When are potatoes ready?

How do you tell if potatoes are ready to dig up? I have one bush whic
has started to flower, is that an indicator? Thank
-- Mozie
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I wait until they bush starts to die back and turns brown.
Dwayne

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new potatos 3-4 weeks after flowering, when the lower leaves have started turning yellow. Main crop potatos harvested when the leaves and stalks have withered and died.
rob
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Thanks Dwayne. I planted them around the 13th October, so they ar
almost 8 weeks old. Approx how long do your plants take fro germination to harvest? Thanks again
Mozi
-- Mozie
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I don't remember for sure, but I plant them right after the last expected frost date (Apr or May), and it seems like I have to wait until sometime in August or early Sept before we dug them.
Dwayne

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No. Flowers appear way before the potato tubers have developed any size. You can wait until the bushes have died down and turned brown, the spuds won't be getting any bigger after that. But there is nothing stopping you from scratching around the base of a plant to see what size the crop is, just take care not to damage the tiny taters. If you are in a wet climate it would be wise to harvest your crop before the plants die down, to make sure the spuds don't have a chance to rot in the damp ground. If you haven't planted the seed potato real deep you will see the ground swell and new potatoes become exposed to the sun. If this happens, cover them with more soil or the exposed ones will turn green and be inedible.
--
John Savage (my news address is not valid for email)

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No, it isn't. Potatoes will flower for a long time before the potatoes are ready to harvest.
There are two stages of potatoes, "new" potatoes which are harvested while the tops are still green and growing actively and potatoes which are harvested when the whole top turns brown and dies off - this is the main crop.
To harvest "new" potatoes and still leave the tops to grow on and give you the later main crop, you can just wiggle your hand down into the soil and feel around for any spuds which are big enough to eat - this is called bandicooting (after an Australian animal). If you want to do bandicooting for new potatoes on a regular basis the easiest way to do this is to grow your potatoes under hay or straw. Simply put the potatoes on top of the soil and then put a foot layer of hay/straw, top that with manure water well tehn put on another foot of hay/straw. When the potoatoes break through and the hay has collapsed, keep topping the hay up as the tops grow and the potoates will keep sending out more spuds from the stem. This is an especially good (and lazy no-dig) method for establishing a new bed as when the potatoes are finished you have good compost and a very rich weed free spot for the next crop.
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Farm1 Wrote:

Excellent advice! Thanks everyone
-- Mozie
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