dtlove129
Senior Member
Posts: 293
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:04 pm
Location: Decatur, IL

Potatoes

Anyone with a lot of potatoe experience. My vines have died and I've dug some just to eat with dinners and stuff. My question, is it better to leave them in the ground or dig them now? Someone replied yesterday and said that varments eat theirs, but if I check and don't see anything eating on them would I be better to let them store in the ground longer or put them in my house?

I don't have like a nice cool basement or anything for storing that is why I ask.
John
2nd year gardner

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7453
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:20 pm
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

They will keep very well in the ground as long as pests are not getting to them. Here I have stupid little wire worms that bore into them, so I will be just as happy to pull them to stop the damage. I recommend keep an eye on it and dig some as you need them, and watch for problems starting. You can wait till October to dig them all if nothing is bothering them. You want to get them out before winter sets in.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

dtlove129
Senior Member
Posts: 293
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:04 pm
Location: Decatur, IL

James, should I disconnect my drip irrigation hoses in that area? I'm still using the drip system on the garden, but can take sections away and would it be wise to not water that potato area? Thanks!
John
2nd year gardner

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7453
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:20 pm
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Oh, I don't know. I just keep watering mine because the way I water I cant isolate a small section. Perhaps you could plant something alongside the potatoes for a fall crop?
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
TheWaterbug
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1068
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 5:15 pm
Location: Los Angeles

jal_ut wrote: You can wait till October to dig them all if nothing is bothering them. You want to get them out before winter sets in.
If I'm in an area that never, ever freezes, can I leave them in the ground longer? Is it the cold that bothers them, or the rain, or both?

We don't get too much rain, either.

Regarding the drip, I have an inline valve that I can use to shut off irrigation to my potatoes and sweet potatoes separately, so that's an option for me.
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

Brandywinegirl
Senior Member
Posts: 144
Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 1:21 am
Location: East Coast

Be careful leaving them in the ground too long. Mine started sprouting - I thought I was doing a good thing leaving them in.
Brandywine

Eat, Sleep, Garden and ... then Eat What You've Grown!

User avatar
TheWaterbug
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1068
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 5:15 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Brandywinegirl wrote:Be careful leaving them in the ground too long. Mine started sprouting - I thought I was doing a good thing leaving them in.
Hmm. What triggers sprouting in potatoes? Is it soil temp, moisture, or some combination of the two? I know it can't be daylight hours ;)

We are warm and dry here in Los Angeles.

By the way, one variety of the 4 I planted (Yellow Finn?) has started to die off:

Image

These were planted from seed potatoes on 5/6, so this is at 84 days. They're advertised as a "90 day" potato, but I know that depends a lot on conditions.

Does that look like normal die-off or abnormal die-off? I ask because they're _right_ next to where my [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=266256#266256]two Brandywines got sick and died[/url], and I know they're all related species.

I suppose I should stop worrying, because the Purple Peruvians right next to them look fine, but I always worry. ;)
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 28234
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Since commercial growers spray herbicide to kill off the vines before harvesting, I don't think I would worry about how your pottoes are dying unless its late blight which can travel down the stem and get into the tubers.

If your plants are dying pre-maturely, I suppose you might end up with smaller potatoes than you could have.

There's another potato thread in which I mentioned that I've had this year's undiscovered unharvested potatoes start to sprout after the weather and soil temps have gone down (too late to mature before frost/freeze).

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7453
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:20 pm
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

When left in the ground here, it is the cold that gets them. If the ground freezes, they do too and turn to mush.

What makes them sprout? I suspect it is a combination of time and temperature. In this area a root cellar will stay at about 50 degrees, and the potatoes will keep pretty well for several months before sprouting.

I don't think the moisture in the ground will bother them if left in.

Yes, potato vines grow, make tubers and flop over and die. In this country, they are usually still pretty green by first frost, when they die for sure. They can die from other causes prematurely too.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
TheWaterbug
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1068
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 5:15 pm
Location: Los Angeles

applestar wrote:Since commercial growers spray herbicide to kill off the vines before harvesting, I don't think I would worry about how your pottoes are dying unless its late blight which can travel down the stem and get into the tubers.
I know this is standard industry practice, and I'm sure there's a bunch of PhDs at the USDA who have bookshelves full of studies saying that this is safe, but it just sounds so _wrong_.

"Here. We just poisoned these plants to death. Eat some!"
If your plants are dying pre-maturely, I suppose you might end up with smaller potatoes than you could have.
Yeah, I suppose the easiest way to see what I've got is just to go dig a few.
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

User avatar
digitS'
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3588
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 1:10 pm
Location: ID/Wa! border

I don't know if there is a potato variety specific to Los Angeles but I bet there are varieties that fit better with a long growing season.

The potatoes I like to grow are early maturing, not because frost is gonna kill them the 1st of August. It is just that I like the early varieties and having them fresh. Still, I don't want to just toss them in the fall.

Last year, the potatoes had more garden space than I have given them in years & years. The result was digging right at 200 pounds of spuds. I carried them downstairs to the basement . . .

By late September, they were sprouting in the basement and conditions were cooler in the garage. I carried them all back upstairs, removed the sprouts and gave them a home in the garage. By November, it was obvious that the spuds would freeze if left much longer in the unheated garage. I carried them back down into the basement! All thru this time we are eating them as best we can - but, not with any desperation or anything.

My basement is too warm. Dahlia tubers do fine there, gladiola corms, not so well. I've again begun digging potatoes and storing them down there . . .

Steve

"I think," said Christopher Robin, "that we ought to eat all our Provisions now, so that we shan't have so much to carry."

"Eat all our what?" said Pooh.

"All that we've brought," said Piglet, getting to work.

"That's a good idea," said Pooh . . .
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks



Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”