The simple tuber planted in the spring has become a magnificent plant which has borne flowers and then the leaves have turned yellow and dried up. Nothing sad about that, this natural evolution is a sign that an abundant harvest awaits you a few centimeters underground. When to harvest? Unlike other vegetables that must be picked as soon as they are ripe, the potato can be harvested in a very staggered manner, depending on your needs. To taste the pleasure of early potatoes - this from 2 to 3 months after planting - pull off the first feet as soon as the flowers appear. Better, just gently scrape at the base of the plants to collect a few tubers, just what to enjoy! As the plant remains in the ground, the remaining tubers will continue to grow until the end of summer. For potatoes intended for conservation, picked 5 to 6 months after planting, harvest the tubers at the end of summer and until the beginning of autumn, once the feet have wilted. The harvest date also depends on the regions and especially on the cultivated varieties: some, very early, mature at the end of spring; others later in the fall only. Make your choice knowingly, this information is always given on plants purchased commercially. How long will the harvest keep? Proper storage of potatoes depends on compliance with simple rules: storage away from light, hot and cold, humidity ... By regularly monitoring your harvest, you will keep tubers fit for consumption until in late spring. After this date, it is common to get rid of a few pounds of potatoes from the previous year, too sprouted and withered, on the compost. This is not so regrettable, because at the same period the new potatoes appear… Difficulty : easy Tools required : - a spade fork - crates


Step 1 - Make sure the harvest is ready!

We are late August, early September. How to make sure that your production has reached maturity? Based on the state of the foliage. As soon as it turns yellow and dries up, the potatoes can be taken out of the ground.

Step 2 - Tear off the tubers

For anyone experiencing it for the first time, pulling out the tubers has something magical about them. Simply by digging the earth with your hand, you reveal many potatoes - up to 1 kg! - where a simple tuber had been planted in the spring. After the first wonder, grab a spade fork to lift your feet. The main difficulty is to be careful not to damage the tubers by pricking them with your tool. To do this, start digging on either side of the foot to dig up.

Step 3 - Make sure to pick up even the smallest tubers!

The potato should not be planted two years in a row in the same location as this may promote disease. This is why we must be careful not to forget any tubers in the ground. Some, small and / or very buried, can escape you. Be vigilant and dig deep!

Step 4 - Dry the potatoes in the sun

Before storing them, and as you take them out of the ground, spread your potatoes at the edge of the crop to let them dry in the sun. This step eliminates any excess moisture, thus promoting good conservation. It goes without saying that this operation will be simpler in good weather! If necessary, bring in your harvest and bring it out again on the first beautiful day.

Step 5 - Quickly clean the tubers

If necessary, remove the soil that adheres to the tubers so that they dry in good conditions. But do not remove their thin skin and do not wash them with water as this may compromise their conservation.

Step 6 - Sort the tubers

Sort your crop, setting aside damaged tubers - from disease or spade - for quick consumption. If some tubers are green, just get rid of them. They took this color on contact with light, generating a toxic compound called solanine which makes them unfit for consumption.

Step 7 - Store the potatoes

Store your potatoes in crates that you will store: - Dry: to prevent them from rotting, - In the dark: to prevent them from germinating, - Protected from heat (or frost ): to prevent them from wilting, - At height (at least not in direct contact with the ground): to avoid the visit of small rodents!
The ideal? Storage in a cellar. Note that alternatives exist, the simplest recommending storage ... in the ground. In fact, by being kept in the ground, the tubers remain sheltered from frost and light and keep all their freshness. This, until the beginning of the year when the first rays of the sun will warm the soil enough to trigger germination and the birth of a new plant. In the meantime, all you have to do is go to the vegetable patch regularly, depending on your consumption needs. A variant consists of harvesting the potatoes and storing them in a silo (for example an old washing machine drum) that you bury in the ground. Your tubers will be protected from rodents and easily accessible (no need to take out the spade every time you want fries or mash)!

Step 8 - Monitor the harvest and promote good conservation

With potatoes, the gardener's task does not stop with planting and uprooting. Once the harvest has been carefully stored, it will remain to be monitored regularly. This allows the rotten tubers to be removed before they contaminate their neighbors and to suppress the start of germs which trigger the wilting of the tubers. To minimize these two phenomena, store your potatoes near apples (fruits) which will capture their humidity.

Step 9 - Loosen the soil and weed the land

Once the potatoes are out of the ground, make room for the next harvest by loosening the soil and weeding the soil. Greedy potatoes, having depleted the soil, it is recommended to sow a green manure which will help to restore its essential elements, which will allow the earth to maintain a good structure and limit the invasion of "weeds". You will mow this green manure a few weeks or months later, before it goes to seed, and bury it superficially in the soil so that it decomposes there pending the next crop.


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