Potato Storing After Harvest: How To Keep Potatoes From The Garden
Potatoes can be harvested as you need them, but at some point, you need to dig the whole crop up to preserve before it freezes. Now that you have a whole bunch of spuds, how to keep potatoes fresh and usable? Storing garden potatoes is easy as long as you have the space and a cool location. You can do a few things before you dig up the taters to ensure that potato storing after harvest is more successful.
How to Store Potatoes
Proper storage of your crop begins with a few cultivation practices prior to harvesting. Severely reduce the water you give the plants for a couple of weeks before harvest. This will toughen up the skins on the potatoes. Make sure you let the vines die all the way back before you dig up the crop. The vines will turn yellow and speckled before they are completely dead, then they dry up and turn brown. Waiting until the plant is dead ensures the maturity of the spuds. These pre-harvest treatments are crucial steps for storing potatoes from your garden.
A consideration on how to store potatoes is curing. Curing is a process that will further toughen up the skin of the tubers. Place the potatoes where there are moderate temperatures but high humidity for ten days. Clean the potatoes after you dig them up and place in a cardboard box or open paper bags in a room that is 65 F. (18 C.) and humidity up to 95 percent.
After the spuds have cured, check them for damage. Remove any that have soft spots, green ends or open cuts. Then keep them in a cooler environment for long-term storage. Choose a dry room with a temperature of 35 to 40 F. (2-4 C.). Ideally, a refrigerator works well, but the crop may be too large to store in your fridge. An unheated basement or garage is also a good choice. Don’t store tubers where temperatures are likely to freeze, as they will crack open.
The length of time and quality of stored potatoes is influenced by the variety of tuber you plant. Red potatoes do not keep as long as the white or yellow skinned varieties. Thick skinned russets have an even longer life. If you tend to grow a variety of kinds of potatoes, use the thinner skinned spuds first.
Potato Storing After Harvest
The tubers can last for six to eight months when stored in cool temperatures. When storing garden potatoes in temperatures above 40 F. (4 C.), they will only last three or four months. The spuds will also shrivel and may sprout. Save a few of these for sowing in April or May. Don’t store potatoes with apples or fruit which give off gases that may cause them to sprout.
Potatoes can be harvested as you need them but at some point, you need to dig the whole crop up to preserve before it freezes. How to keep potatoes fresh and usable? Storing garden potatoes is easy. This article can help.
How to Cure Garden Potatoes
Growing potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) in your home garden brings the goodness of fresh potatoes to your table and allows you to choose whether to eat some of them as new potatoes or allow them all to mature in the garden. These vegetables thrive in fertile soil with a pH from 4.8 to 5.5. When planted in a sunny location and provided adequate moisture and fertilizer, potato plants produce an abundance of potatoes, or tubers, under the soil, and those tubers are ready to be dug up in fall. By properly curing potatoes, tubers can be stored all winter for home use.
Dig the potatoes out of the soil in fall after the potato plant tops died back naturally. A garden fork or hoe works well for harvesting potatoes, but use caution not to nick or cut the tubers during harvest. Small blemishes will heal on potatoes, but large cuts open the way for disease during months of storage. If you accidentally cut tubers during the harvest, set them aside for immediate use, recommends the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Cleaning Your Tubers
Brush the soil from potatoes grown in light, sandy soil, or use cold water to wash soil from potatoes grown in heavy, organic soil. Some people prefer to allow the potatoes to air dry for a few hours and then brush the soil from them, as washing can damage the tender skin of freshly dug potatoes.
Place clean potatoes in boxes. Be sure that your tubers are completely dry before curing potatoes. Store them in an area with a temperature from 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of about 95 percent for 10 to 14 days to cure, recommends the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
During the curing process, minor cuts and blemishes heal and the skin of potatoes becomes tough. Like curing onions, curing potatoes is a necessary step in the process for long-term storage of the crop.
Sorting Potatoes for Storing
Sort through the cured potatoes, and remove all that are soft, blemished or discolored. Those potatoes probably will rot and quickly infect the other potatoes. Do not attempt to store damaged potatoes, as they will rot quickly, create a smelly mess and cause the potatoes they are in contact with to spoil.
Where to Store Potatoes
Store the potatoes in a cool, dark place with a temperature from 40 and 45 F and a relative humidity of 90 percent. An old refrigerator, a basement, garage or attic are potential locations for storing cured potatoes. Potatoes “chill” at temperatures below 40 F and develop a sweet flavor. Potatoes stored above 45 F may sprout after several months.
Checking Potatoes in Storage
Periodically, check over your boxes of cured potatoes in storage. Remove any soft, shriveled or damaged potatoes and use them quickly.
How to Cure Garden Potatoes. Growing potatoes in your home garden brings the goodness of fresh potatoes to your table and allows you to choose whether to eat some of them as new potatoes or allow them all to mature in the garden. These vegetables thrive in fertile soil with a pH from 4.8 to 5.5. When planted in a …