Frosted Potatoes - Knowledgebase Question

Okotoks, AB
Avatar for psipos
Question by psipos
September 5, 1999
Can you tell me if a light frost will hurt potatoe plants? I've had a couple of light frosts so far but the plants still look relatively healthy. I live in a zone 3 and it is the first week of September. My plants are still looking a little too healthy to harvest. Do I have to wait until they die back or am I supposed to help this process along by stepping on them? (please tell me some old timer was not just having fun with me on that one)
Thanks a million, your service is the best!

Answer from NGA
September 5, 1999
A frost should prompt the tops of your potato plants to begin turning yellow. Potatoes should be harvested after the tops wilt, which is generally after they've been subjected to a frost, but you can hurry the process along by bending the tops down. (No pun here!) Whether you allow weather to wilt the tops or you bend them down and step on them, you certainly will want to harvest the spuds before a hard frost, or their storage life will be affected.

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