When to start harvesting potatoes, how to preserve the harvest

When to start harvesting potatoes, how to preserve the harvest

Harvesting potatoes

Although the mass harvesting of early varieties in the Leningrad Region is usually started 2-3 weeks after flowering (in the second or third decades of July), this year the relatively cool weather in the first half of June had some effect on the ripening of potatoes.

Therefore, these varieties were apparently dug up not earlier. first decade of August... With earlier harvesting dates, the bushes will not yet be able to gain sufficient crop mass (even if you planted potatoes in mid-May).


With the harvest of mid-late varieties, many gardeners, apparently, will not be in a hurry. By the way, tubers harvested partially immature, in comparison with fully ripe (with naturally dead tops), do not germinate longer in spring (including when stored indoors).

Since most pathogens infect potatoes in the field, correct cultivation will also ensure the normal safety of tubers. When storing low-quality potatoes, it will be difficult to ensure the successful keeping quality of the tubers (even if the optimal temperature and humidity regime is observed). Therefore, harvesting must be taken seriously: the quality and safety of the crop depend on the timing and methods of its implementation.

In this regard, with the harvesting of early potato varieties (in the overwhelming majority they are susceptible to late blight) try not to linger. In addition, it is taken into account that the ripened tubers of this group in the soil quickly begin to lose their weight, the danger of their damage by pathogens increases, and after a long stay in the ground, they can be poorly stored.

Usually, the varieties of these groups have time to mature before the active manifestation of late blight, but with its early manifestation, many tubers sick with this mycosis can be obtained in the harvest. Potato tubers of this group, as a rule, do not store for a long time and are sold until the New Year, leaving only the portion that is intended for seed purposes. In the last 2-3 weeks of the potato growing season, there is an active accumulation of dry matter and starch in them.

The approach of the end of the potato growing season is determined by the gradual physiological withering of its foliage and stems, their subsequent drying. It is believed that with the natural death of the tops, the tubers stop gaining weight, the influx of nutrients from the leaves and stems completely stops. At this time, the highest starchiness of the tubers, corking of the peel and easy separation of the stolons from the umbilical part of the tubers are noted.

Usually, with the appearance of yellow lower leaves, watering, if carried out, is sharply reduced, since excess water in the soil contributes to the defeat of young tubers by late blight and bacterial soft rot. A clear sign of the ripening of the tops is a change in the color of the leaves from green to yellow-green (even to yellow-brown). But more often they begin harvesting early varieties without waiting for this natural process. At the same time, it should be understood that if the crop is harvested too early (by green tops), the tubers are immature: they have a very weak and thin peel, which is easily damaged during harvesting and separated during transportation (such tubers easily lose water in hot summer weather) ... Freshly harvested potatoes are transported in baskets and boxes, and not in bags, since in them the skin of the tubers is quickly peeled off from friction against each other.


For long-term winter storage for food purposes, it is recommended to use the harvest of mid-season and mid-late varieties, which are harvested depending on weather conditions (often in mid-September).

In the climatic conditions of the Leningrad Region, late varieties potatoes usually do not ripen, so they are harvested before the tops naturally die off. But it is still not worth bringing vegetative potato plants directly to frost, since their damage to the green tops is reflected in the tubers - areas of dead tissue appear.

If the pre-harvest period coincides with the fall of heavy rainfall, to protect the potatoes from getting wet and subsequent suffocation (and also to reduce the number of tubers affected by late blight), a soil ridge with a height of at least 7-8 cm is formed above their nest, and tubers that are bare during autumn precipitation it is imperative to cover it with earth.

Regardless of the early maturity of the variety, we will still advise 5-7 days before harvesting for early varieties of plants, and 10-12 days for the rest. cut off the tops (leave "hemp" stems 15-20 cm high). The latter is removed from the garden (this is especially important in late blight years in order to exclude contact of affected plants with young tubers) or buried to a depth of more than half a meter. Pre-harvest leaf removal has several advantages: in plants seed potatoes, the tubers of which have reached the optimal size, the growth stops; the ripening of tubers is accelerated, the formation of the peel is stimulated, due to which their mechanical damage during harvesting and storage is reduced; the risk of transition of late blight pathogens from leaves to tubers is reduced.

It is also important that after harvesting there is a clean area free of plant residues. It is possible to accelerate the ripening of tubers somewhat by destroying the tops - by spraying the plants with a superphosphate solution. We add that the period between the destruction of the tops and harvesting should be sufficient for the peel of the tubers to get stronger, but not very long, since at this time the rhizoctonia is very widespread. You cannot harvest immediately after mowing the tops - tubers may crack.

