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The garden is slowly emptying for the season – since the potatoes are definitely ready, here’s how to dig up and store them so you can eat them over the winter.
If I have a row of potatoes harvested every day, it doesn’t take long for the potato bed to empty.
Every year we grow enough potatoes to eat all winter and enough to use them as seed potatoes the following year!
They take up space in the garden, but if you have enough space, it’s worth it.
Potatoes are expensive to buy in winter – often £ 10 can be sold here for $ 8.
Would you like to learn our tricks for growing potatoes?
We often get over 3 pounds of potatoes from 1 potato – seriously!
We know how to grow potatoes here.
But knowing how to grow them is not enough, you have to know how to dig and store potatoes!
Waxing is a big part of the job, but you need to store it properly. If not, they start to form.
Then the shape spreads over the other potatoes in the warehouse – and – you have a big problem.
Dig out and store potatoes
An important thing to keep in mind when harvesting potatoes is digging with a Garden spade about a foot from the plant. It really helps avoid cutting the potatoes, which is pretty easy.
Potatoes don’t just grow vertically under the plant – the roots spread a little and potatoes grow from there. So cut a wider swath and work your way into it!
Potatoes like to hide – it’s so easy to miss a few here and there. Once you’ve taken care of your potato plant, put your hands in the loose soil and feel comfortable.
Move the dirt around and go as deep as necessary to find the original Seed potato.
If you leave one or two potatoes behind, they can easily sprout the following year. Some people don’t mind voluntary potatoes showing up in the garden, but we always pull them.
They can lead to scabs, so we try to make sure they are all dug up in the fall. Then, in the spring, we pull out volunteers wherever they appear!
After digging out the potatoes
Once we’ve dug up the potatoes, we let them sit in the garden for most of a sunny day, when the weather permits.
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I go down and turn them after a few hours – it helps them dry a little more on both sides.
I can easily brush off the worst dirt that sticks to them.
We never leave potatoes outside overnight. We cannot take the risk of frost, which can occur here almost at any time during the growing season.
If you leave potatoes outside overnight, you can ruin them. Once touched by frost, they are no longer good for eating.
So we dig out as much as we can handle during the day and leave the rest in the ground for another day.
Here is a photo of our potatoes that were hit by frost. Not much can be done here, but only because there is frost damage NOT mean, the potatoes are ruined.
We are grateful that the plants still have a lot of green leaves. These potatoes didn’t bring as much as they could have had, but we still had a harvest!
Sort potatoes for storage and eating
One of our tips for digging out and storing potatoes is: Sort the potatoes by size before storing them for the winter.
We like to sort the potatoes directly in the garden. We bring a lot of paper bags and some of our large empty paper bags.
These food bags are nice and thick, so we don’t have to worry about them breaking. As you can see, we will continue to use the bags for a few years. Don’t waste, don’t want!
The really nice big and shaped potatoes go inside Paper bags, sort of a bag. We write the variety and put it directly on the bag that it is intended for seed for the next year.
The really tiny potatoes? We throw them in empty cans and cook them for the chickens or pigs when we raise them.
All the potatoes we accidentally cut into with the shovel are put in another bag. We will surely use this for fresh food first.
Don’t save sliced potatoes – it’s too easy to introduce mold this way. Just put them aside and use them as soon as possible.
When we sort in the garden, we find that we deal with potatoes much less. And if we grow enough potatoes to survive all winter, that’s a lot of potatoes.
Why deal with each potato more than we have to? This way we don’t have to sort once we have them all in the house. We have found that this is the easiest way to store and store our seed potatoes.
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The really little potatoes? We throw them in empty cans and cook them for the chickens or pigs when we raise them.
With Valley friends raising a few pigs this year, they’ll feed all the little ones.
You can certainly eat the little potatoes! They are just as tasty as any other potato, they are just a little bit more painful to wash and prepare for the meal.
Our hallway during the potato harvest – we’re overflowing with big bags of potatoes that can be stored in our cold room in the basement.
The seed potatoes are placed on a separate shelf in the cold room. We have no problem storing fresh carrots and potatoes down there.
We are always happy when the sorting of the potato seeds is finished as we are sure that we will have enough seeds for a good potato harvest next year.
As soon as the little ones and the big ones are finished, everyone else goes into the big empty food bags.
We label them with the variety name and label them as “food”. We can easily store 40 pounds in each, often more than that.
Bringing these bags to the house and the fridge is definitely a “blue job” because they are far too heavy for me.
Good potato varieties for winter storage
Seiglund potatoes – what a fantastic yield and we are very impressed with this type of potato. See how big these things are.
They also always have a good shape, which makes peeling or scrubbing easier. They are delicious for used baked potatoes.
Because they are so big, we always have a large supply of seeds.
I dug out the row of fingerlings (also known as banana potatoes because of their shape).
As you can see, they are still sitting in the garden. They are later sorted and put away.
Fingerling potatoes are very expensive to buy in the store – I saw them for sale for $ 3 a pound! But they are very cheap to grow.
Do yourself a favor and buy something Fingerling seed potatoes get started next year.
These are wonderful potatoes that you can eat in the middle of summer. I love the taste of new potatoes and these are one of my favorites!
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Why pay $ 3.00 a pound when you don’t have to?
We have grown a few Yukon Golds this year and here they are. We’re not as happy with them as we find they don’t taste as good as they did years ago.
I have no idea why, but we have other strains that we like a lot better. So we stick to planting.
We also grow Russet potatoes, which are good keepers. A number of Cariboo potatoes have also been harvested – these are really good.
They used to be available as seed potatoes, but you can no longer find them.
The only way to get something is to ask a few from someone to grow them in the Cariboo.
We were lucky enough to get something a few years ago, and in the first few years we only ate the little ones and saved everyone else for seeds.
Now we also get a good harvest of it. These are growing so well in this area and it’s worth finding them.
Prepare soil for planting potatoes
The gardens are slowly being emptied and prepared for winter. After the garden is empty, we are given a load of manure to bring it into the garden, which we use as “fertilizer”.
Until next spring it will grow again and bring all the best in the garden. At this point we are ready to plant again.
Now you know how to dig up and store potatoes for eating in winter. Grow potatoes!
Potatoes get very expensive in winter – it’s worth growing enough yourself to have some for at least a few months.
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