In many countries, potatoes are considered one of the foundations of the diet. So knowing how to store potatoes will be useful not only for gardeners but also for people who always want to have this tasty product on the table.
Drying and treatment period
To store potatoes indoors, you should first dry them in direct sunlight for three hours, until they become dry and the soil falls off the potato tubers. However, do not dry them longer than three hours because the potatoes can get sunburns.
After that the tubers are sorted, spoiled potatoes are thrown out, and the rest are kept for 3-4 weeks to see if any hidden diseases show up. Storage temperature at home during a treatment period should be 15-20 degrees. Humidity should be high, up to 95 percent. The treatment period is needed for ripening the vegetables, drying them to the desired condition, and healing any damage.
Cooling and protection against harmful effects
After 3-4 weeks the storage temperature should be lowered to 4-7 degrees. It is better to keep the tubers in bags of non-woven fabric. If the potatoes are kept in the apartment, then in the fall, you should put the bags on the balcony, and in the winter near windows and doors. You should put straw or wood chips inside the closed bag to absorb moisture. The cooling period should last no less than 15 days for optimal production of immunity.
In an apartment or a house, potatoes should be protected from bacteria with leaves of mountain ash, anise-weed, or wormwood wrapped around the tubers. You can scald the vegetables with boiling water, but do not actually boil them. We recommend sorting the vegetables periodically to remove rotten ones.
By the end of winter, so that the potatoes do not sprout, it is required to put mint leaves on them. Dry mint leaves put at the bottom, middle and on top of the tubers. In addition, you can use chemicals, like copper sulfate.
Storage and containers
The best place to store potatoes is a cellar or basement; balconies in an apartment are not ideal, since they require constant monitoring of the state of the potatoes. You can make storage boxes at home from wooden boards, Styrofoam and dry sawdust. On the outside, you can use linoleum, plastic or paint to protect from moisture. Moreover, it is better to buy special insulated containers: they come in three different shapes, depending on the number of potatoes.
What fruits should not be stored
Should we store the tubers with minor defects? If the fruit is spoiled even a little bit, it should not be stored because it will ruin the entire crop. You need to sort through the potatoes regularly while they are stored, and throw out the rotten ones and ones that touched the rotten ones. Otherwise, you risk spreading the infection to all potatoes.
All stored potatoes must be healthy, ripe, free of sprouts, clean, dry, safe and dense skinned. The tubes that are crushed or have a bad smell should be thrown away immediately.
Conditions that affect the preservation of the tubers
The storability of the potatoes depends on the conditions in which the tubers are formed and matured. At high humidity and cold yield loss can be cut in half. Potatoes grow better in sandy soil, and not in clay. The fertilizers you use also have an effect. If the tubers are treated with nitrogen, they are more susceptible to diseases. Lack of potassium has an effect, too.
Potatoes that are infected with late blight don’t store well, you can lose up to 70% of the crop. Therefore, it is important to identify and destroy diseased bushes. Moreover, a week before harvest it is necessary to mow the tops to form a thicker skin on the tubers, which increases resistance to damage.