[Market-farming] Storing Potatoes

pam at twinoaks.org pam at twinoaks.org
Thu Oct 19 15:13:30 EDT 2006

	We have a root cellar for storing potatoes, and lately our system 
hasn't been working as well as I think it used to. Can anyone help with 
information about ideal potato curing and storing temperatures, and what 
temperature range encourages sprouting?
	We grow two crops a year (this is zone 7). One we plant in mid 
March and harvest in July. The other we plant in mid June and harvest in 
October. Our goal is to have a supply of potatoes year round. Ideally the 
June planting is bigger than the March one, and supplies the potatoes for 
Oct-July. Because of rotations, this can't usually work out in the ideal ratios. 
And so we use the March potatoes from July till maybe December, and then 
start in on the October harvested ones. It's a challenge to prevent them 
	I have read that potatoes should be cured for 2 weeks at maybe 
70F, before the temperature is reduced to store them. Well, in August it's 
hard to reduce the cellar temperature far! I was happy with some early cool 
nights in September, and used them to cool the cellar. Unfortunately, the 
cellar then warmed up again. I think this caused them to sprout. Anyone 
have the facts?
	When we bring in the October harvest, it needs 70F for 2 weeks to 
cure (doesn't it?), but the remaining July harvested ones don't want it that 
warm. We've only got the one cellar, and no A/C. The potatoes are in crates, 
but not palletized. The thought of curing the potatoes in one place, then 
moving them to the cellar is rather daunting. What can anyone suggest?
	Pam Dawling, Twin Oaks Community, Louisa, VA

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