Harvesting Maincrop Potatoes

Maincrop potatoes can normally be harvested between late August and mid October. Our guide below explains how to recognise that they are ready for harvesting, as well as delving into storing them.

When/How to Harvest Maincrops

Maincrops are, as a general rule, harvested towards mid/late August through to November. For these, you want to wait for the leaves to start turning yellow before harvesting.

You can dig them all up at once, or to get longer storage from them you can cut the foliage right back to the ground and leave the tubers in the soil for a week or two. This helps to cure the skins, which in turn makes them store a little longer.

Dig carefully to avoid damaging them with the garden fork. If you can, you might prefer to scrabble with your fingers to find the majority of the tubers without using the fork. Then, once you’ve harvested the easy ones, use the fork to dig the soil and unearth the rest. There are usually a few that are hiding quite deep, so go over the bed a second time to get as many of them as possible. (Any that are left in the ground will most likely shoot up again next year – these are known as ‘volunteers’ but are usually not so great for harvesting)

Do I have to harvest them all right away?

You can actually leave the tubers underground for a month, or even two, until first frosts. The only risk with this is a few underground creatures eating away at them – wire worm and slugs are the most likely offenders. If you’re worried about this, you’re better off digging them up and storing them ahead of cooler, wetter weather.


How to Store Potatoes

Our recommendation is to put the potatoes, unwashed but dry so that any soil on the potatoes is not damp, into a hessian sack and store in a cool, dark, dry place. Brown paper bags will work too. They should keep for several months if conditions are right. Check them for signs of rotting/mould quite regularly.


Related Posts