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Potatoes: how to get more to store?

Posted by sunnibel7 Md 7 (My Page) on
Thu, Dec 12, 13 at 11:04

Okay, here's another question. I love potatoes but am relativley new at growing them here. I think I may be running into a bit of a mental block about how to grow them since the seasons here are so different from where I grew up. Up there you planted in the spring with fingers crossed that potatoes would sprout rather than rot and you mostly harvested at the end of summer because it goes from hot to cold pretty quick. Down here all the seasons are really stretched out, except winter which is much shorter. That's a long explanation for why I'm having trouble figuring out how to get my potatoes going the way I want.

Right now I'm planting in earlyish spring and harvesting in July. July potatoes store until about now in my cellar, but I guess it is too warm down there since they've been sprouting. I don't really have anywhere better to store them. What I would really like is to have potatoes through the winter that I grew myself. So what might be my best plan? I tried July planting some of the small tubers from the spring planting, but only a few came up and they were kind of slow, so didn't produce very much. (That worked better last year, but why?) Is there a way to make those get started sooner/stronger? Would choosing a later-maturing variety work? Would it make it through our hot summers? Is there some way to make my storage better? Cheers!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Potatoes: how to get more to store?

I think you are doing it right.

You plant potatoes couple of weeks before your LF date. So, they will be sprouting right after that. If you plant early and frost comes when they are up, then have to cover them.

GREENING:
to make sure that your seeds will sprout, you can set them in a dish(with some water at the bottom), single layered on you kitchen counter, couple of weeks before planting. So that they will grow sprouts. Sprouts are STEMS not roots.
You carefully handle them and plant them without damaging those sprouts. This way you are almost sure of the result.


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RE: Potatoes: how to get more to store?

Your zone is close to mine, you have more heat-days and an earlier spring but winter is similar. I plant around mid-april and harvest in late september, and put them in the cellar.

So I'd suggest that you don't need to harvest so early, leave them in until september, they will be better cured. if you don't have a cellar that gets cold, you could keep the crop in the coolest place you have for a couple months and then store in a tater-hole, a hole in the ground a couple feet deep, gravel in the bottom if the soil is heavy, lined with hardware cloth if rodents will be a problem, put the tubers in, fill with leaves or hay or wood-shavings up to grade and cover with a piece of plywood.


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RE: Potatoes: how to get more to store?

  • Posted by glib 5.5 (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 12, 13 at 22:02

I wonder why you harvest in July. Do they die by then?


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RE: Potatoes: how to get more to store?

Are you choosing a 90 day potato, rather than a 60 day one? Also, you can leave them in the ground for a few weeks before harvesting, which will toughen the skins.
I plant in late May/ early June and harvest in October -- they die back in mid September. Would things be cool for you by mid October?

Also, is your storage area totally dark? stand in it with the doors shut and look. I tested mine that way when my potatoes were sprouting, and was surprised to find that there was an open heat grate getting light from upstairs. So I put a cardboard box over the grate, and no more sprouting.


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RE: Potatoes: how to get more to store?

Do you have a storage refrigerator?


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RE: Potatoes: how to get more to store?

Down further south in zones 7 and higher, it heats up starting July. And the soil temperature stays over 75F and so does night temperature. That is the end of potato season there.

Another thing is that potatoes need no more than 110 days or so, depending on the variety. Some are done at 85 days. So when you plant them in mid March, they are done by late June -early July.


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RE: Potatoes: how to get more to store?

Thanks for all the input! Forgive me if my typing is short, the dog dislocated my finger yesterday and I'm having a little trouble.

Pat, you have a vole problem too, if I remember. My only concern with leaving them in place any length of time is that the voles get in there and eat them. Do you have that problem?

I dig them in July because they die back. And some years it gets very hot-when we moved in the guy who moved out left his potatoes. It was very hot that year and all the potatoes had some sort of black spots developing in their interiors. I forget why, but I thought that was due to too much heat in the soil.

I don't have a storage refrigerator, at least not one I can turn to a higher temp. My husband took over that one. :) and I'm not sure about the current place being totally dark. I can move them or put something over them to try. I grow Red Pontiac. Used to also do Yukon Gold, but they seem to develop an off taste at our new house and my old farming neighbor agreed he had the same thing happen.

I thought I once read here how to get fall potatoes, but maybe not. Last year was so tantalizing with the large yeild from a few plants in fall, but this year it didn't work too well. Anyway it's a funny climate here- too hot to follow the planting schedule of up north, but too cold to do what they do further south. Cool-loving plants are tricky here.


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RE: Potatoes: how to get more to store?

Hmmm . . . brainstorming here.
Could you try a late planting again (mid July or so) and plant them deeper than suggested (where the soil should stay cooler), and also mulch them heavily, like 6 inches of hay maybe, to keep the soil cool. Maybe mulch instead of hill? Maybe put the mulch on your prepared potato patch in May so it stays cool?

Also, rather than planting your own small ones, keep some seed potatoes in the fridge until July, so you're planting the best seed you can. Or do some of both and see what turns out best.

Every year is so different, it seems like since it worked once it's worth another try for fall potatoes.

Also, wrangle your husband for space in the other fridge :)


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RE: Potatoes: how to get more to store?

I'm z7 here also, though of course we do not have nearly as many hot days as MD. So perhaps leaving tubers in the ground from july to sept doesn't work there, however you could try covering the rows with mulch after the gives dry down.