The gardener must prepare for harvesting potatoes in advance. If he cares about the state of the future seed material from his own plantings, then before harvesting (on green tops) he needs to select, marking with branches, the most typical (in flowers and leaves) healthy bushes of the best varieties, i.e. to carry out preliminary selection by line. The harvest of future years will depend on which potatoes the gardener selects now for seeds.

When digging, the best nests with tubers of normal shape are selected from the marked bushes, leaving small tubers for planting. The harvest of these selected bushes will serve as planting material next year. When digging and during transportation, it is necessary to exclude blows and bruises of the tubers, as this leads to a blue discoloration of the surface layers under the peel.

After the harvesting of early potato varieties is completed, the vacated area can be occupied before the arrival of autumn frosts with early maturing crops - cilantro, radish, salad, dill, turnip... In the fall, many gardeners sow the free area with winter rye - a crop that is not demanding on growing conditions, moisture and acidity, frost-resistant (capable of withstanding severe frosts of -20 ° C or more, including snowless winters), which has time to form a high-quality root system before severe cold weather. In spring, rye is able to start growing at +3 ... + 5 ° С, very quickly developing a powerful green mass.

As an aggressive crop, winter rye, due to its powerful root system, displaces other plants (usually weeds), and also creates favorable conditions for the development of a complex of beneficial microorganisms, which reduces the harmfulness of bacterioses and mycoses of potatoes and vegetable crops. Winter rye is also used as green manure (green manure), which, even when plowed, retains its biological activity.

If sowing is carried out no later than the end of August - the first decade of September, then in the conditions of our region, winter rye plants have time to give (before severe frosts) a good root system and ground mass in the fall. At least 7-8 days before sowing, a plot for this grain crop is dug up, manure or compost... For 1 m2 of area, 18-20 g of seeds should be sown. In the spring, 10-15 days before planting the main crop, rye plants are buried.

In this case, the return of potatoes for winter rye is quite acceptable, since the soil has been enriched with organic matter, the concentration of harmful microflora - causative agents of diseases - has significantly decreased and the activity of weeds has been partially suppressed.

Most often, in horticulture and in personal plots, potatoes are harvested with a shovel, but many gardeners also use garden forks, especially on light or well-cultivated soil, only rubber tips are placed on the sharp ends of the latter in order to avoid mechanical injury to the tubers. Harvesting is carried out on a dry sunny day, or windy weather is chosen: then the surface of the tubers dries quickly, and the soil comes off it easily.

To speed up drying, it is better to spread the potatoes in one layer using tarpaulin or plastic wrap; 1-2 hours of sunny weather or 3-4 hours of cloudy is enough for the tubers to dry out and the stuck soil removed from them. If the harvesting of potatoes fell on rainy weather, which is still undesirable, the tubers are dried in a well-ventilated area until completely dry. During the harvesting of potatoes, they use a container disinfected with a 2-3% solution of copper sulfate.

Potatoes are kept for 2-3 weeks in a dry, dark room. Optimal conditions during this so-called "treatment period", when accelerated healing of mechanical wounds occurs and the preservation of tubers increases, is a temperature of 13-18 ° C (not lower than 10-12 ° C) and a relative humidity of 90-95%. After the treatment period, a latent infection of late blight is easily detected on the tubers (dull spots depressed outside; inside, rusty, coming from the surface) and soft rot.

Seed material must be free of injuries, weighing 60-80 g, conform to the shape of the variety; it needs to be greened for 6-8 days (diffused light) under cover. Landscaping in direct sunlight is unacceptable: burns to the surface of the tubers are possible.

Before laying for storage, the tubers are separated from the ground, roots and the remains of the tops, and mechanically injured, sorted (the smaller material is used primarily for food purposes, the larger one is left for a later period).

To store the potato crop, our gardeners use various insulated rooms (basements, cellars and closets). Long before planting plant products (the best option is 6-8 weeks) for the winter, they should be cleaned of debris and residues of plant products from the previous harvest, repaired and disinfected. Soil residues and debris are best burned on a special site or poured into a pit at least 1 m deep.

