When do I dig my potatoes?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by jessin, Aug 12, 2006.

  1. jessin

    jessin Well-Known Member

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    My potatoes tops are all dead and I was wondering when do I dig them up and when I do ,what do I do next? :shrug: Do I need to let them cure like onions or can I just put them in storage.Also what is the best way to store them. Thanks Jess :)
     
  2. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    As you would already know, what's under the ground isn't going to get any larger. Nor are they going anywhere. As long as the ground stays reasonably dry, every day in the ground adds 2 more days in the cellar. Right now, the tubers are actually curing while still underground. After digging them this late, they would be sufficiently cured to go directly into storage. However, you'd still want to cure them for a few days and then only to heal any little nicks. Then store in a cool, dark, and dry basement. Best stored over wood but thick cardboard is a good substitute.

    Martin
     

  3. Bluegirl

    Bluegirl Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to toss in a storage question. Do you leave the dirt on, or wash before storing?
     
  4. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    All sources say the same thing as I was brought up with, leaving the dirt on. For me, it depends upon how much dirt is on them. Of the 65 hills dug so far, none have been washed since the ground was quite dry at the time. I have had years when the potatoes had to be dug between fall rains and they come up covered with mud. Then I'll either wash them or let the rain do it.

    Martin
     
  5. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    I am not home to properly care for mine so if DW leaves them in the ground instead of digging them up will they rot over the winter? In AR zone 5 and a half
     
  6. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Underground storage IS the best for potatoes. The easiest method has always been to dig a pit in the garden and use as needed. It must be cool and dry but NEVER freeze. If the potato freezes, it is dead and begins to rot as soon as it thaws.

    Volunteer plants in Minnesota and Wisconsin attest to the crazy winter of 2005-2006. This was the first time in perhaps 15 years that I had a lot of volunteers. In warmer zones, commercial farmers often spray their plants or seed potatoes with maleic hydrazide to prevent volunteers.

    Martin
     
  7. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    Last year we put a small box of seed potatoes in our fridge to keep them. I did not think of using a pit. Have a cellar but it is really wet, I keep the onions and squash in our wash room. How could she keep them dry in a pit? put them in a bucket with a lid on it?have a big tarp over the whole area?