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Harvesting roots

By Penny Stine

Some of my potato plants had died down and had turned brown, so I decided to dig potatoes over the weekend. If the plant had any green or new growth on it, I left it in the ground, hoping that it would keep on forming more potatoes. Or that the ones underground would get bigger.



Plus, I figured what’s the point of digging all the potatoes at one time if I don’t have to? It’s not like we’re going to eat 15 pounds of potatoes in a week.
I tried a different purple potato than the one I had last year, because last year, they were all pretty small. I can’t remember the name of the one I planted this year, but as you can see, they’re pretty good-sized potatoes. I also planted a few red potatoes and some Yukon Golds. Last year, I planted this yellow fingerling potato, and I must have missed a few when I dug potatoes, since some of the potatoes I dug this year were yellow fingerling potatoes.
Because I had planted red onions near one potato spot, I ended up pulling those, too. Even though they weren’t as big as I was hoping, the stems were turning brown, which is a sign that the onions were ready to come up, too.
And then, just because I was pulling root crops, I decided to go ahead and pull a few more carrots, too.
The onions are supposed to store well, so I decided to let them cure in hopes that they will last until November. Not that I couldn’t use them before then, but I have boatloads of Egyptian walking onions, which do not store well at all, that I’ve been using all summer.
The directions for curing onions and garlic say to leave them in a warm (75-degree) dry place for a few weeks to a month. I just leave them on a tray on my picnic table on the back deck. They don’t get any direct sunlight, and although they do get rained on occasionally, we don’t get that much rain, so it doesn’t interfere with the curing process.
The garlic that I cured that way last year (and stored in a canvas bag in the fridge) was still good (and I still had some) in late June, when I started pulling this year’s garlic.