News from the Good Food Project

Digging Potatoes

May 9, 2017



After a couple of months of preparing, planting, watering, and tending to the potato plants at the north Louisiana Community Garden, Volunteers found themselves getting excited in the anticipation of a well deserved, tasty reward. The workload between the many volunteers has definitely been tolerable.  All the volunteers did was little more than stick the seed potatoes in the ground, cover with dirt, cover some more, water and wait.  The come time to dig and eat has arrived!!!  The annual potato dig and fish fry has begun.


Depending on the variety planted, you are generally looking at anywhere from 2-4 months from planting to harvest.  If you wish, you can harvest baby potatoes as soon as 2-3 weeks after flowering has finished, perfect as a delectable side dish for a delicious dinner.  These tiny new potatoes are sweet and tender as the sugar has not yet been converted into starch.  Gently sneak you hands into the dirt to search for the larger ones, leaving the small one to grow for a while longer. Or leave the whole crop to finish growing before you harvest.


The potatoes are done growing when you see the  plants starting to "die back".  If you are planning to use them right away, they can be dug at any time when this process starts, or even before if size is not important.  If you wish to store them, they should stay in the ground a while longer.


But first, what does "dying back" mean?  Well, when the tubers are done growing, the potato plants will start to yellow, then become more and more brown and withered until they completely die back. It is actually a much anticipate sign to look forward to know that the potatoes have finished growing.


It is a joy to stick the pitch fork in the dirt to discover what might be hiding underneath!  What will happen when the soil is turned over?  There could be nothing but balls of packed soil and little rocks.  But most of the time, out roll firm spuds of different sizes and colors; sometimes

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