It seems like I did beat the rodent problem this year by digging in sept instead of november. BTW, some sprouting in storage isn't a problem IME.


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RE: Potatoes: how to get more to store?

  • Posted by glib 5.5 (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 13, 13 at 17:26

Alternatively, you can store squash or sweet potatoes. Those store well. I know, I am such a weakling, always finding low exertion solutions.


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RE: Potatoes: how to get more to store?

Sunni, I have the same problem. I can't leave the early potatoes in the ground because of voles, so they never cure completely and tend to break dormancy quite early. I can't complain -- I can grow bush beans after potatoes -- but growing lots of storage potatoes from a spring planting isn't working. I'm experimenting more with holding some seed potatoes until early summer and growing them as a June-September crop, planted after spring greens, but this year late blight ruined that plan. I'm going to keep trying, though.


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RE: Potatoes: how to get more to store?

I can the potatoes that don't store well. The ones that hold together can better rather than the ones that crumble. When I run out of my stored potatoes, or need something super quick, I just grab a jar of them.


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RE: Potatoes: how to get more to store?

Thanks for the brainstorming! There are some ideas that I hadn't thought of. I've never canned potatoes, but I do have a pressure canner. And if the recipe is in the Ball Blue Book, then it's something I could try out. I think Pontiacs would count as a type that holds together. And I will keep trying to get that Fall crop, because this time of year my cellar is finally cool. And I'll move them away from the door area to be assured of darkness. They are sprouting so much now that they are getting wrinkly and soft. I'll just eat them as quick as I can now. (oh, the hardship!) I wonder if I grow a ton of potatoes if I can grow more than the voles will eat or will I just have a super population explosion of rodents?

It's funny that sweet potatoes and squash were mentioned. :) I have a question about sweet potatoes, but it requires me to take a picture. That will be another thread. I haven't mastered growing winter squash, either. But this year was my first year trying since we moved (and before that I only tried once before realizing I just didn't have room or enough sun at the old house). Anyway I'll write down the ideas I gather here next to my notes about this year's yield. That way when I go to compare next year's haul I'll remember the ideas for storing/growing them.


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RE: Potatoes: how to get more to store?

  • Posted by glib 5.5 (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 15, 13 at 13:09

for winter squash, start with moschata. butternut, long island cheese, neck pumpkin.


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RE: Potatoes: how to get more to store?

Glib- I did! The squash I prefer the flavor of usually are moschata. And moschata are resistant to the borers, all the more good. The vines thrived until a certain point, but then they had severe problems from the mole/vole team. They come in and tunnel under the plants and that's that for a lot of the plants. If there's a good way to promote secondary rooting of the vines I think it will help a lot. And I'll keep chipping away at the population of both. Also, i had a lot of fruit get end rot, which makes sense since I totally forgot that the new patch we put them in hadn't been limed. (My soil is low in calcium).


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RE: Potatoes: how to get more to store?

As I recall it was Farmerdill who made my ears perk up about fall potatoes - in an older post he said to leave the smaller potatoes from the early harvest out in the sun for a few weeks to green up/sprout, then plant again.

~emmers


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RE: Potatoes: how to get more to store?

Ah, I think that might be what I was half-way remembering before! See, what I did this year was just put the tubers right back in the ground when I dug them. Does the sun make them sprout faster?


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RE: Potatoes: how to get more to store?

Pacquebot, who used to frequent this forum, claimed that years ago in WI people planted a storage crop on july 4th. I was always skeptical about how that could work, but I am starting to think I should give it a whirl. I have plenty of space, so why not.


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RE: Potatoes: how to get more to store?

I have done both SPRING and FALL planting in GA(7b).
The spring planting has to be done at the earliest possibe so by the end of June you harvest. Then immediately have to do fall planting.

CANNING POTATOES:
The potatoes with thin and shiny skin have generally less starch and more gelatin that holds up when you use in things like stew. So for canning it should be similar. I wouldn't can baking type of potatoes, like Rosette.


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RE: Potatoes: how to get more to store?

seysonn...I'm interested in your Rosette potato. Is this the Lady Rosetta that you're mentioning?


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RE: Potatoes: how to get more to store?

We use to dig a storage area outside as the ground is cool if you dig deep enough but you will also have to make sure that the rain runs away from the hoke and you put down straw to help keep them dry. a good cover to keep the temp regulated not allowing sun nor rain to come in to your storage cellar. This it the way many of the old people had to keep their crops thru the winter months in the north.


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RE: Potatoes: how to get more to store?

I had oven-roasted taters for breakfast. They really develop great flavor this time of year - so starchy and satisfying.

Red Thumb is a superb baker and stores good.


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RE: Potatoes: how to get more to store?

I think this is the thread I (we?) were thinking of:

Here is a link that might be useful: farmerdill's comment on fall potatoes


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RE: Potatoes: how to get more to store?

Aha! Yes! Yes! Yes! Thank you, because given the various constraints I have, a fall-maturing crop would be my easiest solution. Then when I put them up the cellar will be much cooler and they will be younger. Ok, so what I did wrong this year was not greening up the tubers I replanted. I think I'll try canning some to see what I think of them, too. Cheers!


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RE: Potatoes: how to get more to store?

seysonn...I'm interested in your Rosette potato. Is this the Lady Rosetta that you're mentioning?
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

HAHA> I misspelled it . You know what I was talking abut. Merry Christmas !

This post was edited by seysonn on Tue, Dec 24, 13 at 18:36


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