When To Dig Up Potatoes From The Ground? | Real Men Sow

Last Updated on March 2, 2022 by Real Men Sow

For me, potatoes are one of the most fun crops to harvest. Digging them up reminds me of a treasure hunt – when you start rooting around the soil, you never know how many potatoes you’ll find and what size they’ll be. Plus, potatoes can be grown in containers too which makes them very easy to maintain.

When To Dig Up Potatoes

As a rule of thumb, potatoes can be dug up once flowering has finished. However, if you want decent size spuds, consider leaving them in the ground until the foliage has turned brown and the stems withered. Once the foliage dies off the potatoes won’t grow any bigger, so this is a good time to harvest.

Best Months To Dig Up Potatoes

Late Autumn is generally the time that most people begin lifting their maincrop potatoes. Depending on the weather, maincrops are generally ready between 18 to 22 weeks after planting and are the best type of potato crops for winter storage.

How To Dig Up Potatoes?

When digging up potatoes, always use a garden fork. This reduces the number of potatoes you damage and stops you slicing straight through a handsome prizewinner. I used to do these loads, but now I gently loosen the soil with a fork, before scraping away with a garden trowel.

How To Grow Potatoes, Signs to Look After

Some Potato Varieties Don’t Flower

Don’t forget to read the growing instructions that came with your spuds. Some varieties don’t flower which means a certain amount of guesswork is involved if you want to dig up potatoes before the plants have finished.

I like to check on potato progress by digging up a single plant to see what’s hiding under the soil. This will give you an idea of whether your potatoes are ready. I have also included a clear guide on how to grow potatoes from seeds to harvest for more information.

Best Way to Store Potatoes

If you can find a nice, sunny day to harvest then all the better, as potatoes benefit from a few hours of drying out before storage. Lay them on the ground in a nice warm position, and then roughly clean the mud and soil off the skin. Store in paper or hessian sacks in a frost-free and dark place if possible. Under the worktop in my shed normally does the trick for me.

Over the winter, the potatoes may begin to shoot, but these can just be pulled off before cooking.

Can You Leave Potatoes in the Ground?

During lazy or busy years, I have left my potatoes in the soil into November. As long as the soil doesn’t become soggy or suffer a frost, then from my experience, the spuds are quite content. Don’t leave it too late before digging up though, the ground can get soggy very quickly once Winter sets in.

Real Men Sow
Real Men Sow

Hello, I’m Pete and I’m currently based in the west of Scotland, in a small place called Rosneath, where I’m exploring my garden adventures. I personally started gardening around 6 years ago and initially, I started out by growing my favorite fruits and berries, such as strawberries, Raspberries & Gooseberries. Since then I’ve added a lot of vegetables and working closely with my neighbor, it’s been a lot of fun.

3 thoughts on “When To Dig Up Potatoes From The Ground? | Real Men Sow”

  1. I find that the longer I leave my potatoes in the ground, the more slug holes they get. so I try not to leave them in the ground for too long after they are ready to harvest.

    Well done for your mention in ‘Grow It’ magazine.

  2. A treasure hunt exactly! I used to tell the kids we were digging for gold, but imagine their dismay when there was none, just potatoes. 🙁 .

Comments are closed.