The early potato plants (Yukon gold and a red one that I can’t remember the name of!) died back a couple of weeks ago, but it was too hot to go out there to harvest them. I finally got to it this last weekend.
After explaining the way I plant potatoes and the reasons why I like to plant them this way, I thought I should show you how easy it is to harvest when the straw method is used.
This is what I found when I pulled back the straw at the base of a mound where the potato vine had died. There are some potatoes on the top of the soil, and there are some just below soil level.
However, I can harvest them all with just my hands. I don’t need any tools, therefore I don’t run the risk of nicking any of the potatoes.
Here I am pulling up the vine and harvesting the potatoes still attached. Then I usually run my hands all around the planting area, removing any potatoes I find just below the soil.
See how clean they are? This is a major improvement over the traditional way of planting!
Here’s a mound of Yukons- this plant produced more potatoes than the red one.
Isn’t this something? I can’t help it- I just get such a thrill when I pull back the straw and find all these potatoes where I had just planted one! And I didn’t do anything other than put some more straw around them as they grew.
This is certainly my kind of gardening.
This is what I harvested from the early potatoes. It’s smaller than last year. I had bugs and field mice that I think affected the harvest. I will leave them in the wheelbarrow for about a week in the warm, dry garage and then put the good ones in the old cooler I have for them to be stored.
Every year is different, though I’m certainly feeling barraged by the mice (voles), cucumber beetles, gophers, deer, and something leaving pinprick holes in the leaves of my beans and potatoes this year.
And speaking of voles…
This is what a number of my potatoes looked like. Ugh.
I was actually surprised that it wasn’t more, though. I thought they were using my potato bed as a little 24-hour restaurant.
At least they left more for us.