Harvesting perfect potatoes isn’t difficult, but these top tips will help you get the best from your crop. In a recent video, our friend Martin of Pots & Trowels is in the veg plot to show you how to harvest and store your potatoes successfully in October. You can watch the video below, or keep reading for all the advice you need to fill your stores with delicious spuds this season!


When should I harvest my maincrop potatoes?

Maincrop potatoes are traditionally lifted around October time, when most everything has died down in the garden.

If you live in the countryside and there’s potatoes grown near you, it’ll soon be a hive of activity with the farmers getting their crops in before the winter!

How to deal with potato blight

Potato blight is a serious fungal disease that gets onto the leaves of potatoes that can’t be treated with sprays and treatments once it hits. Blight attacks usually occur around July to August, and sometimes as early as June, and can devastate crops in just a few days if left unchecked. It’s usually caused by warm, wet weather and, with the increasingly unpredictable UK weather in the summer, it’s becoming more common.

Blight usually manifests as yellowing and brown spots on the leaves of your potatoes, which then makes it way down into the roots of the crop where it does the damage. As soon as you discover potato blight, cut the stalks or ‘horns’ down to ground level and dispose of them right away – don’t add them to your compost heap. This will prevent the disease from getting down to the tubers, and any tubers that have developed should still be edible once it comes time for lifting them.

How to harvest potatoes

Once your potatoes have cured and developed a hard skin, it’s time to lift them! Grab your long handled garden fork and dig it in there nice and deep under where your potatoes have been growing, then lift and ease them out to the surface. Take care not to stab any with the fork as you dig.

Collect your harvested potatoes and put them in a box or crate to let them dry out. Remove any spent plants from the soil – remember not to add any that have been affected by blight to your compost bin – and give keep digging over the soil to unearth any more hidden potatoes. Any potatoes that you leave in the ground will attempt to grow again next season, so if you’re rotating your crops then you don’t want to find any surprises growing up 6in between your different crops.

If you find any potatoes with green on them then you can still eat them, just be sure to consume them right away and to cut away any of the green parts, as green potato is poisonous. If you’ve struggled with blight then you might lift the odd tuber that has unfortunately succumbed to blight and rotted, in that case you will have to discard of these. Throw them in the bin, or if you’re planning a bonfire this season then you can add it to that – never let them contaminate your healthy potatoes.

How to store potato harvests

Once you’ve got your harvested potatoes, leave the crates out to dry them outside for a few hours (weather permitting) and then rub any big clumps of soil off of the skins, as you need them to be dry to store properly.

The other thing you need to be able to store your potatoes is a tough skin. You shouldn’t be able to rub the skin off with your thumb like you can with new potatoes.

Store them in breathable hessian sacks or paper bags and then keep them somewhere cool, dry and, most importantly, dark – if light gets to your potatoes then they’ll go green and will no longer be edible. The cooler the conditions the better too, so long as it’s above freezing, as if they get too warm they’ll start to sprout. Now your potatoes are ready to be enjoyed right through the winter!

Where to buy Darlac tools

Make life a little easier for yourself by using the right garden tool for the job. You can find our Darlac products in store from your local garden centre, or you can buy selected products direct online from our website. Find your local Darlac stockist here.

If you enjoyed this blog post and the Pots & Trowels video, be sure to subscribe to Pots & Trowels on YouTube and to follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for weekly practical videos all about gardening.

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