/ Potatoes #1  


Platinum Member
Nov 12, 2020
Pageland, SC
BX 1880 with FEL and canopy
I have started a small garden this year.

One of the things we've planted is potatoes. They have popped up and are growing very well! I have come to realize that I know NOTHING about when to harvest them or exactly how.

I mean, I understand that I carefully dig them up, but I read

1). Something about needing to let them "mature" for two weeks in a cool/dark place. That same article was talking more about harvesting the potatoes for winter storage.

1a)Is that only for winter storage purposes? Most of what we harvest will be for eating fairly soon, but no doubt we'll want to store some.

1b) Does storing them longer term mean freezing?

2) I also read something about prying the whole plant up throughout the season and picking a few potatoes for supper. That scares me and I certainly don't want to harm my plants.

2a) Can I do this safely without harming my plants?

2b) How do I tell when the plant may have a few potatoes that are worth eating soon?

For that matter, we also planted some onions and some garlic. I honestly have similar questions about those.

The above ground fruits and veggies that I can see are not a problem.

Thanks for any insight!
   / Potatoes #2  
They will blossom, signalling some potatoes being grown underneath. The tops will die when fully ready. Sometime before that, you can scratch around the side in the dirt and harvest some small potatoes. Best if it's in mulch or very loose dirt. Been there; done all this.
   / Potatoes #4  
You will need to keep a fair amount of soil up around plants as they grow which is called hilling . If you don't the potatoes will be to close to the surface when growing and you will have green areas where they are close to the surface . As mentioned the tops will die off when they stop growing . Watch for potatoe bugs as they will eat your plants if you have them in your area . You can spray or pick them off if you only have a few plants .
   / Potatoes
  • Thread Starter
I am hilling them! Although the largest ones are only just now tall enough to begin (I read 6-8"?) and I haven't done any of it yet.

No idea if potato bugs are a thing around here. I've been using Sevin Dust and/or DE on everything so far. I'm open to any pesticide recommendations for any and all bugs. I've planted a lot of tomatoes and they are really the most important to us. I know bugs can be a tough fight there.

The soil is soft. It's mostly sand, and I tilled in 2-3" of compost before planting. I actually think I over tilled but lesson learned. Everything is growing well so there at least don't seem to be *immediate* consequences. I doubt I'll have much trouble fishing out a few early potatoes. It would be nice to have a supply through most of the growing season, even if that means I don't have much to store.

It's a learning experience. We've planted a lot of different things, and will plant more of what does well and what we really enjoyed the most next year. So if the potatoes are a big hit, we'll do more next year.
   / Potatoes #6  
My wife grows potatoes every year. Easy peasy to grow, and get large crops every year, cept last years wernt too large for some reason. None of our neighbors grew large spuds either.

funny thing is... I live in idaho. Potatoes are on our license plates. There cheep to purchase. Why she bothers growing them I’ll never know.

now she wants me to make her a cedar raised bed for potatoes. Sure, I’ll spend 3-400 bucks on cedar to grow $8 worth of potatoes.
   / Potatoes
  • Thread Starter

For us it's about teaching our daughter a little bit about where her food comes from, and how to grow it. I've also always just wanted a garden, makes this ground feel more like mine I guess.

I'm not expecting it to work out in our favor money wise, but so far we're enjoying it. We like good fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs etc, and I think it'll be quite rewarding to step out into the back yard and pick something for dinner. We've been growing some herbs that we use for some time now.

I also know what is, and ISN'T in this food!
   / Potatoes #8  
I'm not expecting it to work out in our favor money wise, but so far we're enjoying it.
That... & the fact you're teaching your daughter.... is everything... Besides there is no tomato from any store that tastes like one out of the garden... (or cucumber, pepper, etc.). We are in CT so we have a relatively short season... but we grow at least 10 to 2 varieties of Heirloom tomatoes every year. Cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, beets, carrots, & squash / zucchini all do really well here.... Have not tried potatoes...
I'm sure it cost me more to grow than buy... but you can not put a price on the quality, the taste or the satisfaction of growing your own.... Oh, and herbs is one of our biggest crops... We grow basil like crazy.... not only for cooking & caprese salad but to make Pesto to last the rest of the year... (& we give a lot away)...

Hope you have a prosperous gardening year.... I may have to try potato's next year...
   / Potatoes #9  
Taters are the easiest thing I grow. I start mine in a 6" trench and gets dirt hilled onto them as the season goes. When ever it is time to hoe or till, some soil gets pulled near the plants. If you see spuds near the surface, hill some more. Don't over/under water...just do what your other plants need. The plants will start to dry up and you can start digging from the end of a row. I use a potato pitch fork and start a little ways away. Pry the soil up and you will see your taters. Keep digging/prying until you have dinner. Push some dirt up to cover what you almost dug up to protect it. Your plants will get dug up as you dig the taters. Dig them all before the ground freezes. Here is the type of fork I use (mine was my grandfather's)....a 4 tine digging fork with a D-handle for control.

Amazon.com : Truper 30293 Tru Tough Spading Fork, 4-Tine, D-Handle, 30-Inch : Garden Forks : Garden & Outdoor
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   / Potatoes #10  
Google "Colorado Potato Beetle Beater" or "Captain Jack's Dead Bug Brew". It's the best control for the larvae and can be used in organic gardens. It's worked fantastic for me, after trying many of the old standards (which are much more harmful to beneficial bugs) this is my only spray for potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, broccoli.