Surely by now someone has invented an efficient tool to dig up potatoes without damaging them? I feel so disappointed when I accidentally slice or prong a spud when I’m digging them up. Do you have any ideas re: a non-damaging way to dig up spuds? This question refers to small scale potato production in the vegetable garden….not mass production.
You need to learn to judge the gaps between potato plants … there is usually a little dip into which the fork can be placed. If you are unsure of the spot, gently, using the tips of the fork prongs, nudge aside the top few centimetres, comb-like, feeling for tubers.
You will learn the level of resistance of big tubers to the light push with the prongs, and if you do mark a potato, the damage is superficial and easy cut away when preparing.
If you have spaced the plants close together, it is more difficult to avoid damage, and you might space a bit more for this reason.
The old-time gardeners would have always talked of ‘lifting’ potatoes, never ‘digging’ them, the difference is subtle but significant.