Country Living Series

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Picking potatoes

Last week we finally got the potatoes picked. We had the threat of rain to motivate us and I knew I couldn't put off digging potatoes any longer. The vines had died but as long as the ground was dry, I knew the taters wouldn't rot. But once the soil got saturated, it wouldn't be long before we'd lose the crop. So... time to dig.

We planted eight tires of taters last spring. This is what they looked like in August...


...and this photo was taken October 15.


I'd been harvesting the red potatoes little by little as we needed them...



...so about half the red potatoes from one tire were already gone. Early one morning last week I went out to harvest the rest of the reds. Later I weighed these and they came in at about fifty pounds.


I conscripted Younger Daughter and our friend GG to help dig the Russet potatoes (Older Daughter was at work).


Sizes ranged form tiny (marble-sized) to generous, though of course most were medium-sized.


We also found a few comical ones.


After harvesting half the Russets, we ended up with a full tub.


It came in at about 100 lbs.


The next day we finished harvesting the beds. Older Daughter (home from work) found it hard not to accidentally stab potatoes with the pitchfork. These damaged ones will get eaten first.


The rest of the harvest didn't quite fill a second tub.


This came in at about 80 lbs.


So altogether we harvested about 230 lbs. of potatoes. Combined with what we dug up and consumed right away, I'm going to estimate we got 250 lbs. out of eight tires, or a little over 30 lbs. per tire.

Now we have to find a place to store them!

18 comments:

  1. Strange, but I've never had any luck here doing it that way. I think perhaps the deer are nibbling too many of the leaves for the plants to have enough vigor to make manyn tubers.

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  2. I want to see how and where you store them. Awesome harvest. Who would have thought tires for garden beds. We could get old tires..... thanks!

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  3. How do you prepare potatoes for freezing?

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    1. You can't. Freezing will ruin them. That's why they need to be protected during winter, ideally in a root cellar. Since we don't have one (nor a basement), we'll store them in the coolest, darkest part of our house.

      - Patrice

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    2. I find canning them very easy and saves time when I come home from work!
      Kelly in K'ville, NC

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    3. Canning is easy and makes dinner a snap when working late!
      Kelly in K'ville, NC

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    4. You can freeze potatoes. I dice and shread some every year for breakfast dishes.

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  4. I would love to have success with potato planting! My husband and I have tried twice, and yet they all get dug up and stolen by chipmunks and the like. Any suggestions? We have tried container planting also, but those rodents are persistent.

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  5. Since we had to harvest potatoes in early June (as usual in Central Texas), our present problem is dealing with the fact that they want to sprout now. Ours usually last from June until around Christmas if we control the sprouts. After that it's going to be brown rice for a starch.

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  6. Patrice - save all of the littlest potatoes for seed for next year's planting (if you don't already do that). keep those seed potatoes separate from your eating potatoes and we have found that keeping each kind in it's own box with a towel wrapped around it in a cool, dark place, keeps the seed potatoes for the following year. we grow our potatoes in tires as well but we use the tire-stacking method which makes hilling them a breeze and you get much more potatoes from a plant when you hill them. and you have enough of those big tractor tires (which we are so jealous of!!!) that you could hill your potatoe plants 2 tires high and you could easily double your yield and save on space.

    we are expecting close to 200lbs this year, based on calculations from the past 8yrs of tire gardening. we love growing potatoes in tires!

    congrats on your harvest!

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  7. I LOVE potatoes. I have to say they're probably my favorite food. Baked, fried, stuffed, boiled, you name it, I love 'em! One of our tastiest ways to fix 'em is to cut 'em in half lengthwise, put a small pat of butter under each half and then bake 'em in the oven. Cut them open and add a little more butter and sour cream and a dash of salt and WOW! Goooood! --Fred in AZ

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  8. Patrice,
    What a great potato harvest, I harvested mine earlier and ended up storing them in a dark basket in my kitchen cabinet. We are renting this old house and it has air conditioning vents just under the cabinets. Everything stored in these cabinets remain cool and dark.

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  9. Patrice, is that 250 lbs on par with your consumption, or do you have extra?

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  10. Wowwie Ka-Zowwie! That's a magnificent harvest!

    Just Me

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  11. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUsU5s0ofYo Wartime farming, what the British farmers had to go through during WWII, very eye opening.

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  12. Buy a potato fork, the bulbed ends and round tines stop you spearing them. Mostly found in antique shops now.

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  13. How do you keep the Colorado potato beetles from killing them? I don't like to use chemicals and the bugs stripped the vines for me. We didn't get anything.

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    1. We've never had a problem with the Colorado potato beetle, so I'm afraid I can't offer any advice there. Check online for some organic repellants and see if that helps.

      - Patrice

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