Potato Harvest

Growing potatoes in containers was one of my experiments for this gardening year.

I planted one seed potato each at the bottom of two extra-large containers. As the plants grew, I covered them with more dirt, leaving only a few inches of the plant exposed, and kept doing that until the container was filled with soil. I read that when the plant dies back, it’s time to harvest.

What I didn’t do was note the planting date, I just know it was sometime in March. About three weeks ago one of the plants started to die. However, it only started dying back and never seemed to die completely. That prompted me to look more closely at harvesting information. At that point, I realized that the potatoes had been in the ground about 16 weeks, longer than the 12-15 weeks I was seeing as an estimate. Based on my reading, I was afraid they might have rotted, so, today was harvest time.

The nice thing about harvesting potatoes from a container … no digging. Just dump it out and paw through the nice, loose dirt to find the potatoes.

From two seed potatoes, I harvested around five pounds of potatoes.

Many of the potatoes are very small. The plants obviously could have been left in the ground longer. I’m still pleased with the yield and consider the experiment mostly a success.

I need to “cure” them for awhile before storing or using them. The dirt is going to the compost pile and next time I will start with fresh dirt to discourage development of potato bugs.

Other things learned that I need to do next time: 1) do more thorough research about growing and harvesting potatoes before planting, 2) Yukon Gold reportedly do not keep well, so, try a different variety like Pontiac Red, 3) use potato grow bags and free up my extra-large containers for a different crop, 4) more than one seed potato could have been used in each container, 5) figure out options for longer-term potato storage so larger crops don’t go to waste.

There was one bonus element to the day – a treat for the chickens!

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