Potato harvest underway


Potato greens are toxic, maybe the varmints that eat them will curl up and die


Yes, so are tomato leaves, but that hasn’t stopped them from grazing on them too. Maybe deer have a tolerance for nightshade leaves. I have noticed that they leave pepper plants alone, oddly enough.

Tobacco is another nightshade, and there are no critters that will mess with them, according to my wife, who’s grown it in the past. Just the usual insect and disease pressures.


My potato plants are about 80 days old. They were growing so well, nice and big green leaves. Then they got bugs and slugs. They started to turn brown. I sprayed spinosad on them but I think the stuff was to old so I dusted them with bug be gone about three weeks ago. They are trying to make a comeback but some are just getting ready to die. I hope they made some potatoes. This is my first attempt at growing them. The blue barrel mostly died a few weeks ago. I pulled the plants out. I should probably just dump that barrel. They were Northland. German butterballs in the white right behind, Pontiac’s to the right, and lasoda to the left. There’s more too not in the picture. I have some growing from Michigan russets that were growing chits in my grocery bought bag, and I have some purple ones too. I planted eleven containers. Five are 55 gal drums cut in half. The german butterballs are flowering but the others stop flowering after getting bug eaten.


They’re supposed to die back. 80 days is right for early potatoes. Pull the plants and dig the tubers.


I thought they said 90 days? I will dig them up from that barrel. I want to wait on the ones that have green yet.


When they die back, they’re done, the days are approximate


Those died back in the 60 ish days. I’ll dig them up then plant some green beans in there.


You and Subdood should have no problems planting in July. I plant a 2nd crop of potatoes sometimes in July (and am planning to do some this afternoon), so in the South you should have plenty of time.

I’ve been detailing my potato harvest here:



Okay this what I got from the blue barrel. I’m happy seeing they didn’t grow that long and the others are still growing except one. I will have to dump that one next but it’s raining right now.


If they’re still some green, you can keep them and wait, unless you want them for dinner


The other barrel that is dead I didn’t even know it was dead. The other barrels plants got so big they laid down on that barrel and looked like they were growing from it. Next year I’ll space the barrels out more. Some of the plants are four foot tall.


Here is what I got from the other barrel. I think my barrels with the green plants left will have bigger potatoes.


How many/what weight of potatoes did you plant in each barrel?


I planted one potato in each barrel, but I cut them up into five or six chits. I got 2 pounds 11 oz from the first, and 2 pounds 13 oz from the second.


German Butterball is the best! Why don’t they sell them in the grocery stores?


@BobVance, we had to replant our spuds in June, because the ones we planted in May were basically drowned in some very heavy rain, and subsequently rotted.

Most of the replants came up in July, but quite a few did not, because of more rain, and/or just bad seed potatoes. Then the deer got after them, and then the weeds, so we gave up on them.

Our sweet potato slips started out well, sending out lots of nice vines, but the £®#%ing deer ate those to the ground too, so no sweet taters for us this year, either.

But, overall we had a great garden year otherwise, our best in terms of sweet corn, cukes and peppers, and a very good harvest of green beans.

We still are picking peppers, and canned a lot last week in a sweet brine. I also dehydrated our hotter varieties and made pepper flakes out of them. But, our luck will run out later this week as a freeze will finish off our peppers.


I didn’t know that anything ate potatoes. Most often, I have beans nibbled on by rabbits. I’ve also had sweet potatoes vines “pruned” back severely. But I think this is the first time deer have gotten in my yard. I found 3 the other day (also eating my beans), so I grabbed a board and ran at them yelling and they took off. The fence isn’t enough to keep out a determined deer, but it is opaque, so they go around. I saw the way they retreated, so I went over there and tied a bunch of strings and wires from the last fence post to nearby trees at various heights. I don’t think it is completely blocked off yet, but I’ll keep working on it. From what my father (who has more of a deer problem) told me, if they hit something, they don’t like to force their way through, so the string doesn’t need to be thick wire- something like fishing line could be enough. .

I use straw to keep the weeds down around the potatoes. I also sometimes get a few potatoes forming between the straw and the dirt, which are easy to “dig”.

I think the beans were getting eaten because they were recently planted (mid August) and still young, just starting to bear. Here’s a pic of the potatoes I planted just after my July 22nd post, which just passed the 90 day mark. Most are still going strong, though it looks like a couple plants could be ready for digging soon.

I’d love to grow corn, but the few times I’ve done it I never got great results. From what I understand, you need full sun for it, while I’ve devoted my full sun spots to fruit. It also takes quite a bit of land to produce a meaningful amount. So, I’ve resigned myself to getting it at the farmer’s market.

I could have a ways to go. The long range weather forecast has 41F as the lowest temp for the next 14 days (through Nov 5). If we make it that far, it will be the latest frost I can remember. The vast majority are within 0-5 days before Halloween. We almost had an early one last week, getting down to 35.6 by 1:30am (maybe 34F low?).


I should say that the deer ate the green part of the taters, not the spuds themselves. I put the fishing line fence around the tater patch, but they just jumped it, I guess. But, I think the poor results were prob because of the poor quality of the seed taters. I was actually surprised to find any left in June.

I also did the fishing line fence for the corn/bean patch, the cuke patch and the tomato/pepper patch. They didn’t really mess with the corn, but some of the beans looked like they were grazed a bit, but not enough to matter.

They hit the tomatoes hard in July, we had 43 plants going at the time, and most of them had set a lot of fruit. But within a few days, I’d say we lost 2/3 of the mater’s. Oddly they left the peppers alone. My guess is they jumped or manuvered their way into the pepper patch and proceeded to the tomatoes. I remedied that by separating them by stringing up a 4ft black weed barrier cloth between the two patches. We managed to get a few mater’s afterwards. But we only got to can about 14 pints of salsa, a mere pittance off of all those plants.

Yeah, our corn patch was about 20x60 ft in size, and got about 8-10 hours of direct sun in the summer. Plus, it’s in very good soil. A lot of the stalks got to about 8ft, and some had multiple ears, although the second ones werent really that big, or harvestable. We planted Honey Select and Silver Queen sweet corn, and a couple varieties of popcorn. The HS is awesome corn, so we’ll prob only grow that next year. Nice corn flavor, and very sweet, almost good enough to eat straight off the stalk.

We definitely have the land for growing things, but it’s been tempting to fill it up with all kinds of fruit trees and plants! I’ve been resisting getting any more trees, but I’m intrigued by pluots, and think they’d do OK here. So, I might try some of those, maybe two or three. Do you have any of those, and if so, bow have they done?

I also want to add some new rasp and blackberry plants next year. The only fruit we will prob get is some strawberries, and possibly a couple varieties of apples, and perhaps some from our huge Pineapple pear tree.

I checked the forecast for this weekend, they’re now saying maybe 32-34 for lows, so we might be OK. But, I will prob pick what’s left before then. I’m glad growing season is about over, that means no more lawn and garden work!


@BobVance there are critters that eat the spud part of potatoes, pocket gophers. We’ve had years when virtually every potato has a bit taken out of it (guess they kept trying to find one that tasted good, sort of like crows and unripe apples).

My solution is to put out lots of gopher bait. It helps but doesn’t come close to eliminating the problem.


Surprised - solanaceae greens are toxic