11. July 2019

Save your potato plants for a second harvest

My first harvest of potatoes was quite small, so I'm going to save my potato plants to get a second harvest later in summer.

Potatoes in a bucket, I have cut off the tops.

 

Our first harvest of the potato variety Orla was as expected ready after midsummer. We usually begin harvesting in May, but this spring was so cold that we had to wait a few more weeks. They taste absolutely delicious though, boiled with dill in lightly salted water!

If you harvest your early potatoes plant by plant instead of tuber by tuber, you can actually get more than one harvest from the same plant.

 

More about potatoes: How to get an early harvest of potatoes

 

Flera rader potatis med hög blast. Potato plants, several rows of potatoes.

I'm growing the early potato variety Orla in my polytunnel. I startet harvesting the potatoes in midsummer. The potato plants are this tall since the tunnel is situated in partial shade.

 

Do this:

  1. Harvest the potatoes by lifting the entire plant from the soil, with a pitchfork or a shovel.
  2. Remove the largest potatoes and leave the smaller ones.
  3. Cut the potato tops off, around 6 inches (15 centimeters) from the seed potato.
  4. Half-fill a bucket with holes in the bottom, or a large pot, with soil, grass clippings, straw and old leaves.
  5. Put the potato in the bucket/pot and add more material around it. Water and put in partial shade.

New potato tops will start to grow after a few weeks, and the little tubers that didn't develop the first time around get a new chance now. And more of them grow too of course! This way, you can give new life to the earliest potatoes that will produce another harvest later in summer. It's so convenient!

 

More about potatoes: Chitting potatoes indoors

 

Några små potatisar ligger på jorden. Potato plants, a few potatoes.

The first harvest of potatoes was quite small but you can use the potato plants to get a bigger harvest later.

 

En skördad potatisplanta utan blast. Potato plants.

I cut the potato tops after harvesting the potatoes.

 

En bytta med potatisplanta och gräsklipp. Potato plants with grass clippings.

The potato gets a new chance in this bucket filled with grass clippings and leaves.

 

You can put the potato plant in a pallet collar bed too if you want. And you can use any material you have available in your garden to plant it in. There's no need to use fertilizer. Just remember to not only use nitrogen-rich material. Too much nitrogen will make the potato tops rather than the tubers, grow. So, always mix grass clippings with for example old leaves. And don't forget to water your potato plants!

So, harvest your potatoes and don't feel too bad about pulling potato plants that have only produced a few little tubers so far. Enjoy them now and go for a bigger harvest later. This is pure happiness for me!
/Sara Bäckmo

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