Harvesting Potatoes ?
So I've never had to pay much attention to potatoes, but it seems that we've usually planted them in June or so, hill them as we go along, and then in September the plants get ugly and brown and we dig them up and have a bunch of potatoes.
This year we did them a bit differently - we planted them in a long ring of last years compost, then alternated filling it back in with straw and dirt. We also planted these ones quite a bit earlier than usual. The plants have been absolutely happy and beautiful in their new home.
A few weeks ago I was having guests for dinner, ran short on potatoes so reached my arm way down into the patch and pulled out quite a few spuds that were much bigger than I was expecting. Since then the plants have seemed to be dying back already, so I thought they must be ready to harvest.
I dug a few plants out and what I'm finding is a few giant potatoes, lots of smallish medium sized ones, and tons of teeny tiny ones. They seem to be getting bigger the further down I dig - and I don't remember exsctly how far I started, but I haven't hit bottom yet.
What I'm wondering is - would you harvest them all now, or wait and let them grow for awhile, even though the plants themselves look pretty dead? My mother in law said to just reach down and pull out the big ones, but they're WAY down there and I feel like I'm mucking up all kinds of roots and stuff - I'd hate to harvest 10, but have 20 rot because I didn't find them, you know? I don't know if that happens or not actually. She also said that I could pull up the plants, tiny spuds still attached, dig out the large ones and then replant the plant again and let the little ones grow - but these plants look well on their way to dead.
Advice? I feel like a moron - my husband usually does the potatoes, while I stick to my tomatoes and flowers - but this summer he's had to work so much that I'm doing it all pretty much by myself, and I've just never had to learn much about them till now!