Properly harvesting, storing, and curing potatoes can make all the difference between a potato harvest lasting only a few months and lasting all winter long. It is worth extra effort and steps to preserve this staple crop.
We tried many methods of harvesting potatoes. A pitch fork, a shovel, a hand shovel, and bare hands. Since my kids like to do the harvesting, the preference is bare hands.
Even though the pitch fork and shovel are faster, they almost always result in many damaged potatoes. If you have a small plot of potatoes, digging by hand will yield a perfect harvest with little to no losses. Potatoes are too precious in a small garden to lose them to getting speared accidentally from the pitch fork.
In a larger potato plot you may feel a tool is worth the risk of accidental damage. There are a few specific potato harvesting tools that I haven’t tried but the reviews are positive.
A little sun during the potato harvest usually doesn’t hurt anything but just to be safe, as we harvest the potatoes we place them in a basket under a shady bush.
The cure allows the thin skins to toughen up and it prepares them for storage. Cure potatoes in 55-70ºF at 85-95% humidity. Keep them away from light. A week or two all that is needed for curing.
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