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Potato ripening time

Ripe potatoes The optimal time for harvesting potatoes is considered to be the time when the tops have already completely withered and died. Indeed, when the foliage begins to turn brown and dry, the development of both the aboveground and underground parts of the plant slows down, and then stops altogether. The tubers that have grown up to this point form a firm peel and accumulate the proper amount of nutrients. The connection between potatoes and stolons is weakening. That is, the time comes when you can dig up potatoes without fear of serious damage to the tubers..

The relationship between the choice of variety and the timing of harvesting potatoes

Harvesting for storage Since, due to climatic features, the planting time in different areas may shift, the maturation time of potatoes is determined separately everywhere. And here, in order to obtain high yields in a particular region, even at the planting stage, the correct selection of the variety is of great importance..

According to the ripening rate and growing season, potatoes can be divided into several categories:

  • Early maturing varieties are ready for digging in 50-65 days.
  • Vegetation of medium early potatoes lasts from 65 to 80 days.
  • Mid-season varieties give a high-quality harvest in 80–95 days.
  • Medium late potatoes remain in the soil for 95 to 110 days before ripening.
  • In late-ripening varieties, the longest time passes before harvesting potatoes – at least 110 days.

Therefore, in each case, the selection of a variety for planting is carried out individually. Moreover, among the decisive criteria, not only the ripening period of potatoes and its growing season are important, but also the purpose of the variety, its taste, the ability to withstand winter storage..

Factors affecting the timing of potato ripening

Picking young potatoes in the bedsEven when planting tubers of the same variety, gardeners cannot be sure that the collection of potatoes will be carried out at the same time..

  • The introduction of excessive amounts of organic matter delays the growing season of the bushes, and when young potatoes are dug in the tubers, an increased content of nitrates may be found.
  • The poorer the soil, the faster the time comes when you can dig potatoes. On fertile soil, the vegetation of plants, which means that the growth and development of tubers can continue until late autumn..
  • On dried up soil, chronically lacking moisture, the ripening period for potatoes is also reduced. Already in the middle of summer, on plantations where the plants did not have enough watering, you can see drooping yellow stems or even wilted bushes.

In the first case, there is a risk of getting an unripe crop by autumn that is not able to withstand winter storage. And with the second and third options for the development of events, the tubers will be extremely small, or they will all turn out to be small.

The goal of any gardener is a high yield that is perfectly stored throughout the winter. For this, it is important that the tubers ripen, gain weight, form a dense peel and accumulate useful substances..

Preparing potatoes for storageHow do you know when to dig potatoes? Focusing on the drying and dying off of the tops, it is important to remember:

  • keeping the tubers in the soil for more than three weeks after the greens have dried up does not make sense;
  • later harvesting of potatoes will lead to the fact that the tubers will become worse stored;
  • if the stems and leaves, despite the approaching cold, are green, measures must be taken to accelerate the ripening of the tubers.

If early frosts did damage the plants, then it is better to collect potatoes without delay. Otherwise, nutrients from the tubers will be used to restore the tops..

Mowing the tops and other ways to bring potatoes closer to maturity

Harvest potatoes under strawOne of the simplest ways to avoid the situation when you have to dig new potatoes in the fall is to mow the green tops. This is often the case with late planting or wet summers. As a result, tubers that have not formed a peel are easily injured and poorly stored. If it is impossible to wait with the harvesting of potatoes, then at least 7-10 days before digging the tops are carefully mowed. For the plant, this becomes a sign of the end of the growing season, and the tubers ripen. The same procedure is done if you have to use a potato digger or walk-behind tractor during harvesting..

To obtain marketable potatoes in the early stages, chemicals are also used today..

  • When desiccation is carried out, two weeks before harvesting potatoes, the ridges are sprayed with diluted copper sulfate at the rate of 5 grams per liter of water. The chemical literally draws moisture from the greenery, as a result, the leaves become stained, and then curl and dry out..
  • At the end of a long, cool summer, accompanied by frequent precipitation, the tops are treated with magnesium chlorate. The tool is made at the rate of 20 grams of chemical per liter of water. If the weather remains dry, then after 5 days the green part of the plants dries up.
  • Spraying potato bushes with superphosphate at the rate of 2 kg of the product per 10 liters of water helps to accelerate the aging of the tops. Irrigation is carried out in the daytime or in the evening after the flowering period, while 5 to 10 liters of chemical are consumed per hundred square meters.

Picking young potatoesThese techniques will help to get high-quality tubers in the summer, when digging young potatoes is especially risky due to the high probability of mechanical damage..

Most of all, the acceleration of ripening is justified in peatlands and low-lying areas, where it is difficult to get a friendly ripe crop in a rainy summer..

Weather conditions when digging potatoes

The best time to dig up tubers is in dry, warm weather, when you can dig the potatoes and sort them right away. The crop dries quickly, is cleaned of soil residues and does not freeze.

Manual harvesting on loose soilsIf the rainy season is approaching, it is better not to delay cleaning. Since excess moisture at the end of the growing season can provoke potato diseases, the appearance of rot on damaged areas and negatively affect the shelf life.

The optimal temperature conditions for harvesting potatoes are in the range from 10 to 17 degrees. Since both a one-time cold snap and persistent frosts can not only damage the tops, but also harm the tubers. For this reason, you should not dig potatoes in the early autumn morning, when the air becomes noticeably cooler than the ground..

Harvesting by hand and with a potato digger

Digging potatoes with a walk-behind tractorDepending on the area of ​​the site and personal preferences, gardeners choose a shovel, a pitchfork, a plow, a walk-behind tractor or specialized potato diggers as a tool for harvesting potatoes. With a pitchfork, you can pry off all the tubers formed on the bush. Damage from this tool is minimal and easier to work with. But if the tuber is nevertheless damaged, unlike a potato cut with a shovel, it cannot be stored and must immediately go for processing. In addition, when using a pitchfork, small potatoes are often not picked out of the ground..

When young potatoes are dug on loose soil, it is often enough to pull on the stems of the potato bush so that most of the tubers appear on the surface, while the rest are removed with a pitchfork and a shovel. On dense, heavy soils, the bush is undermined by introducing the blade from the side to save the tubers.

These rules work in small areas, but if the plantation is large, you cannot do without specialized equipment. A hand-made potato digger or factory device can greatly facilitate the process, reducing not only labor costs, but also the time for harvesting tubers..

Mechanical harvestingWorking with a potato digger requires adherence to some principles..

  • Mechanization is effective if the rows of bushes are even.
  • The distance allows you not to damage neighboring plants when guiding the digger.
  • During work, it is important to ensure that the potato digger runs easily, and that potatoes remain on the ground after the passage. If the depth is not chosen correctly, the work will either be made more difficult by excessive dumping of soil, or some part of the crop will be lost..

Whatever the potatoes are harvested, manually or with the help of mechanical devices, after harvesting the tubers, they must be sorted, removing diseased and damaged potatoes. And if necessary, right there by varieties, planting material is selected for the next season.

How to dig potatoes with a mini motoblock cultivator – video

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