Saturday, June 2, 2012
Potato Harvesting, Five Weekly Stages Conclusion
Potato Harvesting, Five Weekly Stages from First Flowering
If you’re going to grow potatoes for the first time here is what you can expect when you begin to harvest them at different stages of their growth. This year is my first year at growing potatoes. I planted 8 plants in buckets (The $100 Potato post) and 5 more plants in the ground for a total of 13 plants.
The plants in the ground I planned on harvesting one plant each week after flowering to document the growth and yield by weight of each plant each week successively. Harvesting when the first flowers bloom will result in ‘New Potatoes’ with sizes between a quarter to a ping pong ball. Each successive weekly harvest the new potatoes will get larger about the size of a golf ball.
I planted the potatoes 3-17-12. Today they are almost 7 weeks old and 4 feet tall with flowers beginning to bloom. Growers say that when the plant flowers ‘new potatoes’ are just about ready to harvest. I thought I would dig up the first plant and see what was going on underground. Sure enough the one plant had 8 oz. of new potatoes. In the photos you can see a large potato, which is the seed potato. I thought by now it would be much smaller or gone. It is still firm so I cut it up and inside it still looked like a good potato but there was no taste at all and a strange firm texture.
Please note that the length of time the potatoes have been growing is probably longer than yours because I only get at best half a day of sun on them. This is because my yard is heavily treed with oaks and I have only one small place next to the garage that receives any sun at all.
Yukon Gold plants 4 feet tall with flowers. These are two of the first 5 plants I planted in the rose bed. I used cut up buckets to create collars for hilling the plants.
What potato flowers look like.
I first removed the bucket collar used for hilling.
Plant pulled from the soil.
All the potatoes removed from the plant and after digging in the dirt looking for all others that didn’t come out attached to the plant roots.
Here’s the first plant harvested 5-6-12
Yield, 8.0 oz. All cleaned up. The large one was the seed potato which was discarded.
The second plant harvested 5-12-12
Yield, 7.0 oz.
The third plant harvested 5-18-12
Yield, 8.2 oz. They’re getting bigger!
The fourth plant harvested 5-25-12
Yield, 13.2 oz.
What I find interesting is none of the potatoes so far grew in the hilling only in the dirt at grade level or below!
The fifth and final test plant harvested 6-1-12
Yield, 22.2 oz.
It appears that you can harvest ‘new potatoes’ 2-3 weeks after the plants flower and each plant will yield about ½ pound. After 5-6 weeks they’ll be a little larger yielding about 1½ pounds per plant.
I’m waiting for the $100 Potato bucket planted potatoes to die off and I will harvest those, which should be in 2 more weeks or about 6-15-12. At that time I will conclude that test and growing method and show the results.
In the last three photo's I used the same size plate, a medium dinner plate, for a visual growth comparison.