At age 73, I've planted my first garden. Everything is really growing, some faster than I expected. My baby red potato plants are about ten inches tall. How can I tell when it is time to harvest them? Same Q. for my Walla Walla Sweet onions and bib lettuce? Jim "Gramps" Hassinger
Hi Jim, Congrats on having your first garden. It's never too late to grow some of your own great homegrown produce. As far as potatoes and onions go, they'll tell you when they are ready to harvest. By mid to late summer, both species will develop yellow and dying foliage. When the foliage dies down, they are ready to harvest. Now, if you want to sample either the onions or potatoes throughout the season, you can certainly dig under the potatoes with your hand and pull out some young tubers and/or pull up a few onions when they are young. But, for a full crop, let the plants mature and watch for the stalks to yellow and fall over. That's a signal they are ready to go. As far as the lettuce goes, you want to harvest that before it gets too hot and the plants begin to bolt or go to seed. Basically, you can harvest lettuce anytime you want to eat it, but if you want full size butter heads, just wait and watch them and harvest when they look good to you. Generally, with bib lettuce you're looking at somewhere around 60 days after planting, but that depends a lot on weather conditions so just harvest when you want to eat it.