Tips on Digging Backyard Garden Potatoes

Nothing brings mankind closer to the earth than digging potatoes. There is a certain joy in working the soil, planting seeds, watching the plants grow, taking care of the plants, then harvesting the fruits of your labor. This is especially true with potatoes.

Digging potatoes like opening a present, you do not know what it is until you open the box. The same is true with potatoes. You do not know what is in the ground until you start digging.

There are other options besides digging potatoes by hand.

Middle buster or plow

If you have a tractor, hook up the middle buster or plow, whatever you have, then slowly run the blade through the middle of the row. The potatoes will roll up to the top of the ground. Once the potatoes have been rolled to the top of the ground, simply walk along and pick them up.

Using a middle buster or plow to harvest potatoes is quick and easy. When you are dealing with a lot of land, quick and easy is good.

Potato fork

A potato fork is like a pitchfork but heavier. While a pitchfork is for throwing hay and other light duty work, a potato fork is made for turning soil and other heavy work.

Some potato forks have protectors on the ends so the points do not damage the potatoes. While other potato forks look like a large kitty litter scooper.

Digging by hand

Even though there are easier ways to harvest potatoes, nothing beats digging them by hand.  Digging potatoes by hand is dirty and sweating work, but it is rewarding work.

We are going to start by pulling the potato plant up and out of the ground. There should be several small potatoes attached to the base of the potato plant.

When putting potatoes into a bucket be careful not to drop them. Dropping potatoes can bruise them and cause the potato to rot. We do not want rotting potatoes.

Dig through the soil starting at the base of the potato plant to about 12 inches out. The potatoes will be hiding so you have to look for them, or rather you have to dog for them.

Grandkids digging for potatoes
Grandkids digging for potatoes
Grandkids found some potatoes
Grandkids found some potatoes

Children love to dig potatoes. If it involves dirt and getting dirty, kids are going to love it.

Digging potatoes is also a great way to teach children where their food comes from. Spend a few minutes digging potatoes in the morning, then have mashed potatoes for dinner that evening.  Children need to learn that food comes from the ground and not the grocery store.