Lift maincrop potatoes

Lift maincrop potatoes

Lift maincrop potatoes now they're fully mature and get them into store ready for winter.

Early maincrops like Maris Piper and Desiree are ready for lifting now, with late maincrops following in the next couple of weeks. Don't leave it till September, as blight is an ever-present worry at this time of year: it's wise to lift the crop a little early rather than lose your harvest.

Choose a dry, sunny day and use a flat-tined potato fork if possible, as they're less likely to spear tubers. Gently ease entire plants from the soil, collecting potatoes as you go. Fork over the soil thoroughly to make sure you've got them all – 'volunteers' left behind will be troublesome next year and could carry disease.

Put aside blemished tubers to eat straight away, storing only perfect spuds. Lay the crop out in the sun for a couple of hours, turning halfway through, to harden the skins. They can then be tipped into a double-thickness paper or hessian sack, available on sale now from our garden centre here in Chorley.

Store somewhere cool, dark and dry and potatoes will keep for months - so you can carry on eating home-grown produce long after you've put the veg garden to bed.