Prolonging Your Harvest: How to Store Potatoes

Sweet potatoes exposed - DSCF7299
There are so many benefits to growing your own garden, storing and preserving your own food.  Not only can you save a tremendous amount of money but I love knowing exactly what has gone into and put on the food I am feeding my family.  It is such a great feeling to know that you can shop from your very own home when it is needed.  Although this year I haven’t stocked up and stored like I would have liked to, there are so  many ways you can continue to eat from your garden (or farmer’s market) well past the summer growing season.

You are able to can potatoes (I will have a tutorial coming soon) but there are so many other storage options available.  You can take advantage of potatoes’ natural dormant period when storing them.

Potatoes need to be cured in a cool, dark place that is moist ideally around 55 degrees for two to three weeks to cure.  Once a dried skin has developed over all cuts or bruises you are good to store.

There are many creative ways to store your precious root crop even if you do not have a root cellar.

You can bury a clean garbage can horizontally, to be easier to reach in and out of and then store the potatoes in straw or layers of newspaper in between layers.  You want to make sure the side being buried is at least 12″ deep in the soil out of direct sunlight.  Secure the lid and then come and take them as you need them.

Line a laundry basket with newspaper and then layer your potatoes with newspaper or straw between each layer.  Once your basket is full, cover the basket with a blanket and store it in an unheated basement or unheated garage.

I loved the suggestion from Mother Earth News that suggested using an old dresser or piece of furniture with drawers.  Place your dresser or other furniture piece in your unheated basement or garage and then fill the drawers with your potatoes.  Leave the drawers cracked to allow air ventilation.

There are so many options, think outside the box!

You don’t need a root cellar to store your garden goodies.  Just remember to store them in environments that will prolong their storage life.  Potatoes will store longer if you keep them in a dark moist place.



3 thoughts on “Prolonging Your Harvest: How to Store Potatoes”

  1. I have heard to not store your potatoes next to onions or they will both go bad quicker. Not sure if it is true or not.

  2. Do you know how this all works if you’re buying potatoes from the store? My potatoes are always, ALWAYS rotting within 2 weeks. It drives me crazy, because I know they should be able to keep ALL WINTER, and I can’t even keep them for a month!

    Obviously I’m doing something wrong, but I can’t figure out what.

    1. It should! Conventional potatoes (for the most part) are even treated with chemicals to prevent them from sprouting eyes. I also try to check to make sure that if there are any with spots that look like them may even go bad, I don’t store them together. One bad potato, can ruin your whole batch. With organic potatoes purchased from the store I have actually stored them for months and they were great!

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