Sunday, September 26, 2010

Storing Potatoes for the Winter

Well, the potato plants are dead.  That means the potatoes are done and ready to dig!  So, dig in!

Actually it is not critical that you dig the potatoes immediately, you can leave them for a week or two and they will be just fine.  However, if you are getting a lot of rain you probably don't want to wait.  If the ground is very wet those potatoes you've worked so hard to grow this summer will quickly rot.  I use a garden fork or spade (and my hands) to dig my potatoes.  Dig several inches away from the plants trying not to get too close thus damaging those big beautiful spuds.  As I loosen the soil I stick my hands in the soil and feel around for the potatoes.  Try to get them all - you don't want potato plants coming up in the middle of your peppers next year.  If you do cut or stab a potato - don't fuss - just eat those first, as they will not store well.

Some potatoes store better than others.  If you are growing several different types make sure to eat the ones that don't store well first.

It's important that you prepare your potatoes for storing.  I lay mine out in a single layer on newspaper in a cool dry place and cover them with another sheet of newspaper.  It helps them to Harden Off - their skins will toughen up, allowing them to store longer.  If you can store your potatoes out of light they will also store longer - the light will make them sprout.  When I was growing up we always had a potato bin that we kept our potatoes in.  I recently found a website with plans for a simple Potato Bin.  If you don't have one and are not inclined to make one, just use a container that keeps the light out.  Then keep them in a cool room - not a cold room, just cool.

Occasionally you will want to go through your potatoes and take any that are rotting out as they will make the whole bunch rot in no-time. 

If you follow these simple guidelines your potatoes should store for several months providing you with many delicious and nutritious meals.  Happy potato storing!

Get your hands dirty!


  1. Thanks for the advice on potatoe storage. I have heard that if you place an apple in with your potatoes it will prevent them from sprouting. Give it a try.

  2. I need to try the newspaper idea so I don't grow three feet long scary eyes on my potatoes! :-0

  3. I wanted to add another comment, if that's okay. :) Last year when I was harvesting my potatoes, my three year old insisted the she play with my metal garden spade and I was left to use her teeny plastic toy shovel!! :-O I wasn't happy at first, but I found out it was actually great for harvesting the potatoes!! A plastic toy shovel is less likely to damage the potatoes than a regular ol' spade.


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