If the weather conditions are good, the early potato harvest can usually start at the beginning of June 2021. But it also depends on the variety and previous care. Check out this guide for more tips.

Early potato harvest 2021 at a glance

Pre-germination/pre-germination: from February/March at the latest
Plant out: at temperatures above 8 °C in March, cover with fleece or straw Plant out
without pre-germination: from April, at low temperatures with cover of fleece or straw
Earliest time to harvest: from the beginning of June
What to pay particular attention to: sufficient water supply during drought

Optimum harvest time

Potatoes are usually harvested when the herb has withered and died – only then can the tubers be stored for a long time due to their maturity. This is different with new potatoes, they should be as young and tender as possible on the table. At this point they taste particularly aromatic and are therefore well suited as jacket potatoes. But when is the right time to harvest the early potato varieties?

Pay attention to these tips, then you will find the right date for the early potato harvest:

  • very early varieties can be harvested from the beginning to mid-June
  • early varieties can be harvested until early/mid-August
  • first harvest after flowering
  • then the tubers will be larger and tastier
  • however, the herb is still green
  • Rule of thumb: start harvesting 60 days after planting

In principle, you can of course start the early potato harvest later, then the tubers will be larger and the skins more mature. Due to their tender skin, young potatoes can only be stored for a few days to a maximum of two weeks and should therefore be processed and eaten immediately.

Tip: New potatoes are ripe when the thin skin no longer comes off when rubbing lightly with your finger. You can also determine the right harvest time by carefully digging up a potato after 60 days and testing the skin.

Are unripe potatoes poisonous?

You don’t have to worry that potatoes that may have been harvested too early could be poisonous – they are not. The only problem are green or green-spotted tubers, which contain the toxic solanine and should definitely be sorted out. They are not suitable for human consumption or for feeding to pets or livestock.

So just make sure that the potatoes have a typical tuber color – usually light to deep yellow, depending on the variety. Otherwise, potatoes harvested too early are not a problem, but they may be very small and less aromatic. Incidentally, the delicious potato aroma only develops after flowering, which is why you should only harvest the tubers afterwards.

Note: By the way, some potato varieties are not naturally yellow, but have a different flesh color. This applies, for example, to the early varieties ‘Blaue Hindelbank’ (purple inside and outside and Blaue Veitlin’ (also). Here the dark color is completely normal and wanted.

advance the time for harvest

Many potato varieties are very sensitive to diseases such as late blight. If this occurs, you must clear the herb immediately and harvest the potatoes – otherwise the pathogen will spread to the tubers and let them rot in the soil. New potatoes are generally well protected from the disease, as they are usually harvested before the typical time of occurrence – from June. So that you do not run the risk of losing the harvest to late blight – or to other dreaded potato diseases such as the Y virus or pests such as the Colorado potato beetle – it makes sense to clear as early as possible.

For some potato varieties, the harvest time can also be brought forward by about two weeks for the early potato harvest in 2021 by means of pre-germination and early planting. With the right approach and the right weather, you can harvest the tubers from mid to late May. However, not all potatoes are suitable for this, but primarily the very early varieties. And that’s how it works:

  • Pre-germinate seed potatoes from February
  • lay out airy in fruit boxes
    • add some seed soil or compost
    • however not absolutely necessary
  • Put boxes in a bright and warm place
  • Germination takes place at temperatures between 10 and 14 °C

Now the seed potatoes remain in germination for about four weeks. Then they should have developed at best four to six at least one centimeter long, firm shoots. From the middle to the end of March, the pre-germinated potatoes can be planted, provided it is frost-free and the ambient temperature is at least eight degrees Celsius. It is best to sort out potatoes that have not germinated, they will no longer germinate in the bed. Cover the potato bed with garden fleece, cold protection film or a thick layer of straw.

Early potato harvest – balance sheet – 2020

Last year, the early potato harvest only started in mid-June. This was due to the persistent cold in the spring. The dry weather also reduced the harvest income somewhat. The first varieties to be harvested in 2020 included “Leyla” and “Annabell”.

Note: New potatoes may only be harvested until August 10th of each year. After that, they may at least no longer be called new potatoes.

Early Potato Harvest 2021 – Recommended Varieties

Around 200 different potato varieties are currently being grown in Germany. For a good early potato harvest in 2021, the cultivation of the following very early and early varieties is recommended:

  • Anuschka
  • Belana
  • Gala
  • Glorietta
  • Goldmarie
  • Lisana
  • Marabel
  • Passwords
  • Princess
  • Sunita
Note: Fertilization with nitrogen should be done as sparingly as this promotes the development of the weed and thus the susceptibility to late blight. In addition, infection with the disease is less likely the earlier the potatoes are harvested.

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