Harvesting potatoes

Martin Clear asked 13 years ago

I put down a good few potatoes this year for myself and the rest of the family, about 550 metres of drills. It is completely planted with Roosters and they are excellent to eat. They got the blight after 4 months despite intensive spraying with Dithane and I was advised by a gent in Teagasc to cut the stalks at about 5cm to prevent th blight entering the tuber, which I immediately did.I have been lifting them and eating them since about the start of August.Most of them are still in the ground in he original drills. I have sprayed and killed off any growth with Roundup so the drills are clean.How long more can I leave them in the ground as they are? Is this a problem at all in terms of storing them and lifting them as I need them with a view to having them all out by the beginning of January?

1 Answers

Gerry Daly Staff answered 4 years ago
The big danger of leaving potatoes in the ground in autumn and winter is from slugs. It they get into the tubers, the potatoes can be ruined.

So potatoes are traditonally lifted in autumn when the soil is still relatively dry, and stored in a pit outdoors, in a pile covered with straw to prevent frost damage and soil to keep the straw in place and to keep even moisture. Or in a shed, preferably with an earthen flower. In both cases, lay some rat bait, especially in a rural area.

‘Rooster’ is relatively resistant to slugs and if this is the first year of potatoes there might not be a lot fo slugs in the ground, but there is a risk. Also if left until spring, potatoes in the soil begin to sprout, making them more difficult to lift.