When the potato is ready to harvest it undergoes appreciable changes to the naked eye that we tell you in this article so you can appreciate them. When harvest time is approaching, potato plants change their appearance. That change is very easy to appreciate if we know in advance.
It is important not to harvest the potatoes ahead of time. Unless they are to be consumed in a few days. But also, they remain in the soil much more than is strictly necessary.
If we leave them on the ground long after they have matured, the pests will continue to feed on them. Especially if the rain comes for a few days. Pathogenic fungi, worms or mice give a good account of them.
When to harvest potatoes?
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You can look at the plant, if the tubers turn yellow, they should be ready, but the most obvious way to know if our potatoes can be extracted from the ground is to sample, removing a plant and seeing where it is ripening.
The trick is in the peel: If rubbing it does not come off then the potato is ok. Generally, the tuber is formed and the potato ready to be quarried when the plant turns yellow if the plant is luxuriant the potatoes are not yet fully ripe. I can pick new potatoes but better wait.
The harvesting period can be estimated based on the time of sowing, even if it depends on the variety: There are early potatoes that are ready after 3 and a half months. And late potatoes for which instead you have to wait 4-5 months. If you understand the period of the variety you choose when purchasing the potatoes to sow. You can always think of marking on the calendar when they should be ready. Then it depends on the climate and the vintage. So, it will not be taken for granted anyway.
In theory, it is possible. But we feel we strongly advise against it. First of all, potatoes are sensitive to soil moisture. Secondly, there are insects and animals (from voles to underwire) that can ruin the tubers. Much better to collect and store potatoes in a safe place, where they keep better.
Difference between green and ripe potatoes
Comparative photos. On the left, immature potatoes, on the right, potatoes ready to be harvested. As can be seen in the attached photos, when the time comes for harvesting. The plants turn yellowish with dry leaves and decayed appearance as if they were dying.
It is advisable to let a few days go by from when the bushes turn yellow until the potatoes are harvested. In that time, the skin of the potatoes will harden, becoming much more resistant to damage. If we harvest them before, they will peel when we handle them spoiling in a few days.
If we do not intend to keep them for a long time, we can harvest them even if the skin has not hardened. They will be much juicier.
It is also advisable to remove dried and yellow bushes from the ground a few days before harvesting the potatoes. This will accelerate the process of hardening the skin of the potatoes. If we carry out the collection with a tractor, it will be much easier.