When are potatoes ready for harvest?
How to determine the correct moment to harvest potatoes.
The adequate moment to harvest potatoes is determined by the final destination of the potatoes.
- One of the main factors is the decision to store or not to store the potatoes. If the decision is to store, the potatoes have to mature completely in the field.
When the leaves of the potato plant turn yellow and the solons easily detach from the tubercular are the signs that the potato is mature. If the potatoes are going to be stored, instead of consumed immediately, it is better the leave them in the ground so the skin can thicken, because a thicker skin protects the tubers better against diseases during storage and avoids that the potatoes shrink and loose water. Notwithstanding if the potatoes are left too long in the ground the possibility increases that the potatoes catch the fungicide disease called potato small pox.
1. Harvesting new potatoes.
The majority of the freshly harvested new potatoes are going to the fresh market. New or young in-mature potatoes are not fit for storage.
2. Harvesting mature potatoes.
The majority of the harvested fully mature potatoes are going to potato storage. From there they will be distributed to the potato processing industries or the general food outlets. Because of their storability mature potatoes are available all year round while young potatoes are typical a seasonable delicacy.
How long does it take potatoes to mature?
That is a question that is very difficult to answer, because this depends on too many different factors. Like the weather, the variety, fertilization humidity etc. The best way to determine if your potatoes are mature; is by visiting your field regularly and inspect them in the ground.
Picture ate the left: Where you can see clearly that the potato plant is completely dead and the green, you see, are weeds.
To facilitate the harvest of young or immature potatoes, the foliage has to be removed two weeks before the tubers are dug out of the ground.
According the volume of the harvest, potatoes are harvested with tridents or commercial harvesters that extract the potato from the ground and eliminate the earth from the tuber by vibration and airflow. During harvesting it is very important to avoid physical damage which will be a source of all kind of diseases during storage.