First time grower in Michigan, partial shade and probably not the best soil. The red potatoes I got out first were very hard. Why? What can I do to prevent this with the rest of them before they are harvested? Anything I can do for these dears?
Some potatoes are harder than others.
The Andean people of South America had many different names for potatoes. Red potatoes were called “weep blood for the Inca” and hard potatoes were called “knife breaker.”
The proper way to grow potatoes is in a high potassium soil with ph of 5.5-6 and the soil must be loose enough to allow the tubers to form without too much pressure from the soil squeezing back on them. Hard potatoes could come from hard soil, but small potatoes definitely do.
Also, you should wait until the vine has died back all the way. It's possible you could be harvesting them too early, like with apples or pears that would be hard when picked too early.
If there is something about the soil or growing conditions which has resulted in abnormally hard potatoes, it's probably too late to fix the problem in time for harvest this year. But you can learn what to do for a better crop next year :)