Storing potatoes after harvest: how to store potatoes in the garden

Potatoes can be harvested as needed, but at some point the entire crop must be dug up for storage before it freezes. Now that you have lots of potatoes, how do you keep them fresh and usable? It’s easy to store garden potatoes as long as you have space and a cool place to store them. There are a few things you can do before digging up the potatoes to make sure that storing potatoes after harvest is more efficient.

How to store potatoes

Proper storage of your crop begins with some pre-harvest cultivation practices. Reduce the amount of water you give the plants for a few weeks before harvest. This will harden the skin of the potatoes. Be sure to let the vines die to the end before digging up the harvest. The vines will turn yellow and mottled before they are completely dead, then dry out and turn brown.

Waiting until the plant is dead ensures that the potatoes mature. These pre-harvest treatments are crucial steps in the storage of potatoes in your garden.

One of the considerations on how to store potatoes is healing. Hardening is a process that makes the skin of the tubers harder. Place the potatoes in a place where temperatures are moderate but humidity is high for 10 days. Clean the potatoes after digging them up and place them in a cardboard box or open paper bags in a room at 65 F. (18 C.) and up to 95% humidity.

Once the potatoes have healed, check them for damage. Remove those with weak spots, green ends or open cuts. Then store them in a cooler environment for long-term storage. Choose a dry room with a temperature of 35-40 F. (2-4 C.). Ideally, a refrigerator will work well, but the crop may be too large to store in your refrigerator. A basement or unheated garage is also a good choice. Do not store tubers in areas where the temperature may freeze, as they will open.

The duration and quality of the stored potatoes depends on the variety of tubers planted. Red potatoes do not keep as long as white or yellow-skinned varieties. Tubers with thicker skin have an even longer shelf life. If you tend to grow more than one type of potato, use potatoes with the thinnest skin first.

Potato storage after harvest

Tubers can last six to eight months when stored in a cool place. When garden potatoes are stored at temperatures above 40 F. (4 C.), they will last only three to four months. Potatoes also wilt and may sprout. Save a few of them for planting in April or May. Do not store potatoes with apples or fruit that give off gases that can cause them to germinate.

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