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The Great Potato Harvest

August 26th, 2013

Earlier this week, the great potato harvest began. If you remember, I planted about 200lbs of seed potatoes. The ‘Red Gold’ and ‘Dark Red Norland’ potatoes were ready to be dug up. Neither of these will keep for a long time, so we’ll be eating them like mad. Any extras that we don’t eat will be fed to the ducks, chickens and pigs.
Harvesting potatoes 1
The rest of the potatoes are still growing. They are starting to die back, but they won’t be ready for harvest for at least another month or so. That’s the nice thing about growing a 70 day potato, you can harvest them early and be eating potatoes long before your main crop is ready.
Harvesting potatoes 3
I planted a huge portion of the main garden in potatoes.  Why? Because they’re fairly easy.  Potatoes grow so quickly, they smother the weeds quite well. They also produce very well, calorie for calorie, better than any other garden crop.  I planted them in early June, mulched them in early July and that was it.
Harvesting potatoes 2
These ‘Dark Red Norland’ potatoes are quite lovely to look at. The color is quite amazing when you first spot them in the soil, they’re bright fuschia. I’ve grown them before, but I’m always surprised by how bright they are at harvest.  Some red potatoes can be difficult to spot when you’re harvesting, not so with these beauties, that bright pink is easy to see.
Dark Red Norland Potatoes
The ‘Red Gold’ potatoes were planted rather close, this makes them produce a greater number of small potatoes rather than a few large ones. When I have boiling potatoes like this, I prefer them to be on the small side so they cook up quickly.  Overall, the potato harvest is going quite well this year.  We’ve been enjoying eating potatoes once again.

Do you grow early, mid and late season potatoes?

22 Comments to “The Great Potato Harvest”
  1. whit on August 26, 2013 at 5:28 am

    Amazing harvest you have there. We are baffled by no potato production here again this year. We planted seed in May for early and late types, tried harvesting the earliest a couple weeks ago. There was nothing there. Couldn’t believe it. Out of the first e hears that we’ve grown potatoes, we’ve only had one harvest, I think. Someday we’ll get it.

    Reply to whit's comment

    • Mindy on August 26, 2013 at 10:24 am

      I had the same problem. Does anyone know what the problem could be?

      Reply to Mindy's comment

      • Susy on August 26, 2013 at 10:48 am

        Most likely too much nitrogen.

        to Susy's comment

    • Susy on August 26, 2013 at 10:49 am

      That is very strange, are the plants lush? If so, perhaps there’s just too much nitrogen in your garden.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • whit on August 27, 2013 at 9:27 am

        It was very weird, because it wasn’t like they seemed really bushy or leafy. We even tried them in a tower this year, to make certain the seed didn’t rot in our wet soil. Wonder if we didn’t water enough? More research is needed. :)

        to whit's comment

      • Susy on August 27, 2013 at 12:24 pm

        I never have as good a yield when I try to grow in a tower. Potatoes do like some moisture. Perhaps you have critters that eat them?

        to Susy's comment

  2. Adriana on August 26, 2013 at 7:51 am

    Potatoes are one my favorite crops. We’ve tried many different varieties over the years. Last year we had a not so good harvest and ran out early. Every time I bought potatoes I was yet again reminded that organic ones are pricey and almost always a disappointment. Luckily we had a bumper crop of sweet potatoes and other roots. We just dug our Dark Red Norland this past weekend as well. It’s like finding little treasures in the dirt :)

    Reply to Adriana's comment

  3. Nebraska Dave on August 26, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Susy & Brian, my potatoes were planted late this year because of the cold wet spring weather. I don’t expect any harvesting for probably another month. Mean while the tomatoes are really starting to ripen. We are in a hot summer cycle with temps nearing 100+ all week. The night temperatures are more favorable to ripening tomatoes.

    Your first Maine harvest looks like it’s going to be great. Have a wonderful day in the garden.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

  4. amy on August 26, 2013 at 11:38 am

    It was so wet here this spring I could not get the potatoes out! Horrified! Then I read that you were planting yours in June so I thought why not:) I am so rooted and consequently crippled by the way we grew things as a family growing up…..such as….potatoes had to be out by the Ides of March……or no go. My potatoes are amazing…..and miracle of miracles… potato bugs…not….even….one…..That has never happened before…..They were just kennebuck…..what Southern States….our local feed store still had in stock…..I read on here from one of the other commentors about growing winter potatoes…..After such a success as I had with these late potatoes now I am game to go “crazy” again….Any advice on planting late potatoes……and when would we expect to be able to harvest….early spring or before? What varieties?…All and Any Advice Appreciated!

