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Talkback: Harvesting potatoes

Oh yes, I did harvest the first potatoes and they tasted wonderful. I want to conserve the small ones for next year. The problem we faced last year was that most of the potatoes dried out or rotted away. Now I want to keep them in sawdust, in our basement which is cool. Is that a good idea?
reinier van der Leij


  • This is my first year of growing potatoes. I took advantage of a special offer in the magazine a few months back for 3 patio planters and 3 varieties of seed potatoes, and I'm pleased to say it's proving to be a success! Going to plant more and more and more! Thanks to everyone at GW magazine, website, etc, for all the good advice!
  • I have a good yield of Rocket earlies and still have quite a few to be lifted. How long will they keep in store? I have a lovely cool cellar and have had success storing lates but have not tried with earlies before.
  • Hi first year planting potato's this year. Small/first crop. I'm digging them up as i want them. I was told that i can dig up the potato's as soon as the flowers die away. which i am doing. Beautiful flowery potato's. You talk of Storing, how do i do this?
  • I have grown potatoes for the first time and have loads of foliage, but help! How do I know when to harvest them?
  • Hi Im a first year potato grower and some of my haulms have rotted at the base and flopped is this because of the wet weather help before anymore do it or what course of action should I take at present when one flops I pull the haulm out and dig up the potatoes is this correct I would be very grateful if someone can help with this cheers John
  • A friend gave me a few potato seeds which i grew in sacks. Plenty of foliage and flower, but hardly any potatoes. So dissaponting. Her potato seeds were ok that she gew on her allotement. What did i do wrong. I did notice the compost was very dry
  • both our earlies (sharpes express) and 2nd earlies (catriona) have burst and gone powdery in the water when cooking this year no matter whether steaming or boiling any ideas what the problem might be
  • This is also my first few potatoes. planted them at the start of july should they be getting ready to be harvested? if not how long do i have to wait. they are white potatoes.
  • Sue - it's all down to the cook! Sharp's Express is notorious for breaking up on boiling for too long, due to its' high dry matter content. Catriona is almost as bad.These are both very old potatoes - you might prefer to try growing newer ones that have lower dry content next year.

    Vee - maincrop pots take around 12 -15 weeks to mature. Not all pots flower, but if yours do, it's a sign that you might have some ready to eat. Scrape some of the soil away from one root and see what's there. If the tubers are small, water well and look again in a week or two.

    Paula - the time tubers can be stored depends upon how warm the store will be, together with other factors. You must make sure that the pots for store are undamaged eg by slugs or your fork. Ideal conditions are to store in the dark at 4 degrees C and with low humidity. I put mine in the garage where it's quite warm. My earlies keep until we have eaten them all by November. Purists say you should only store second earlies and maincrops.

  • have just bought a house with a vegetable patch. have never grown anything edible before and can't wait to have a go. The children and I have dug over the soil, improved with manure and are ready to go, only thing is cant find any seeds which say sow in August! what can i grow for the winter, or do I need to wait until spring before I can get going?
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