Potatoes are the staple food of the people of Russia. There are more than a thousand varieties adapted to cultivation in both warm and cold climatic conditions. In order for potatoes not to go out of the diet all year round, it is important to store them properly. If you create the appropriate conditions for the storage of potatoes, it will not lose its taste in 8-10 months.
This article will discuss how to properly organize the storage of potatoes and what rules should be followed.
When to harvest potatoes for winter storage
In the process of growing potato tubers, many gardeners use a young crop for daily cooking. However, it is impossible to collect new potatoes for winter storage, as it will simply deteriorate ahead of time. For winter storage, only well ripened tubers are suitable. In order for the root crop to be preserved until the new harvest, some activities should be performed:
- Harvest suitable for storage begins to form when the lower leaves of the green mass of the potato dry. From the day of withering of the lower leaves to the full maturity of the tubers, it takes 3-4 weeks. This period is enough to die off tops and saturate root crops with starch and other nutrients that give taste to potatoes. Taste and flavor of tubers depend on the variety of potatoes.
- To dig up the ripened root crops, it was easier to harvest and burn the tops 1-2 weeks before harvesting. During this time, the tubers finally matured, the skin will harden and dry eyes will be formed.
- Digging potatoes is best done in dry, sunny weather. So, the tubers will dry out in the sun, they will be easier to sort and dry in the shade. In addition, in dry weather, you can harvest without clay stuck to the tubers, as a result of which the shelf life of potatoes will increase.
- In warm and dry regions, the full maturation of tubers takes place in the ground. In the colder parts of the country, potatoes are dug up depending on the weather and air temperature.
- As a rule, early varieties are dug in the middle of July - early August. The average varieties - from August 10 until the end of the month. And later varieties are removed in storage in the first half of September.
If this is not done, the tubers will be gathered moisture, as a result of which their shelf life will decrease. Conversely, in a dry summer, potatoes may lose too much moisture, which will make it too soft.
If you do not grow potatoes, but buy them and store them in winter, then it is better to purchase a root crop of the same variety. It is worth noting that the yellow varieties of potatoes are stored better. If you decide to purchase several varieties of potatoes, then each variety should be stored in a separate container.
Potato preparation and premises
Before you put the potatoes in storage, you need to prepare the tubers. Properly prepared potatoes are stored longer and retain their taste before harvesting a new crop.
So, the roots have to go through several stages of processing:
- Sorting, during which damaged tubers are selected.
- Cleaning from soil and residues of vegetation.
- Disinfection. Disinfection can be done with the help of freshly lime. The proportion will be this - 2.5 kg of lime is added to 10 liters of water.
Before filling the potatoes in the cellar, you need to prepare it. It depends on how much storage of potatoes will be effective. So, you need to carry out the following manipulations:
- Inspection of the premises in order to detect damage to the floor and walls.
- If there is damage, then they need to be repaired.
- Repair equipment to ensure proper ventilation and temperature.
Proper preparation of root crops and the premises in which they will be stored, will ensure the perfect storage of potatoes until the new crop is harvested. It is important to avoid situations that provoke rotting or germination of root vegetables in storage.Important! By eliminating spoiled tubers in time, you will be able to avoid spoiling the entire crop in storage.
In order for the storage of potatoes to not end in fiasco, it is necessary to determine what the temperature in the cellar / basement should be. So, for different varieties need different temperature conditions:
- Early varieties are stored at a temperature of 1.4-2.5 ºС.
- Medium early varieties are best kept at a temperature of 3-4ºС.
- Late and middle late varieties can be stored at higher temperatures - 5-6ºС.
Tip! If the potato has acquired a sweetish taste, then it should be brought into the room in which the air temperature is 10ºС.
In this room, the potatoes should stand for 2 weeks. After this time, the taste of the root must be restored.
Where better to store potatoes
Where people just do not store potatoes. It all depends on the place of residence of the person, so the methods of storing potatoes will be different. If you live in the private sector, then, most likely, your potatoes will be stored in the cellar. If you live in an apartment, you can store potatoes either in the basement or on the balcony. Consider each method of storage separately.
The first is to talk about the stationary storage places of potatoes. In such rooms, you can adjust the climatic conditions, ensuring optimal storage. So, there are 3 types of potato storage:
- Fully recessed.
The most practical are fully in-depth cellars. In spring, the necessary coolness is preserved in them, while in winter such storages do not freeze through. If it is possible to organize the storage of potatoes in the underground cellar, then this gives you almost a 100% guarantee of the safety of the root crop until the next harvest.
If during the construction of the cellar to take into account the level of groundwater, then the cellar in the ground will be the most effective room for storing root crops. The bottom of the repository should be 2 m above groundwater.
Pit for storing root crops
If you do not have a cellar, then the technology of storing potatoes will naturally differ from the one described above. One option is to store potatoes in a specially prepared pit. It can be dug in the garden or in an outbuilding. A pit under a shed or in a shed is a better option for storing potatoes than in a vegetable garden. So, you can quickly create the necessary conditions for the storage of potatoes.
Before you start digging a hole, it would be good to determine with which kind of soil to work, since this factor is important to consider when digging. So, the process of preparing the pit consists of the following steps:
- Digging a pit with a depth of 1.5 m and a diameter of 2 m.
- Preparation of grooves for groundwater outflow.
- Covering the walls and bottom with straw.
In order for the potatoes to lie in the pit until the end of spring, you need to know how to properly store the root vegetable in this vault. In the prepared pit you need to fill the potatoes, not reaching the top of 40-50 cm. The remaining space is covered with straw, and then sprinkled with earth. This storage method is called bulk.
However, not all varieties of potatoes can be stored. Therefore, before deciding whether to store potatoes in this way, make sure that you grow or buy the right variety.
Storage in the cellar
Cellars are underground, semi-buried or above ground. It all depends on the level of groundwater. Suitable for storing potatoes cellar, built of concrete or red brick.
Ventilation should be done in such a way that the cellar maintains a temperature in the range of 2-6ºС, and the relative humidity varies between 80-90%. To do this, install two pipes in the cellar - supply and exhaust.Tip! So that other vegetables and fruits do not soak up the smell of potatoes, make a separate cellar for storage.
If you live in an apartment, then surely you do not have a cellar. Perhaps you have a basement, but if there are no adequate conditions for storing the root, there may be a balcony or loggia as the only vault. Since the temperature in this room in the winter is below zero, it will not be possible to store the potatoes in a simple bag or box.
Some homemade craftsmen resorted to a little trickery and simply warmed ordinary boxes with foam, and inside they lined them with clapboard. Some installed a chimney in the box and arranged the heating in the form of a blue light bulb with a power of 40 watts. Such storage for potatoes has decent performance.
If you are not able to make storage boxes yourself, then you can purchase a household thermal container Balcony cellar. It is a double bag, which is made of tent fabric, insulated with durable padding polyester and equipped with electric heating. Such a thermal container ensures the safety of vegetables on the balcony even at -40ºС, since the temperature is always kept within + 1 + 7ºС. Moreover, the container works in automatic mode.
So, storing potatoes in suitable conditions can ensure your life with delicious foods from this vegetable. In this article, the main types of potato stores were described, and tips were given on how to process vegetables before being placed in the store. Choose one of the options, and let there always be potatoes in your house!
Another way to store potatoes at home is covered in the video: