How do you know when potatoes are ready to be dug up?
Wait until all the foliage of the plant has withered and died back before harvesting mature potatoes. After the foliage has died, dig up a potato from one or two plants and rub the skin of the potato with your fingers. The skin of a potato that is ready for harvest won't scrub off easily.
When to Harvest Potatoes. For winter storage, it's best to let the plant and the weather tell you when to harvest potatoes. Wait until the tops of the vines have died before you begin harvesting. Potatoes are tubers and you want your plant to store as much of that flavorful starch as possible.
- It is tempting to harvest potatoes as soon as possible to enjoy them in meals but different varieties can take anything from 70 to 120 days to grow. So, while the early-season potatoes will be ready to consume by the end of May or early June, others will need a bit more patience.
- Harvest potatoes after the plants flower and then turn yellow. You can also remove new potatoes before flowering. Once the stems turn yellow, stop watering and wait a week. Dig out the potatoes or just dump the container and sort through the medium for the tubers.
- When onions start to mature, the tops (foliage) become yellow and begin to fall over. At that point, bend the tops down or even stomp on them to speed the final ripening process. Loosen the soil around the bulbs to encourage drying. Be sure to harvest in late summer, before cool weather.
Updated: 20th October 2018