Wednesday, August 25, 2010
So once you harvest your potatoes, what do you do with them?
For answers to questions about cold-weather storage, I've turned in the past to a book called Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits and Vegetables, by Mike and Nancy Bubel.
If you are growing your potatoes for storage, you actually want to leave them in the ground for a while. According to Mike and Nancy, you can leave them buried for up to six weeks after the tops have died off.
Another key to storing potatoes for winter is that they need to be "cured" after being dug---you want to leave them out (not exposed to sun, wind or rain---so in a sheltered area of some kind) for one to two weeks. That gives little nicks in the skin a chance to heal over and reduces the chance that they will go bad in storage.
For overwintering, you want to "keep the potatoes in a cold, damp spot. They keep best at 36-40 degrees F with high humidity, around 90 percent." (pg. 77) In these conditions, you can expect to keep your potatoes for four to six months.
Hmmm...I need to go check the humidity in our basement. The potatoes did rather well there last winter, but since then we've added a dehumidifier. I may need to find a new storage location.