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It might seem a silly question to some, but as this is my very first time growing potatoes. I have no idea when they best time would be to "dig them out". The plants if they were standing up straight would be probably about 6ft tall at this point and I have a very thick layer of straw covering them.

They are German Butterball potatoes
They are still very green and fairly lush looking, more "leggy" at this point. So do I wait for them to die off? Do I wait for them to start dieing(sp?)? I just don't know.

If you need to know location better I'm in Missouri between Springfield and Lebanon.
 

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Are they an early variety or maincrop?
that may make a diffrence, dont know about where you are. Here in the uk earlies are ready between 8-12 weeks. Mains are later in the year.
 

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The last of the Ravens
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what MaKettle said. Wait until the tops die down for the biggest yields. though if the need be great, you can still pull'em when the plants are green, just expect smaller potatoes.
 

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Prepared Firebird
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It might seem a silly question to some, but as this is my very first time growing potatoes. I have no idea when they best time would be to "dig them out". The plants if they were standing up straight would be probably about 6ft tall at this point and I have a very thick layer of straw covering them.

They are German Butterball potatoes
They are still very green and fairly lush looking, more "leggy" at this point. So do I wait for them to die off? Do I wait for them to start dieing(sp?)? I just don't know.

If you need to know location better I'm in Missouri between Springfield and Lebanon.
*********************

Silly question??? No way. Potatoes are such a basic food item that I'm sure a lot of beginning gardeners would welcome this info. Better to learn gardening basics, now.......than wait until later and hope you can find someone who has extensive garden experience.
 

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audentes fortuna iuvat
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I plant red new potatoes every year and we wait for the tops to die. Dig em up and let em sit in the sun for a few hours to dry/harden the skins then bring em inside and store in a cool dark place.
 

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I have another question about potatoes. I have a memory of my Granddaddy having potatoes in the garden when I was little....during the summer at least, he had this big wire basket type thing that set in the corner of the garden under a tree....it was full of potatoes....seems like maybe he sprinkled some lime on them? I remember my grandma sending me out to the garden to get some of those potatoes while she was cooking. Anyone have any info on how to store potatoes outside like this? I've not ever tried to raise potatoes, but I'd like to try it....my problem: I tend to be a plant killer! Thanks to Rivenfae for starting this thread!
 

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I've never heard of STORING them outside as they would be sun poisoned in a short time. We do keep the current harvest outside through the season though. As soon as I start having potatoes acceptable for harvesting they go out on mesh to harden off for storage. Basically they accumulate on an old rack until I have basket full of potatoes with dry skins. These are also used through the growing season so could be what your Grandfather was getting.
 

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I've never heard of STORING them outside as they would be sun poisoned in a short time. We do keep the current harvest outside through the season though. As soon as I start having potatoes acceptable for harvesting they go out on mesh to harden off for storage. Basically they accumulate on an old rack until I have basket full of potatoes with dry skins. These are also used through the growing season so could be what your Grandfather was getting.
Thanks for the answer! That's probably what Granddaddy was doing. I remember going out to the garden to pick out some potatoes out of that basket...and that was during the summer or fall......
 

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I heard that once they flower or before they flower you should mow them down, so that it will make bigger potatoes. I would imagine that it would be before they flowered. I am not sure, my x husband said he had hear this from an old timer. Has anyone heard of this.....
 

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Without the greens the potatoes can't grow. You just hill them up during the season, thin them out AFTER they flower to harvest the small 'new' potatoes and make room for the big ones to grow bigger. And let them grow until the greens have all dried up and the ground is cool. I pull some out at random times to thin them through the harvest season and dry for a couple days before taking them in to store.
 

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What about when the greens seem to have just kind of 'flopped' over? The plants look healthy, but they are not supporting their own weight. Should I stake them up? This is my first year growing them as well, thanks for asking the question!

-DC Josh
www.metro-survival.blogspot.com
 

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What about when the greens seem to have just kind of 'flopped' over? The plants look healthy, but they are not supporting their own weight. Should I stake them up? This is my first year growing them as well, thanks for asking the question!

-DC Josh
Hill them up more. Keep piling dirt around your plants until there's less than 10 inches of plant above ground. Otherwise your plants spend all their energy keeping the greens alive and leave very little for growing potatoes.

If you've BEEN hilling them well and they're still leggy you should be fine leaving them lay as long as the plants aren't broken or bent so much that they can't continue to grow.
 
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