Potato question

How do I know when they're ready to harvest? I don't wanna dig them up and disturb them to find out, and was wondering if there's another way. I would have done a web search to find out, but I didn't know the ISP hadn't been paid this month, so since yesterday all I can do is newsgroups. Can't even check my email. Hopefully that will be taken care of on Tuesday(payday) at the latest.
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Lilah Morgan wrote:

The stalks will begin to wilt. When they look half or pretty well dead (mostly yellow), I cut them back to just above soil level and leave the spuds in the ground for about two weeks to give the skins a chance to harden...then dig and dig and dig.
..
--

We must change the way we live,
or the climate will do it for us.
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Ok thank you very much!
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snipped-for-privacy@Our.Planet writes:

That's what I do for the first ones, but I leave them in the ground and dig as I want them. My garden has good drainage so there's not a problem with spoilage. As the weather starts into the 30s, the potatoes (and carrots) get much sweeter. There is no potato like one that has just been dug from the garden on New Year's Day. :-)
New Year's Day last year, we had sauerbrauten with potatoes and cabbage straight from the garden. I could not believe that unpicked cabbage could still be good, but inside the outer bad looking leaves was delicious cabbage (purple for sweet and sour cabbage). I expected the 'taters to be good but certainly not the cabbage.
Our gardens are full of surprises and most of them are good surprises.
Glenna
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Glenna Rose wrote:

I would love to leave them in until New Year's Day...but I'd need a backhoe to get through the snow and frozen ground..
;)
Zone 5b in Canada's iceberg infested Far East.
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or the climate will do it for us.
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What zone are you in? Some people are under a foot of snow by Thanksgiving.
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When they bloom, they've made little "new potatoes." You can dig into the soil with your fingers to harvest some of them, for a treat.
When the frost knocks the foliage over, harvest your spuds. That's when they're ready.
I forgot to pay our phone bill last week and they turned the phone off. I was not amused, especially since I was on the road, to go talk to our Governor. (It's embarassing to be visiting with the Gov and not even be able to phone home. What a meatball, huh?)
Jan
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You can't set it up where your bills are automatically paid? A friend does this online through her bank.
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Naw. We're ranchers; we don't have a steady income. Sometimes money dribbles in. Other times it pours in. Just depends on the season and how much "off the ranch" work we pick up during slow times.
I'm selling composted cow manure right now, to bridge us over a lean month. (Okay, a lean couple of months.) And I'm growing cut flowers for farmers market sales. Our spring was really cold, so things are just starting to perk along now. We're three weeks behind our normal growing season this year.
If one of us would quit being volunteer board members on ag and conservation boards, we'd have enough money. The SO does Conservation work; I do Ag work. (That way, someone is always home to feed the cows and do calving season. Our board meetings never happen at the same time.)
I'm whining. Sorry... *blush*
On gardening, we built a new little "pocket" greenhouse the other day, because my laying hens are using my old greenhouse. We filled the bins in the new one with 1/2 30-year old composted cow poop and 1/2 with soil from under alders (full of earthworms!). The 'mater plants are putting on a couple of inches of new growth a day and blooming like crazy. All of the 'mater varieties are Russian OP plants (Sasha's Altai, Galina's, Aurora, etc.) and one damned Sweet 100, because I love those things.
For people who don't have any money, we live pretty good : )
Jan
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Money is highly over rated. Deb
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The SO and I both failed to inherit "the shopping gene," so we do pretty well with no money. To the point where I have to ask my girlfriends to buy our socks & underwear when they go shopping. I buy our work clothes at thrift stores. We hit a Western Wear store every couple of years to buy "go to meeting" clothes. I buy a lot of odds & ends off of eBay -- computer parts, books, horse tack. Stuff. Mostly, we shop at the feed store, the bulk grocery store and the liquor store. (My mom is probably rolling in her grave -- shopping was her "hobby.")
Do you guys ever get given more stuff than you have room to plant? I've got an embarassment of gifts this week. Don't know where I'm going to plant all of this stuff! I think that the word got out that I give everyone a feed sack full of composted cow poop when they give me some starts. I've got broccoli, cabbage, squash, etc. starts up the wahzoo, and not enough fenced garden area to plant them all...
Jan
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*snip*

I've had more seed potatoes than room for potatoes several times. It's an easy thing to do, as they like a couple square feet to themselves, and a single eye grows a plant.
We've had all kinds of volunteer tomato plants. We've planted none this year so far, but have 3 staked and more we could stake. If you don't want volunteer tomatoes, better catch the tomatoes before they go bad and land on the ground. ;-)
Puckdropper
--
Wise is the man who attempts to answer his question before asking it.

To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at) fastmail.fm
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when the tops are all died off.
with our mulch method of growing you could feel in under the mulch and take some bigger ones earlier.
On Sun, 01 Jul 2007 01:39:03 GMT, "Lilah Morgan"
snipped With peace and brightest of blessings,
len & bev
-- "Be Content With What You Have And May You Find Serenity and Tranquillity In A World That You May Not Understand."
http://www.lensgarden.com.au /
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snipped-for-privacy@home.com writes:

Only rarely here, in fact I think the last time we had any real snow at Thanksgiving was 1978. We made up for it that year with a doozy of a storm. I remember the year because I worked for a contractor (excavation and site utilities) and I was the only one who made it to work that week, my Mercury Bobcat versus their four-wheel drives.
Occasionally, we will get up to three feet of snow, but that is not only rare but also usually gone within a week - called flooding! In a severe winter like that we can be 60s or 70s one day and during the next week have snow, hail and ice, and be back at 60s a week later. It's just bizarre. Since I grew up in eastern Washington where the climate is more stable overall (cold in winter, hot in summer), it always seem peculiar even after a lifetime on the west side of the Cascades.
Zone: Pacific Northwest, Zone 5 (dependent on which map), southwestern Washington, think Portland, Oregon. We have a relatively mild climate, most of the time. I thank all that is good on this earth that we are not Kansas, Texas or southern California - how horrible for those folks and everyone else who is going through such things and have in the past.
Glenna

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When the blooms quit dig a few. New potatoes and greenbeans. High on the hog. We eat most of ours that way. You can get all of the tough skin potatoes you want out of the store cheap.
Mel & Donnie down in Bluebird Valley In the middle of beautiful down town Yountsville. Managers of the water works. http://community.webtv.net/MelDKelly/doc
http://community.webtv.net/MelDKelly/MelDonniesBluebird
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