Frustrating homegrown potatoes


#1

Just a rant about how annoying it is that it is so difficult to store potatoes. I only harvested them about two months ago, and they are already starting to sprout.

I simply do not have the conditions to store them. Where the hell am I gonna find 45° with 90% humidity?


#2

That sucks! A lot of the storage info doesn’t translate well to home spaces without a walk-in or root cellar.
I use the vegetable crisper drawer, with the potatoes in a mostly open plastic grocery bag. It’s cooler than 45°, but it’s a good environment. Mine are still in like new condition, from a June digging. They’ll probably start to go downhill the end of December. Or, if you put them in a loosely sealed plastic bag (in the fridge), their own internal moisture should quickly raise the humidity to sufficiently high levels. Variety of potatoes also plays a role, but most should still be in OK shape. I need to find a way to store winter radishes for more than a few weeks. I suspect I might just need to take my own advice on plastic bags and apply it to the radishes, but I’m always a little worried about too much moisture buildup.


#3

(“ Where the hell am I gonna find 45° with 90% humidity?”)

Try a cooler sitting on the shady side of the house.
Or they keep good in the ground , some years ?
If protected from freezing .
I used to do a vegetable “ clamp” works good !
http://www.pocketfarm.co.uk/how-to-store-root-vegetables-in-a-clamp/


#4

Yeah, but I harvest in mid summer. That would be great if I had potatoes going into winter, but by that time, they’re already going to have two foot-long sprouts on them, and be shriveled up!


#5

It might be worth a shot, still. If you dig 2 ft (or more) down, the soil is substantially cooler than the top few inches. Dig a hole, line with bricks, put some rigid foam insulation on top. Or just bury it…
@Hillbillyhort, I like that clamp idea! I’ve seen the barrel burying technique, too. I suspect it might be just too cold here for that (we can freeze up to 3’ down on unprotected soil).


#6

Potatoes left un dug inground won’t sprout until spring.
They may rot or freeze if unprotected.?
The ground is cooler than your house.
A well made clamp is similar temperatures to the ground.
You can dig and put in a clamp , take out what you need for a week or so and recover clamp. A good thick layer of hay etc. on top will keep them from freezing .atleast here in WV.
Mice and rot can be a problem some years.
Can make more than one to hedge your bets.

I used to grow two long rows of potatoes in sandy soil.
I would plow out most of them in the fall put most in a clamp , I would eat these over winter.
Always leaving part of a row un dug. That I would hill up extra good in the fall and cover with mulch.
In early spring when I had ate all my “ stored “ potatoes.
I would plow out that last row in the garden.
Often they were the best , crisp , just starting to sprout ,
early spring treat.
Other years they may all rot. But was worth the risk ,
My Irish potatoes did not do good this year , blight.
But have loads of sweet potatoes.


#7

Unprotected soil !
Yah . I think the frost line is supposed to be 2ft.here.
But under a insulating layer of mulch ,leafs , hay ,even thick sod
It usually does not freeze but a few inches.


#8

Same here. It’s amazing how much difference just a little mulch makes!


#9

Some year I will have the time and energy to dig a hole like that! :sweat_smile:


#10

Potatoes store good for me in the fridge like that, but the starches turn to sugar before too long at those colder temps and my potatoes all become too sweet. As I commented above, some day I will have the time to dig an official root storage vault of some sort.


#11

Reminds Me of a thing called a Zeer pot
I learned from Steve spence of green trust (site defunct )
to bad because most his stuff was mechanical , and interesting homemade solor power etc.
but is suppose to be good in hot climates like Africa with no electristy
I also agree with Hillbilly Hort 2 feet deep could be good (I make a pit for seeds cold straticfy )

May niot be the best they aint big . (zeer pots)

It is clay Pottery With Sand that is wet in the bottom
the hole is bigger but the pot is held off the ground with a stand (or rocks piled on edges)
Sand is also coated around the sides of the pot

The air flows around the pot, and from under the pot keeps stuff cool. (suppose to 40 F)

I think camping or something that could be a good trick
Not sure if you could use something bigger Just reminded me of it

2 feet down sounds good I guess
Interesting JC (edit Thank you) I was always against storing things in plastic,
I guess Potatoes do not make a lot of ethylene though
I know not to store by apples though the ethylene will ripen them to fast.


#12

Better get your self a Pick Axe & shovel , and start digging Cis4elk.

I moved a whole dumpster (dump truck) of soil for raised garden a lot of work.
Best to have Multiple Wheel barrels close to yourself as possible, and someone else move them
as you keep digging I did not have help so took me to move soil close by a few feet
about 24 to 30 hours (or 10 hours x 3 or 8x 3 days I think or maybe a day less? .)