    Reply to amy's comment

    • Susy on August 26, 2013 at 11:57 am

      I have read that waiting to plant potatoes in June helps defeat the potato bugs because of their life cycle, whether this is true or not I don’t know. Some people plant potatoes in the fall for overwintering, I’ve never tried it. Though I know someone in NE Ohio (zone 5) that does it with success. Might as well give it a try.

      I’ve always had luck with late potatoes, in fact, I rather like planting them later so they’re ready for harvest in October, that makes them store much longer into the spring.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Joan on August 27, 2013 at 8:03 am

        I think there is truth to planting late to avoid potato bugs, at least here in Maine. I’ve tried it both ways, as has my dad, and planting late seems to avoid most of them.

        to Joan's comment

  5. Lemongrass on August 26, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Beautiful harvest!! Roasted potatoes with, lots of garlic, red onions, a little lime juice, sea salt and olive oil. Accompany this with some cold-brewed tarragon, basil and spearmint tea.

    Reply to Lemongrass's comment

  6. Emily on August 26, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Good gravy! 200 lb of SEED planted? How many pounds do you wind up with? I generally get a pound of potatoes from 1 egg-sized seed potato (maybe 2-4 oz?), so I’m thinking 15 lb of seed potatoes yields all the potatoes we can eat in a year (~75lb). You must eat a ton more potatoes than we do!

    Reply to Emily's comment

    • Susy on August 26, 2013 at 1:21 pm

      Yes, we’ll eat potatoes every day if we have them. Some varieties I planted don’t produce quite as much as others, so they might double in weight when harvested.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Jackie on August 27, 2013 at 11:12 am

        Gosh, 200 lbs. planted is an awful lot! I just finished harvesting the remainder of my Yukon’s, (about four plants are still green & growing) and have 52 lbs. from 5 lbs. planted. I started harvesting the end of July. I’d be interested to know how many pounds you will harvest. I bet you would too!

        to Jackie's comment

  7. Marby on August 26, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Another inspiring harvest Susy! I love the touches of yellow (sunflowers?) amongst the potatoes. The reds look delicious already!

    I notice that you have an early and a main crop. From your post, am I correct in reading there is only one month between digging the earlys and the mains maturing? Do you ‘chit’ them before planting?
    Where I live it is Spring in a couple of weeks time so I am planning my potato bed now.

    Reply to Marby's comment

  8. Marcia on August 26, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    I usually grow at least four different varieties of potatoes and sometimes up to eight. I planted Norlands and All Red for early eating, French Fingerlings for canning and Russet Burbanks for winter storage. As always, potatoes are huge and plentiful this year, must be good soil here. I will be harvesting the storing potatoes late September to mid-October, as soon as the skin thickens up. Apparently we are in for early snow and frost. Boo.

    Reply to Marcia's comment

  9. Nita on August 26, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    We grow early spuds too, just to close the gap between the last keepers in May and the first harvest. Usually we still have the gap though, but this year I planted a dozen hills in the greenhouse, and harvested potatoes in May, unheard of here in outside of gardens due to our wet springs. It was well worth the greenhouse space in my opinion. Delicious!

    I’m wondering though, did you mean 20 pounds? Our average yields are 10 pounds per pound of seed and many varieties yield much more. We planted 40 pounds this year and that will allow us to eat potatoes every day. Or it may be your new ground too.

    Reply to Nita's comment

    • Susy on August 27, 2013 at 12:32 pm

      Nope 200 pounds. Some of the varieties I planted don’t yield the 10 pounds per seed pound and the soil here isn’t quite as rich as potatoes like. I’ve only harvested the early ones so far, a fairly decent yield considering the soil.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  10. Lisa Sewell on August 26, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    We have been eating red potatoes for almost a month now and are getting ready to dig the other varieties soon. I’m curious, do you do anything to prepare the potatoes before feeding them to your chickens? Grind them up? Cook them? We have so many this year feeding the excess to our chickens seems like a great way to prevent them from going to waste if they go by faster than we can eat them.

    Reply to Lisa Sewell's comment

    • Susy on August 27, 2013 at 12:27 pm

      I just put the potatoes in a big pot on top of the wood stove. I don’t even wash them. When they’re soft, I fish them out and toss them to the birds. They’ll peck at them and eat them. You might have to mash a few or cut them up at first to train the birds to eat them.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  11. Stephanie on August 28, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Your potatoes are beautiful! I’m looking at growing potatoes in a container since we’re tight on space in our oddly shaped lot.

    Reply to Stephanie's comment

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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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