Monday, June 6, 2011
Saturday I harvested potatoes. Twenty- four total. I told everyone I knew, tweeted it and posted the news on Facebook. My pride knewith no bounds, you would have thought I built them myself from bits of my own person. After the initial flush of joy wore off - and it took hours, I came to believe that I jumped the gun a bit and should have perhaps left them in the ground a little longer. I harvested about seven days too soon or so? I don't know. The greenery had some dead zones and it had fallen over - a sign of readiness, but they weren't dead enough.
I need to find out what they mean by "90 days" to readiness. Does this mean 90 days from when I put them in the ground or 90 days from when they first sprouted or 90 days from when the plants were over six inches tall. I should have called the county extension service.
In my reading I learned that you can harvest as soon as the flowers appear but those a early, baby fruits and they have zero shelf life. I jumped the gun. The skin is very delicate and tears easily. This is not the worlds best sign for potato maturity and readiness. While they aren't preemies, they were a little under weight at birth. So, lesson learned. The second barrel is going to stay where it is until the earliest June 19, which would be day 109 or June 26, which would be day 116.
The greenery dies completely. Dead, brown, finished. Not a little wilted or peaky, dead. This batch will stay in the ground until a little too late. I think the next time I grow them that I will put fewer in each container as I think they got crowded and it impacted my harvest. I think they wanted more room. This is easy to correct, next time I'll use more containers, two were no problem, I can't see that adding a couple more or even a few more would be too much work. As far as the mechanics went, I was very happy to see that only one of my initial seed potatoes rotted, which I think is a win, and one grew great stalks but produces no harvest. The dirt was very soft and loose through out until the bottom of the barrel where it was like concrete. I found no bugs or grubs either.
I'm still happy with what I got. I had three for dinner tonight and they were delicious!The rest of them I am going to turn into garlic mashed potaotos and then freeze. I am hopeing that I will be able to store the other batch for as I go along - roughly they can be stored for three to six months under ideal cicumstances.