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Harvesting Potatoes

August 17th, 2010

I harvested my ‘Red Gold’ potatoes from the front garden a few weeks ago. It always amazes me when I dig potatoes, you plant one small potato and dig up a bucketful. The yields in my garden are slightly smaller than the ones we harvested from my mom’s garden, but I wasn’t disappointed.

Red Gold: Bred by Ag-Canada at the University of Guelph in 1970. Beautiful reddish orange skin with creamy, golden-yellow, semi-moist flesh. Excellent variety for baking, frying, mashing, steaming or roasting. Good disease resistance, best used fresh, not recommended for extended storage. 90-100 days.

My mom and I also harvested the ‘Carola’, ‘All Red’, ‘All Blue’, and ‘Purple Viking’ that we planted in her garden. We were quite impressed with the yields, I think the total weighed in around 40 pounds for these varieties. It was quite fun to harvest such a colorful variety of potatoes. I got this collection from potato sampler from Seed Savers in the spring.

All Red: (a.k.a. Cranberry Red) Red skin with delicate pale pink flesh. Low starch content makes this variety a good boiling potato for salads or any dish that requires potatoes to retain their shape. Considered the best producing red-fleshed, red-skinned variety. Introduced to SSE members by Robert Lobitz in 1984. Consistently a good producer at Heritage Farm, regardless of the weather conditions. 90-110 days.

Carola: Our most popular variety. Heavy yields of medium-sized, rounded oval potatoes with straw-beige skin. Excellent when harvested as young new potatoes. Creamy yellow flesh, relatively low starch, great for soups, boiling or fried. Maintains new potato qualities for months in root cellar. 95 days.

All Blue: Deep blue skin, blue flesh with a thin white line just under the skin. A good choice for baking and frying, nice for making colorful chips. When boiled the color turns to a light blue. High mineral content, good keeper. 90-110 days.

Purple Viking: Quickly gaining the reputation of a great tasting, slightly sweet, general purpose potato. A choice variety for any preparation , snow-white flesh is excellent for mashing. Average tubers are 3½ – 4″ in diameter, but in a good year it can produce even larger tubers. Excellent storage qualities. 80-100 days.

So far I’ve tasted them all and they’re all quite good, I’ll try to post more in depth about this later. I especially like the All Reds, they’re very good and they had a great yield. We still need to harvest the ‘Kennebec’ and we harvested the fingerlings yesterday, more on those later. This winter I’ll be trying to decide what varieties I’ll be growing next year, perhaps all of these again, perhaps some new ones, once I get to eat a few more of them and see how they store I’ll make my decision.

Do you grow or eat a colorful variety of potatoes? How many varieties do you grow each year?

17 Comments to “Harvesting Potatoes”
  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by mark mile, Susy Morris. Susy Morris said: Harvesting #Potatoes #edible #harvest […]

    Reply to Tweets that mention Growing Heirloom Potatoes | Chiot’s Run —'s comment

  2. Wanda on August 17, 2010 at 5:47 am

    I haven’t grown potatoes for a long time. Yours are beautiful! Maybe I’ll grow some again next year.

    Reply to Wanda's comment

  3. Wendy on August 17, 2010 at 7:15 am

    We are digging up ours and I’m thankful for the yield too! I should do a color photo of our varieties!

    Reply to Wendy's comment

  4. kristin @ going country on August 17, 2010 at 8:18 am

    POTATOES YAY! We’re almost ready for harvest–another month maybe. This year we have, let’s see . . . six varieties. All New York State specific. A baking variety, a long storage variety, a red, a blue, a waxy kind, and something that the people at the potato farm gave to my MiL to try because it’s brand-new and they want feedback.

    I love them all, but oh, the french fries that can be made with the Bake Kings . . .

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  5. Sense of Home on August 17, 2010 at 8:32 am

    We grew Yukon Gold and Dakota Jewel Reds this year. I harvested them last Friday evening and will be posting about it on Thursday. These are the same potatoes we grew last year, they really do well in our area, and they store well too.


    Reply to Sense of Home's comment

  6. Stace on August 17, 2010 at 8:54 am

    I have never tried to grow potatoes, but yours are so pretty I’m inspired to give it a shot!

    Reply to Stace's comment

  7. Christa on August 17, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Your potatoes look wonderful! I planted Carola potatoes last year and they rotted in the ground. I had terrible soil. This year, I decided to try the straw method. I put the potato seeds on newspaper on the ground and covered them with straw. As the plants grew, I used more straw to cover them. The end result? Maybe one potato per plant. I also planted a couple in my raised beds, the plants looked very healthy. I’m going to harvest those and see if I get better results. If so, next year, I’ll devote a few of my raised beds for potatoes.
    I was hoping maybe you could do a post on how you plant yours and hill them.
    Will you be planting a winter crop?

    Thanks for the wonderful post,


    Reply to Christa's comment

    • Susy on August 17, 2010 at 9:34 am

      We saved out all of our green and sprouting potatoes and will be planting them if we have some extra space in the garden. Every inch of the garden that has been harvest already has been planted in a fall crop. Peas where potatoes were, leeks in one row of potatoes, carrots in a double wide row where potatoes grew, cucumbers where the spring peas were grown, and we’ll be removing zucchini and filling the area with winter cabbage/broccoli/brussels sprouts. If we have room we’ll plant all of our sprouted potatoes for a late fall crop of new potatoes.

