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Harvesting and storing

Harvesting

Lift early potatoes carefully with a fork as soon as they are ready and tubers are about the size of a hen’s egg or more. Flowering often occurs at this time, but the tubers may be ready before. Provided the crop is healthy, leave main crop plants until early to mid-autumn to bulk up (but the tubers are prone to slug damage).

Storing

For storing, lift main crop potatoes when the tops die back and the skin resists gentle pressure. All potatoes should be gathered by mid-October to avoid weather damage.

  • Lift on a dry day and allow potatoes to dry on the surface of the soil for two or three hours
  • Handle tubers gently, as they bruise easily and this impairs their keeping qualities
  • Store in hessian or paper sacks or in boxes in a frost-proof shed. Avoid plastic materials, including plastic-lined paper sacks, as these promote condensation that favours rots
  • Early and second early potatoes have a short dormant period and will sprout earlier so keep for a shorter time than main crop cultivars