The Great Potato Harvest. 2013.
Plus, how to store potatoes.

Digging Up

 

On May 3rd, of this year I did 3 things. Probably more, but we’re just going to discuss 3 of them at this moment.

#1. I planted my potatoes.

#2. I washed my hands.

#3. I waited.

5 months later I did it in reverse.

#1. I stopped waiting.

#2. I dirtied my hands.

#3. I dug up my potatoes.

Behold the Kennebec.

Big Potato

And the Russian Blues.

 

Russian Blue
 
And this random picture of a cat wearing a knitted antler hat.

cat-wearing-a-reindeer-hat1

(source)

 
And the Red French Fingerlings.
 
French Fingerling
 
I harvested a total of 52 lbs of potatoes this year.

38 pounds of Kennebecs, 10 lbs of fingerlings and 4 pounds of Russian Blues.
 
Potatoes
 
Once the potatoes are harvested you have to berate them. Call them names. Put a reindeer hat on them and post it on Instagram. Do whatever you need to do for them to develop a thick skin. Mainly you just need to leave them outside for a couple of hours to dry out, then keep them in a dark, humid area for 2 weeks. For me, this meant drying them on a raised wire rack outside overnight and then storing them in covered wicker baskets outside for a couple of weeks.
 
Potato Harvest 2013
 

Since I have air conditioning, outside is much more humid than inside therefore a much better place to cure the potatoes. Curing them in a humid area allows the potatoes to retain all of their moisture while their skins dry out and get tougher. This in turn means your potatoes will store much longer.

Once you’ve cured them you can bring them in the house. They should be stored in something that can breath like a wicker basket or burlap sack. They need to be protected from any light (so the don’t turn green) and kept in the coolest room of the house, which might in fact be your garage. Potatoes store the best when you keep them at 35 – 40 degrees (Fahrenheit). That just means that’s their most favourite conditions. If you store them in a 50 degree room they’ll still last a few months, just not as many as they would if they were kept a bit cooler.

The warmer the room you keep them in, the faster they dry out, and the shorter life span they have. Like a chain smoking, sun worshiper they will become dried out and wrinkled before their time.

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  13. Magpie says:

    Hey, Karen.
    I’m wondering how your potatoes in the ground did, vs. the basket method you tried last year. This year I did a tower (purple chieftans) and also some in-ground (Yukon gem, river John blue, and more purple chieftains). Next year I was thinking of another tower, plus baskets like you did last year, because of my similarly limited space. But maybe I should stick with in-ground?
    You’re right about the tower’s main benefits being about the space and easy harvest. They’re more work, but I would do it again.

    • Karen says:

      Magpie -I did a basket this year as well. They did well. The potatoes are actually cleaner with less scab and pests. They’re easier to harvest too. But I didn’t seem to get as many potatoes as from the ones in the ground. Could have just been a fluke. ~ karen!

      • Gail says:

        Too funny- I brought a potatoe from my garden to work today for lunch! And I am reading this thread and laughing uot loud- (cute Kitty)-!! My second harvest is in the ground and will be ready about the end of October! Love the homegrown- and I do not share- only with my daughters!!!

  14. Amie Mason says:

    Holy Shit! You’ve got potatoes coming out the waaazoo! I had a tiny harvest of Royal Blues… made the best homemade chips I’ve ever had! I wouldn’t share either!

    I’ve just planted Black Congo’s and I’m about to pop in another round of Royal Blues. We can grow potatoes 8-10 months of the year here, depending on summer heat…

  15. kathy says:

    Oh, I love potato pictures. But where is Mr. Potatohead? I have a photo for you but ….I have no clue how to attach it here. It’s my mutant ancient potato discovery…..tho it took few moments before I knew that’s what I had discovered. Got you wondering? let me send you the photo! We ran a contest to i.d. it in the local paper. Nobody did!!!!

  16. Sandy says:

    I think I might just try my hand at growing potatoes next year. Thanks for the info.

  17. Britnee says:

    Thanks for the potato storing tips!

  18. Lisa M says:

    I am curious, how did they not get eaten by squirrels and chipmunks? Or even ground hogs?

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