Now the plants have mostly died back and it is time to get on with the arduous work of digging out the spuds.
The spadework starts at the extremities of the row and works inward and up. Even so, I still manage to cut a few spuds in half as I go along (and why is it always the big ones?). The potatoes in the picture are Nicolas, a variety favoured in the Mediterranean for its firm, waxy, sweet yellow flesh, and they have become a favourite of mine this year too.
The steel bucket is there for damaged or green potatoes. I remove these spuds to a separate pile where they wither and die in the sun. If the damaged potatoes are left in situ, they get hoed and chopped into the soil and become vigorous weed competition for the following crop (in this case brassicas; mostly broccoli for the winter, but also some cabbages and cauliflower. You can see a few seedlings in the rows to the right of the potatoes).
It's perfect potato digging weather right now. With the soil so dry, the potatoes crumble out of the earth almost clean enough to eat. I'm hoping that with the bulk of the winter plantings out the way, I can get stuck in over the next few weeks and dig most of the spuds before the autumn rains arrive....all I have to do now is to figure out where to store several tons of potatoes...ideas, anyone?