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.