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Harvesting and storing potatoes

Last post 10-16-2011 11:22 PM by seaturtle. 4 replies.
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  • 10-07-2011 1:52 AM

    Harvesting and storing potatoes

     I have a huge potato crop this year. Some are a pound and a half. Each plant (I have 12) is yielding lots. The last 2 I dug up had very thin skins - I tried to dig with my hands, but even when my fingernails scraped them in the soil, the flesh was explosed.

    I will have a lot to store, and they all have these thin skins. The rest of the plants still have green stems. I gather I should dig them if it's a deep frost.Otherwise, what do I do to thicken the skins, and how do I store them? The cellar is very damp.

  • 10-07-2011 11:00 AM In reply to

    Re: Harvesting and storing potatoes

    If you store them covered in dirt they will last longer.

    Michelle in Northern Michigan

    "Those who would surrender liberty for security deserve neither" - Ben Franklin

  • 10-14-2011 12:40 PM In reply to

    Re: Harvesting and storing potatoes

    I've got more potatoes right now than I can reasonably keep, so I've been cubing them up and pressure canning them.  They can be used in soups or stews, but, if I drain them well, I think I can fry them up before serving. 

  • 10-14-2011 1:29 PM In reply to

    Re: Harvesting and storing potatoes

    seaturtle:

     I have a huge potato crop this year. Some are a pound and a half. Each plant (I have 12) is yielding lots. The last 2 I dug up had very thin skins - I tried to dig with my hands, but even when my fingernails scraped them in the soil, the flesh was explosed.

    I will have a lot to store, and they all have these thin skins. The rest of the plants still have green stems. I gather I should dig them if it's a deep frost.Otherwise, what do I do to thicken the skins, and how do I store them? The cellar is very damp.

     

    The reason your potatoes have thin skins is because the plant (& the potatoes) are still growing. Generally potatoes are not dug until later in the fall, well after a couple of killing frosts, but before the ground is frozen.  Do not dig them just because it is going to frost.  Let the frost kill the plants, then wait a week or two, while the skins thicken, then dig the potatoes.  If you want to dig some sooner, just step on the base of the plant & break the stem to kill it.  When we lived in Idaho, either the potato farmers sprayed the vines to kill them, a couple of weeks before harvest, or they pulled a contraption with a bunch of tires over the field to break the vines & kill them.  You can do the same thing to your plants by stepping on the stem.

    When you are ready to dig & store them, dig the potatoes & put them in a 5 gallon bucket or a box.  Do NOT wash them. They need to be shielded from light, or they will turn green & taste yucky.  You can do this by closing the top of the box, putting a lid on the bucket, etc.  Humidity is generally pretty high in a potato cellar, too, so the fact that the basement is damp shouldn't be too big of an issue, as long as the potatoes are in something dry, like a bucket or a box. You may need to set the box up on something to keep it off the floor if the floor is damp.

     

  • 10-16-2011 11:22 PM In reply to

    Re: Harvesting and storing potatoes

     Thank you, everyone. I know what to do now for next year's crop. I was afraid they would rot: the ground is nonstop soaked these days.

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