How do you harvest potatoes?


Quick Answer

To harvest potatoes, dig up a test plant, test the skin for maturity, and remove the vines and mulch. Next, lift each plant with a potato fork, pull off the potatoes, replace the plants and gather the potatoes. This process requires a rake, a sickle, a potato fork and baskets.

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How do you harvest potatoes?
Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture CC-BY 2.0

Full Answer

  1. Dig up a test plant

    Insert a potato fork on one side of a test plant, and lift it out of the ground. Remove a potato, and put the plant back in the ground.

  2. Test the sample for maturity

    Grip the sample potato in one hand, and rub your thumb over the skin. If the skin feels firm and does not slough off, the potatoes are ready to harvest. If the skin comes off under your thumb, wait one week, and then test another potato.

  3. Remove the vines and mulch

    Sever the vines with a sickle, and remove them from the potato bed. Clear the mulch with a rake.

  4. Lift the plants

    Insert a potato fork along the side of a potato plant, and lift the plant partially out of the soil. Remove the potatoes, set them on the ground, and replace the plant.

  5. Gather the potatoes

    After harvesting all of the plants, collect the potatoes in baskets.

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