Q: Harvest Time

How does the peanut farmer know when his crop is ripe for havesting? Even more general, how about underground crops, like potatoes? How do you know?

  • Jinx

According to Rodale*:

In the South, peanut vines are dug before frost and hung in open sheds to cure. To determine the time for pulling , examine the inside of the shells. They should show color and veins and the foliage should begin to turn yellow."

"Peanuts grown in northern gardens are left in the ground until mid-October before they are dug…

*Rodale: How to Grow Vegetables and Fruits by the Organic Method, June 1970.

Potatoes can be dug at any time for new potatoes. They can be left in the ground until the vines dry, and then dug when they are mature.

If you’re a farmer with acres of underground crops, one obvious point is that you can dig up a few samples to see how nearly ready they are.

(This ploy isn’t quite as useful to the gardener, who may have but a few plants.)