      To plant our potatoes we made a hill in the garden, then planted the potatoes in the hill, we mulched heavily with straw and that’s it. No hilling involved, mainly because we didn’t have space to hill and we just didn’t have time. Perhaps we get slightly lesser yields since we don’t hill, but that’s OK for us. Next year I may experiment in hilling a few plants to see what the difference is.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Christa on August 19, 2010 at 7:39 am

        I hope you don’t mind one more question on the potatoes.
        How big is your hill and how many seed potatoes do you plant in that hill? Also, how deep do you plant? And, do you add more straw as the plants grow or do you just cover the hill and leave alone? Sorry for all the questions but I’m determined to figure out how to grow potatoes successfully here in Tennessee.
        Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my previous questions.

        to Christa's comment

      • Susy on August 19, 2010 at 9:51 am

        Our hills are probably 10-12 inches high or so, and we plant the potatoes 6 inches deep. We mulched with a few inches of straw once when we planted them and we remulched a few spots towards the end where the straw had been blown off. We didn’t add any more straw unless needed.

        The potatoes are really easy to harvest since the soil was already worked up for the hilling, and the straw protects any potatoes that grow near the surface so they don’t get green.

        Adding bone meal to the soil for potatoes is a good idea. They also enjoy lots of compost added before planting and a good amount of water during the growing season.

        Make sure to wait until the vines have been dead for a few weeks before harvesting (unless of course you’re having trouble with pests) they you can harvest them a earlier but they may not store as well.

        to Susy's comment

  8. marcyincny on August 17, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Great photos, as usual, and good info. I haven’t been growing potatoes the last few seasons. We live near a lot of muck farms that grow great potatoes and onions and we just weren’t eating or even able to give away all that I grew myself. But. Now that I’m doing pressure canning again your post has inspired me to grow and can some next year. Thanks.

    Reply to marcyincny's comment

  9. Jaspenelle on August 17, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Hey, I was born in Guelph… I noticed a couple weeds out of the back of my compost bin and when I pulled one out there was a whole bunch of little red potatoes attached to it. I’m guessing some from my compost bucket grew? I left the other plant to see what would happen.

    Aside from the volunteer I’ve never grown potatoes but maybe next year. I almost exclusively use red potatoes because they do not fall apart in stews and soups and still fry up nicely. I would have to find a potato with similar properties to grow. Maybe an all red or purple viking…

    Reply to Jaspenelle's comment

  10. nic@nipitinthebud on August 17, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    I love that the colours of your spuds match several of mine but the variety names are completely different across this side of the pond! I dug up some purple spuds this week (Peruvian Purples) and can’t wait to see what flair they add to a dish. Yield here in the UK has been universally disappointing as it was so dry through April to June. Hey ho, I’m going to keep a few of each variety for next year and try and again with the best of the bunch (reds are a good all rounder here too)

    Reply to nic@nipitinthebud's comment

  11. Marvel Vigil on August 17, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    Here in the Pacific Northwest, we planted red (Pontiac & Allred), white (Yukon & Russet) & purple (Purple Majesty) potatoes and the more colorful ones had the best yield (most uniform shapes/sizes, highest quantity-per-chit). Our 4 x 12 foot bed produced 68 pounds of lovely spuds. Now to find a cool enough above-ground space for storage these last few weeks of summer….

    Reply to Marvel Vigil's comment

  12. Joshua on August 17, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    I planted about 90 row-feet of potatoes this year: 3 rows across down a 4’x30′ bed. I did about half Russets and about half Yukon Golds. My method was pretty much as you described: plant the seed potatoes about 8″ in the ground then cover heavily with straw instead of hilling up. I was worried about the straw being too heavy, but I was unprepared for what aggressive growers potatoes are. They had no problem pushing through the mulch. I mulched instead of hilling because with the thick planting, there was no spare dirt in the bed to hill with. Also, I tend towards lower-labor gardening methods. I would rather get a smaller yield per square foot and not have the labor of hilling. The mulch worked fine to prevent the potatoes from turning green, although I did only get one “bunch” per plant. I have heard that if you plant deep and hill up aggressively, you can get multiple bunches and really increase your yield. Personally, I wouldn’t have wanted to plant any deeper, as digging out the potatoes was plenty of trouble as it was. Not that it was a lot of labor, just that it was a bit of work to get the potatoes out without missing any or tearing them up with the spade. Next year I’ll have to think that through a little more thoroughly.

    The yield was about two bushels total, although I had to harvest them a little early because some kind of fungal disease was eating away all the leaves from the bottom up. I basically waited until most of the plants had no leaves left and then pulled the whole lot. It was none too soon, I think, as there were one or two rotten ones, but mostly they were fine. That being said, I was just out there weeding the (now empty) bed, and I found one that I missed, still happily waiting to be picked, so maybe they could have stood to grow a bit longer after all. Two bushels from ninety row-feet (and about fifteen pounds of seed potatoes, if memory serves) is probably not very impressive, but it’s a fine return on investment for my first year and I’m happy with it. As it is, we are making home-fries and roasted potatoes darn near every day just to try to eat them before the go bad. It’s a good problem to have!

    Reply to Joshua's comment

  13. Sustainable Eats on August 19, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    I always think things like “I need to harvest my potatoes” and then I open up my google reader and there you just blogged about it. The pictures are always amazing as well. You have so much style and grace!

    Reply to Sustainable Eats's comment

    • Susy on August 20, 2010 at 9:52 am

      Thanks, you’re very kind!

      Reply to Susy's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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