Join me in today's podcast where I am answering some questions I received about when is it time to harvest beetroot and potatoes. I also have the latest from the allotment and modern victory garden.
A transcript of this podcast is available below if you want to read instead of listen.
In this weeks diary section I have tackled the following tasks
- Built a wood store water-butt stand
- Working out how much compost I need
- Harvested my onions
and much more.
When is it the right time to harvest beetroot and onions?
This is the question I received in last nights live stream and I thought it'll be one to explore today. In this podcast, you will hear how I work out when my beetroot or potatoes are ready.
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Episode 332. Transcript.
Hello and welcome to episode 332 of the veg grower podcast. My names Richard and I am on a mission to grow as much food as I can in my allotment and garden.
Coming up a little later on I shall be answering a couple of question’s that came in through the Sunday night live show. Where I was asked when is the right time to harvest potatoes or beetroot but first what have I been up to over the weekend.
It's Saturday the 13 June 2020. Today I have tried to do some work in the garden at home, unfortunately, I have found it a struggle to find motivation. I think I need to get out for a bit and visit a garden or something. I believe gardens are slowly opening.
Anyway, with the lack of motivation, I built the wood store slash water-butt stand I started building the other day. It's now in position and I started filling the wood store up with the wood from the trees we have cut down over the last few weeks. Which in turn has tidied up my lawn area because I had all this wood piled up on the lawn.
All I’ve got to do now is place some water butts on top of this stand and fill with water. Which I’m going to wait for the rain to come along and fill the other butts up. Well, that’s what I’ve been up to today.
Its Sunday the 14th June 2020 and today I have been at home again. Firstly I popped out to get more compost in order to fill more pots up and plant more of my plants out mainly my squash plants. Something I am trying to work out is just how much compost I have bought this year and needed. Obviously my preferred way would be to make compost which I do anyway and like to use on my beds. I used to use this in pots a lot too unfortunately I don’t seem to be able to make enough compost for this too. The reason I'm analysing this is so that next year I can work out how much compost to bulk buy in advance to make my life easier and potentially cheaper. I reckon I need to buy about 1000 litres which giving that most compost bags are 50 litres would be about 20 bags which if I can buy in advance and store on my garage would potentially l work out well.
After this I ran over the lawn with the lawnmower now there were a few smaller brunches that got run over too which is something I do in order to make compost. Now I have said this is not the safest method and today I proved to myself why because a large brunch I must have missed did fly up and hit me on the nose. Fortunately, it's only a small cut but if it had my eye it could have been a lot worse. I think I may have to look at some sort of shredder in the future for this.
I have also harvested my first potatoes this is my homeguard potatoes that where planted at the end of February in the greenhouse. The plant themselves had died back so I knew it was time to harvest. So I emptied out the bucket and removed what potatoes were contained inside. Have to admit there were a few potatoes but all a little small. They are still edible of course and I expect will taste delicious.
Anyway that's what I have been up to today
Its Monday the 15th June 2020 first time I’ve been on the allotment today in nearly a week and boy can I tell the difference that rain we had last week certainly spurred along a few weeds. But basically what I came down to do today was harvest the onions I have in my main bed. Now its slightly early to harvest my onions but this bed well this area really is where I want to grow my sweet potatoes. So they've harvested they've gone into the greenhouse in where they will just harden up and dry out in order to store nicely. Then I hoed around the area to clear away any weeds. Now the soil here being clay was a little tough despite being mulched in grass clippings being clay the top part certainly was tough. This made hoeing the area a tough job to do which is why we probably don’t hoe so much at this time of year here.
Now I did want to get my sweet potatoes in at this point however I decided that because I wanted to film this using my hori hori knife I thought ill wait till tomorrow. I've basically got that area cleared.
So after that, I concentrated on clearing weeds from other areas the weeds have crept in in the strawberry bed and the leeks so I concentrated on clearing these areas.
So overall quite a productive day although it's getting hot now so I’m going to head home for some lunch before I head off I will give everywhere a good watering. I’m noticing the top of the soil is a little dry however an inch or so down it is still moist especially under mulches. Anyway that it for today and this will be the end of the diary section so I shall meet you back in the podding shed.
When is it time to harvest beetroot and potatoes?
Now I mentioned during the diary section this weekend that I have been lacking motivation. Not wanting to sound negative but I do believe we all have moments that this happens and it's important to acknowledge it when it happens. That being said I do need to go visit a garden for some inspiration. Well during the live show I host Sunday evening at 6 pm I received some questions that I thought I would answer today and these questions where both around when is it the right time to harvest beetroot and potatoes.
Ill tackle beetroot first because that quiet a simple one to answer. Like most vegetables its best to harvest when young and taste best because if the beetroot gets too big it can become woody and inedible. So I like to harvest my beetroot when the root is roughly between the size of a golf ball to tennis ball. I think that’s the best way to describe it. You might be saying how can I tell the size of this when beetroot grows under ground. Well what I like to do is to gently brush away the soil from around the foliage and expose the top of the beetroot and this gives me a rough idea of the full size. That being said beetroot does tend to push its top above the ground in a similar way to onions so in many cases its not necessary to brush away any soil. Its as easy at that.
Potatoes can be just as easy to tell when its time to harvest but it does depend on the type of potato of course. Some varieties can be quicker then others but usually they break down into 3 categories first earlies, second earlies and main crop.
First earlies are usually ready in June July but I like to see flowers on the plants before I start to harvest. Then Ill stick my hand into the ground and try to feel some potatoes to check for size. As first earlies are usually pretty small anyway we only want them about the size of a chicken egg. Again what I like to do is only remove the potatoes of that size and leave the rest to grow bigger because the actual potato plant is still intact and therefore will continue to grow.
Second early potatoes I like to harvest after the plants have flowered. Usually around July august time and in a similar way to the first earlies I will try and use the potatoes of the right size by feeling under the soil for potatoes of the right size and use those. Eventually these plants will die back anyway and that's when its time to harvest any potatoes left in the soil.
Main crop potatoes are probably the easiest to tell when its time to harvest. Usually from August to October the foliage will die back and turn yellow which is a sign that the potatoes are ready and not going to grow anymore. Once the foliage has died completely back I will leave the potatoes in the soil for a couple of weeks to let the potato skin harden a bit. This is so potatoes will store better. After this 2 weeks ill then dig up all the potatoes and put them into storage. Its as easy as that.
So what do you use to tell you when its time to harvest your potatoes or beetroot get in touch to let me know. You can email me Richard@theveggrowerpodcast.co.uk
Visit the website www.thevegggrowerpodcast.co.uk and leave a comment or find me on social media. Thank you so much for listening today please take care and ill speak to you again next time.