Potatoes are an excellent self-sufficient crop for the home garden. They’re adaptable, and you may pick them as required until the ground freezes.
However, when the winter season arrives and freezing conditions threaten, you’ll have to dig them up. Following a few basic techniques will allow you to successfully store potatoes in your favorite storage containers for potato throughout winter.
How do you store potatoes long-term without a root cellar?
Choose unbruised, undamaged potatoes and cure them (if recently harvested) at room temperature in a dark, well-ventilated area, such as an outside shed, for about 2 weeks. This will toughen their skins and extend their lifespan.
Read also: What is the best way to store potatoes?
Arrange the potatoes in slatted stackable boxes in single layers (use clear acrylic letter trays from an office supply store). Place the boxes in a clean, empty fridge set at 40° to 42°F.
The beat-up old “spare” fridge that some people keep in their garages is ideal for this purpose. At Sunset, you utilized one in an underused office space.
(Don’t store apples or alliums like garlic, onions, or shallots in the same place, says Lutovsky, because they all generate ethylene gas, which causes the potatoes to sprout.)
To avoid the development of toxins, keep the potatoes in total darkness (which they do if exposed to light). Because light causes potatoes to turn green, a green color is a reliable indicator of toxicity. How do you keep them in the dark? Remove the light bulb from the refrigerator.
Keep the potatoes humid—very humid (at least 90% humidity); otherwise, they may shrivel. Fill a couple of large, deep pans with water and place them close to the potatoes to add moisture.
Remove the shelf that covers the crisper drawers at the bottom of the refrigerator, and fill the drawers with water.
Set a combined hygrometer (moisture meter) and thermometer on a shelf to monitor conditions in the fridge. A hardware shop will charge you around $10 for it.
The final necessity is ventilation. To keep the air moving, place a small desk fan on one of the fridge’s shelves. Connect the fan’s power line to an electrical outlet near or behind the refrigerator (the fridge shuts easily over the cord). Refill the water about once a week.
It should be noted that this is an energy-intensive method of saving potatoes, but if you truly want to do it, now you know how. The potatoes should survive at least three months and, depending on the type (drier potatoes last longer) and your storage conditions, up to six months.
Read also: Do Potato Storage Boxes Work?
Storing potatoes without a root cellar isn’t difficult, but finding a room that is the perfect temperature to store them in might be challenging. You’re in luck if you have access to a basement.