Forum home Fruit & veg

Potatos in containers - when to harvest?

Hi folks,

So I have a few different varieties of potato growing in containers (mix of potato bags and large pots) on our decking.

The ones we were sold as "first earlies" by the garden centre have a decent amount of foliage but haven't flowered. These were planted on 15th March. My understanding is we should be harvesting these at some point this month. Any clues as to when?

Our eBay purchased "second early" "Estima" were planted a few weeks later (first week of April) and now have a few flowers opened. From reading online this suggests these may be about ready too?

Thanks as ever for any pointers,



  • nick615nick615 SW IrelandPosts: 985
    I know of two basic rules for digging spuds.  1. 14 weeks after planting or 2.  If there's flowers on top, there's spuds below.  If you're in any doubt, you can always brush away a bit of soil from around the stem and see if there's anything there. If not, you can always put it back.
  • tui34tui34 Béziers, Herault, FrancePosts: 1,964
    @stevek_bath I am growing potatoes for the first time this albeit in the ground.  Mine are not all flowering but I had a "peek" last week and pulled up a plant.  Some were average and some tiny - so I made a lovely potato salad with them!!  
    A good hoeing is worth two waterings.

  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,532
    I always take off the flowers; I want the plants to put their energy into growing the tubers, not having sex.  I don't dig until the foliage wilts, on the theory that all the while the leaves are green, they are fattening the spuds.  But that's just me.
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 15,857
    If they are in bags, have a ferret down one side and have a good feel. You can detach any large enough to eat, then water well and let the rest grow a bit more.  I have flowers on blue danube, but it is only eight weeks since they were planted, so I am picking off the flowers and watering well.
    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • tui34tui34 Béziers, Herault, FrancePosts: 1,964
    @josusa47 Yes, your method is the tried and true.  A bit like pumpkins etc.  When the plant starts to dry up, it has done its job of feeding its fruit.  I sowed 3kg of potatoes so have many many - to give away and to try and store, so when one plant looked sad last week, I dug it up.

    A good hoeing is worth two waterings.

  • SkandiSkandi Northern DenmarkPosts: 1,443
    Have a dig around and see if they are big enough for your liking, you don't want to wait for the plants to die down with earlies or you will miss the "new" potato window. My indoor Solist potatoes are all already dug up now (8weeks) and none of them had flowered, some types just don't really do flowering. I checked the ones outside today and they have inch round potatoes on so in a week they will be coming out which will also be about 8 weeks from planting, the next potatoes along are Folva they will be ready in a couple of weeks, they do generally flower a bit before we oink them out. the only one I will be leaving in to die down are the baking potatoes and they will not be ready for months
  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,286
    It seems some varieties of first earlies do not always flower, I was wondering about mine because the second earlies and main crop had plenty of flowers forming, yet still nothing on the first earlies.

    I checked again on the variety, which was Swift and came across the advice 'harvest when flowers are open, IF PRESENT'

    It was 9 weeks since planting and the advice said harvest at 9 - 12 weeks, so I carefully lifted one of the plants, two days worth of new potatoes ready to eat, so I learned something new there.

    Second earlies and main crop I wait for the tops to die off, it usually works out that we eat the earlies throughout June, move onto the second earlies July into early August, then lift all the main crop for storage in August.
  • Womble54Womble54 WimbledonPosts: 348
    I’m in a similar position. I’ve got 2 tubs of first earlies and 2 of 2nd earlies. Last year I think I pulled up my first earlies too early and had a pretty meagre crop. They haven’t flowered but foliage is starting to go yellow in places and droop a bit. I was planning to wait a week or 2 (that would be about 14 weeks) before I dig up the first tub.

    The second earlies flowered a couple of weeks ago. I was planning to leave them till early July. I had a great harvest of those last year so will just do the same again.

    Then I’ll re-use the tubs for second harvest potatoes. I haven’t yet tried maincrop spuds.
Sign In or Register to comment.