These preventive measures will reduce the stock of infection of pathogens that have accumulated over the previous winter. Disinfection, as a rule, should be carried out on warm days with a 2-3% solution of copper sulfate, a 40% aqueous solution of formalin (consumption rate 25-30 ml / m3) or a solution of freshly slaked lime (2.5 kg / 10 l) ; sometimes smoke screens are used wormwood or tansy.

After such processing, the storage facilities are carefully closed, kept for two days, and ventilated. Storage facilities located outside living quarters are disinfected by fumigating them with sulfur (for example, a sulfuric rock is used) at the rate of 30-60 g / m3 of the room. Before fumigation, all vents are closed and the cracks are covered with clay. After processing, the premises are tightly closed and kept for 24-36 hours, and then ventilated. 2-3 weeks before laying the potatoes for storage, the walls and ceiling of the store are whitened with milk of lime (2-3 kg of freshly slaked lime and 200-300 g of copper sulfate per 10 liters of water at a consumption of 0.5 liters of working solution per 1 m2). After whitewashing, the premises must be dried.

To kill rodents, the storage facilities are fumigated with sulfur (30-50g / m2), mousetraps are installed, poisoned bait preparations (rodencides) are laid out.

A. Lazarev, candidate of biological sciences,
Senior Researcher, All-Russian Research Institute of Plant Protection


Useful video

When to harvest potatoes? Signs of harvest readiness - video

How to store potatoes in winter?

Observing the terms and technology of harvesting potatoes, as well as the conditions for its storage, it will be possible to preserve the harvest as much as possible for many months. Do not forget to periodically set aside time to bulkhead the potatoes, one spoiled tuber can infect many potatoes in the neighborhood.


Errors when harvesting beets

The main mistakes are related to the time of collection and are divided into two types. The farmer has either overexposed the cherished vegetables or pulled them out of the soil too early. In the first case, negative consequences sometimes do not manifest themselves immediately. Seemingly beautiful roots move to the cellar, and only after a month or a couple of months do you notice that half of the fruits are already beginning to rot. The reason for this may be both improper storage conditions and too long content of beets in the soil, for which the vegetable managed to freeze thoroughly.

If the beets are removed prematurely, the results may not be so dire. You can end up with an unripe vegetable that can be eaten, but lacks the recognizable flavor of beets.


How to harvest correctly

When carrying out work, remember a simple rule: damaged root crops cannot be stored, they begin to rot and mold in a month or two. You need to dig carefully, it is better to use a pitchfork, it is much safer than a shovel. Remember simple rules:

  1. Choose a dry, fine day. Ideally, it shouldn't rain for about a week before starting work. Remove all weeds, if there are a lot of them in the garden, so that you can see the carrots and do not accidentally damage or trample them.
  2. Consider the softness of the soil. If the ground is loose, you can gently pull out one or more pieces. Do not shake off the soil by hitting the roots one by one. It is better to spread them out in the garden, let them dry for a couple of hours. Then gently remove the dried sand with gloved hands.
  3. Use a pitchfork in firm ground. If it does not come out of the tops, it is better to pre-dig in at a distance of at least 10 cm. Also, this method can be used if the roots are long and strongly hold in the ground.
  4. Do not unscrew the tops, as this may damage the upper part. It is best to cut with a sharp knife at a distance of 2-3 mm from the beginning of the sheet part. If you remove part of the root vegetable, it will begin to deteriorate over time. And if you leave the petioles longer than 1 cm, then in the spring they will begin to grow.

Do not throw or sprinkle carrots in order to damage the surface as little as possible. To do the work, fold carefully by hand and do not leave the crop for several days on the ground, so that it does not absorb moisture from the soil.


How to save potatoes for seeds?

A question from a reader of our mailing list:

I bought very, very tasty potatoes in the store. How to keep until spring for seeds?

It's not about the chemicals used to treat the potatoes during the growing season.
The Dutch technology assumes 6 treatments only for late blight, not counting treatments for viral diseases. The planting of potatoes, which will be used as seed, is no less seriously processed. That is, a little less chemistry will be used and then only due to earlier harvesting.

But after all, seed potatoes will certainly germinate at the right time, and will certainly yield a harvest.

The point is in other treatments. We store potatoes in our own storages, without subjecting them to additional processing to stop growth processes.

That is, our potatoes, if all the conditions for high-quality storage are met, will itself come out of a state of dormancy and will begin to grow itself, eyes will become noticeable.

Potato varieties are different. There are those who have a long rest period. If the dormant period is short, then the tubers begin to sprout at a time that is not at all convenient for the gardener.

