If you want to build up a supply of potatoes, you shouldn’t get the tubers out of the ground too early. We explain what gardeners need to know about the right time to harvest. And explain how best to store the potatoes afterwards.

If you want to store potatoes instead of eating them directly, you should pay attention to the right time to harvest them. Of course, the relevant potato variety must be suitable for storage in the first place: Early potatoes, for example, which are sometimes harvested as early as June, are often not good potatoes for storage.

As a general rule, if the above-ground potato haulm is still green, the potatoes are usually still growing and continue to store starch. At most, you should harvest such specimens if they are to go directly onto your plate.

Harvest potatoes only when the foliage has withered away

On the other hand, potatoes that you want to store for a longer period of time are best harvested from the ground when the healthy foliage has died back about two to three weeks, not before. Harvesting too early, in fact, can result in the potato’s skin not hardening well – making it more susceptible to rot pathogens. Caution: even if you remove the potato haulm early, the ripening process will end – reducing shelf life.

Tips for successful potato harvesting

The best way to harvest potatoes in dry weather is with a digging fork or a special potato hoe. This allows you to carefully lift the tubers out of the ground. A spade is less suitable as it risks damaging the potatoes when digging.


  • Before storing, check to make sure the potatoes are intact: Damaged specimens are best to go directly into the cooking pot.
  • Under no circumstances should you wash potatoes before storing them.
  • If the potatoes are still somewhat damp, then first allow them to dry out in an airy place.

What is the best way to store potatoes?

Afterwards, it is best to place the potatoes in a wooden crate and store it in a cool, dry, dark place – for example, in the cellar or a well-ventilated, unheated storage room.

Temperatures between 39 and 42 degrees are ideal. If it’s too cold, potatoes often taste sweet – as their starch converts to sugar. Warmer temperatures, on the other hand, allow the potatoes to germinate. This is also true if you don’t store them in the dark. It is therefore best to cover the crate with an old newspaper or a carpet.