Harvesting Potatoes – Double Digging

I’m happy with my potato harvest this year. I’ll end up with over forty pounds each of Red Norlands, Kennebec, and Russets which will last us well into next year.

Growing your own potatoes is difficult to justify economically. Factory farm potatoes are practically given away here in Wisconsin, and even at a price of $2.00 per pound for locally grown organic potatoes my crop at most would be worth about $250. Mine are worth a lot less actually, since my potatoes starts were not organic, but conventional seed potatoes purchased from the local greenhouse.

However, I’m not selling my crop, so the economics don’t count. I’ll continue to grow my own, and I’ll start paying a premium for organic seed next year. I see potatoes as a very good crop for home growers for several reasons: Almost anything you grow yourself is usually better than almost anything you buy at the store, especially the food in the mainstream food stores. I also think the process of rotating potatoes through the beds accomplishes everything that a stand-alone double digging of my dense clay beds would do and I’m getting the bonus of harvesting potatoes while I’m doing the grunt work of moving all the soil in the beds.

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This picture shows the weedy bed being harvested. I use a garden fork and my CobraHead to do all the digging with a little help from a flat spade to move soil from the bed edges.

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This picture shows the bed clean of weeds, and shaped back up. Here I use a steel rake and my CobraHead Long Handle to do the work. But I first have to use a wheelbarrow and spade to move the excess soil from one end of the bed back to the other end. A couple buckets of compost have been added and the bed is ready for a fall planting, or else it can be covered with leaves and I’ll have a bed ready to go in the spring.

One Response to “Harvesting Potatoes – Double Digging”

  1. Alisa Keimel says:

    Appreciate these type of how-to blog posts. They certainly help new gardeners!