With long dormancy, they will sprout just in time for planting.

But culinary qualities and shelf life depend on this. So foreigners make a "unique" treatment - they stop the growth processes in the tubers. Therefore, those tubers are stored well, because they lie in the store for a long, long time and do not germinate.

You can't get a harvest from those tubers bought in the store.


The first place among vegetable crops in our country is taken by potatoes. You will learn when potatoes are removed from the garden for the winter and how to do it correctly. The most important thing is to carry out the harvesting work on time. If you dig up potato tubers ahead of time, then they will not gain their maximum weight. It is worth noting that the annual growth of one hundred square meters should be from 10 to 20 kilograms. Naturally, such a crop will be difficult to maintain. If the tubers lie in the ground, then the disease can damage them, since the rains begin in the fall. So how do you determine when to harvest in your garden? Of course, it is necessary to carefully study the plants themselves, as they can give the first signals. First of all, the tops must first turn yellow and then lie down.

The second sign is the peel on the potato tubers. It should become dense. If you rub the peel with your finger and it does not peel off, then it's time to start harvesting the potatoes. If the weather is warm and dry, you can take your time digging up the potatoes. After all, the less watery and more starchy the tubers become, the better the potato crop will be stored.

If forecasters predict heavy rainfall, and in the morning there is a plentiful race, and the temperature at night drops to 10 ° C, then you can resort to several agrotechnical tricks. This will help avoid late blight of potatoes.

A week before harvesting and harvesting potatoes, mow and then remove the tops of the plants. This will speed up the process of full maturation of the tubers. As a result, the hardness of the potato will increase by one and a half times due to the denser rind.

Ten days before when the potatoes are harvested, carry out desiccation - this is drying the tops with chemicals. For these purposes, you can use a solution of copper sulfate. A liter of water will require 50 grams of the drug. After that, the tops will gradually turn yellow until they dry out. Everything will take several days, during which the stems will give all the accumulated nutrients to the tubers.

A few weeks before harvesting, senication can be carried out in the garden - this is the treatment of potato tops with a superphosphate solution. A bucket of water requires 2 kilograms of substance. This drug promotes the redistribution of proteins and starch between tubers and tops. It also reduces the concentration of nitrates in tubers and increases the yield by 15%.

so, when to harvest potatoes for the winter so that they are stored for a long time. Harvesting potatoes from the garden should be in dry and clear weather. In this case, the air temperature should not be lower than 8 ° С. You need to harvest carefully so as not to damage the tubers. Do not throw them into the container from a long distance. After the harvest is harvested, the tubers must be laid out on plastic wrap so that they dry out. This procedure takes about three hours. It is not recommended to lay out potato tubers for drying on the tops, as they can become infected with late blight. After that, the crop should be sorted out, sorted by the size of the tubers and selected for seeds. After that, the tubers should be placed in a dry room for several weeks before ripening. Only after that, the crop can be laid in a vegetable store or cellar.


How to preserve the harvest of potatoes

The temperature in the storage room (loggia, garage, basement, cellar, electric cellar) is maintained within +2. +4 ° С, at a relative humidity of 92-95% and ventilation. With an increase in temperature by 10 ° C and a decrease in humidity, the respiration rate of tubers increases - they begin to "age" faster and become unusable. And when the temperature drops, they freeze and become tasteless, sweet. It is important to protect the crop from light.

To store potatoes indoors, place them in baskets, wooden or plastic crates with side ventilation holes and place them on the lower shelves or racks at a height of about 40-50 cm from the floor. From above, potatoes can be covered with sphagnum moss, birch brooms, rowan leaves, wormwood, tansy or coniferous spruce branches. So the crop will be able to breathe without becoming covered with condensation, which means it will not rot for longer. Some gardeners specifically put a bucket of wood ash, lime or sawdust near the boxes with potatoes - they perfectly pick up excess moisture.

For several months (before the onset of severe frosts), potatoes can be stored on the balcony.

It is best to equip a plywood box insulated with foam (or in another way). Potatoes are placed in boxes, and each box is covered with burlap on top and placed one on one. On top and on the sides, the "rack" is wrapped with a cotton blanket, down-jackets, unnecessary in the household, sheepskin sheepskin coat and covered with a lid. In such free-flowing conditions, potatoes will survive frosts down to -10 ° C.

storing potatoes in the basement


Watch the video: 5 Tips for a Continuous Potato Harvest from Late Spring to Early Fall Zone 5