Seed potatoes storage - failure again


#1

I spent good amount of time and money to design my cold storage converted from small freezer. I see stable 41F degrees both on regulator and remote thermometer placed right between potatoes. Today I opened the freezer to get some beets and found they started to mold. So naturally, I decided to check my seed potatoes. No, they didn’t mold. They sprouted. And spouted so badly, I don’t think I will have any left by the spring. It becomes really annoying. What else do they need to stay asleep? It is dark and stable cold… I do not mind to buy seed potatoes. But I do mind to play lottery on what I can buy. I usually buy three different kinds(always the same, no space for experiments), but because of the lack of the space, I really need probably 25-28 pieces to plant. Online they sell them in pounds.They also decide when to send it, so I get not cheated potatoes in May. In garden center they do not sell what I need and do not have them in stock early enough. (Sigh…)


#2

Hmm. According to Johnny’s yours should arrive in the second half of April:

Potatoes ship from late March through early April when weather moderates to avoid freezing in transit. Shipping schedule (subject to change due to inclement weather): Last Week of March: AL, AR, AZ, CA, FL, GA, HI, LA, MS, NC, NM, OK, SC, TN, TX First Week of April: CO, CT, DE, DC, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MD, MO, NE, NJ, NV, OH, OR, PA, RI, UT, VA, WA, WV Second Week of April: AK, ID, MA, ME, MI, MN, MT, ND, NH, NY, SD, VT, WI, WY 25 and 50 lb. sizes ship via ground transportation and require a physical address for delivery (no PO Boxes). 5 lb. sizes can ship to a PO box.


#3

Yeah. But I usually plant my in mid of April, but I need at least a month to cheat them. I have a tradition/goal to have first potatoes by June 29 - my DH birthday, so they have to be started early…


#4

Why do you have to cheat them?


#5

It gives them a month of head start. I plant them with roots this way, and in the still not so warm soil it make a big difference. You people who has no winter are spoiled)


#6

What is the humidity in there?


#7

:-)M


#8

Humidity may be pretty high - at least paper bags the potatoes were in were dump, but I do not have a tool to measure, need to buy one . But I really don’t know how to control it - I do not provide any additional humidity. The cover has some small gap where wires go in, I guess humidity comes from outside of the freezer - there is nothing in the freezer that can provide humidity other than potatoes themselves - the rest of content are in jars and plastic bags.


#9

The storage needs to be cool and dry. :slight_smile:


#10

Actually, I just checked recommendation and they said the humidity about 90 percent is good. Sounds too wet for me


#11

My inclination would be to store them unwashed, cool, and dry.


#12

You could try packing them in dry peat moss. I have used this to store bulbs. It didn’t always work though.


#13

I keep mine cool, dry, and dark. They do fine.


#14

Forty-one seems a bit too cool. I keep mine at about 55 degrees. I don’t wash them.


#15

That’s seeds potatoes, not for the food. This is temperature they recommend for commercial storage. And i do not wash them as well. I think i have two problems - too high humidity(need to figure out how to control it) and potatoes ready for storage too early. Yesterday I ordered seeds from Potato Lady and next year I will try to grow seed potatoes later in a season. Still need to figure out correct schedule.


#16

And that’s what we’re talking about.


#17

Why not just leave them in the soil till late fall? Here I have had potatoes left in ground grow in the spring. Even with our very harsh winters. Not saying do that, just to store in soil as long as possible. You could even harvest what you need and keep outside in soil till very late fall.


#18

Ha-ha! This is what I did last summer. They all sprouted! I usually take some potatoes during summer and let the rest of the bush to grow. Usually, I only get to those that are in front of the row(I only grow one row) and back part grows huge by the end of the summer and some new potatoes grow as well. Last summer I was surprised that bushes, that almost died started to grow again. So I let them be there till end of september. Guess what - that are not old bushes were growing, but large potatoes sprouted and started to grow. I lost about 5 gallon bucket of potatoes. :blush:


#19

OK, guess that will not work. I don’t start them very early so never had that happen. It was September before I even harvested, as plants kept growing.


#20

hi Galinas, Since I don’t harvest my potatoes until October storing seed isn’t much of a challenge for me. They do well in paper bags in a cardboard box, dry, in our 40 degree (approximately) root cellar. I get them out to chit in early April. Sometimes I wash them (if it’s a particularly wet muddy harvest time), sometimes not, haven’t noticed any difference. Both seed and eating tubers are dried in the sun for a few hours before storing.

In our upper Midwest potato farm region it seems they’re recommending cooler temp storage for seed potatoes. A Mich State Univ article mentions 37 degrees, and this from a Univ of Wisconsin article:
“Seed potatoes need a deeper sleep, and are generally stored at 34-38 F. However, if you just received your seed spuds in the mail, it’s ideal to store them at 50 – 55 F with high humidity for a week or two. In these conditions, potatoes will go through an active healing process, creating a layer of suberized skin – a kind of scar tissue – to repair cuts and bruises”

Tthe MSU article also mentioned problems farmers were having with seed storage rots because of the warmer soil and air temperatures prior to the harvest of seed potatoes (than what used to be). Since you’re in a warmer climate and harvesting earlier during warmer temperatures that might fit in with your problems getting seed to last.

By the way, I get about 12 whole or cut pieces to plant from 2# from Fedco/Moose Tubers. I lean toward planting whole so only cut if they’re really large or I need a few more. I like to save my own seed so I wish you luck in finding a system that works for you. Sue