I've grown potatoes for decades - since I first started gardening in the '60's. I've never clipped potato flowers deliberately but have picked them and used them in bouquets. This is an intriguing idea - I would be interested in the results.
It makes sense to pop the flowers off to force energy into the potatoes because it is true with so many other plants but I think tubers are different from plants with fruit above ground. One way to figure it out is to pop the flowers off of a couple of plants and then compare the outcomes to the ones that continue their natural course. Last year was my first year growing potatoes and not very successfully so I looked this up in Rodale's Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening, 1992. It says that blossoming plants indicate the first new potatoes are ready to harvest. Pull aside the earth around the base of the plants and gently pick off cooking sized tubers, which are great cooked with the skins on. When the foliage starts to wither and die back the tubers will be full grown. If the weather is not too warm or wet, they will keep in the ground for several weeks. Dig them up before the first frost. I left mine in the ground for six weeks after they blossomed last year and something bored through them.
Edited by: HAGERBA at: 6/11/2010 (09:58)
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My potatoes are already starting to flower... MUCH earlier than last year (although we did have a very cool spring/June last year). Seems like too early to me. Does anyone recommend cutting the flowers off so that the plant doesn't put its energy into the flowers?
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