The rule of thumb for harvesting potatoes is dig them up a week or so after the plant dies off. This either means that you’re digging up nothing because some sort of disease or bug ate everything, or it means that you’re on a little treasure hunt. In my case, i was on a fingerling hunt, and it turned out to be pretty decent, all things considered.
I was half expecting to not find many potatoes, figuring the plants died early because of that crazy heat wave we had. That, plus the fact that my soil is very young and doesn’t hold moisture for very long. But, when i dug through the soil (mostly leaf mulch at this point), i was pleasantly suprised!
I planted about 2 pounds of La Ratte seed potatoes on April 1, which was supposed to yield about 20 pounds. I ended up with about 9 pounds, which I’m happy with since this potato patch was never very happy.
I won’t wash them until just before cooking. I’ll also lay this recent harvest out on some cooking sheets to air dry for a few days, allowing the skin to toughen up a bit for better storage: though these aren’t going to last very long!
I have 1 more 4′ x 8′ bed of German Butterball potatoes, which are a later and larger variety. Those plants in general look much healthier and fuller, though they did take a beating with the recent heat. I snuck a peak at these, digging just under the surface, and they’re coming along nicely. Some of the tops are dying off, so they’ll probably be ready in another month or so.