Do you know what size potatoes are when the plant begins to flower? Many people believe that when a potato plant begins to flower the potatoes are ready to dig up. I have dug a test hole in some potatoes I have which have just started to flower to show you their size.
What size are potatoes when the plant begins to flower?
Potatoes will be a range of sizes when the plant begins to flower but usually, the average size will be around one inch or 20-30mm in diameter.
The potatoes will range in size from pea sized nodes just forming to the largest potato about 2 inches or 50mm in diameter.
Although there are potatoes, the potatoes are not ready to dig yet. They should be given another 3 to 4 weeks before they are ready.
On average it takes around 100 days to grow a crop of potatoes. These British Queen potatoes were planted at the start of March. It is now the first week of June so that’s 90 days of growth. So it will take another 2 to 3 weeks for these potatoes to be fully ready to eat.
It is not usually a good idea to dig potatoes before they are mature. A potato dug before it is ready can be watery and bland. Especially when compared to a potato that has had its full time to ripen.
In this short video, I made. You can see the size of the potatoes as I scrape back the soil from the side of the drill.
Can you harvest potatoes before they flower?
You can harvest potatoes before they flower (if they exist) but it is not a good idea. The potatoes may not have formed and any that will have formed will be very small. Think beans and marbles size.
Flowering marks the point at which the potatoes start to form and bulk out. Harvesting before this time is a waste of a good potato plant.
I have another article that provides dates when potatoes are ready to harvest. Different varieties are ready at different times of the year. Have a read to see when yours will be ready.