Wednesday, June 15, 2011

OK...Now What?

My Red Pontiac potatoes are dying back. 

We don't eat a ton of potatoes around here, maybe once a week in the summer, so I'm very interested in curing and storing these to last for a few months.  If it were fall, I'd just leave them in the ground and harvest as needed but since it's the height of summer, I'm a little hesitant on how to proceed.

I've read that once the plants die back that you should leave them in the ground another two weeks to allow them to cure.  But does that apply if the temperature outside is in the mid 90's?  Granted...they're in soil, not straw so the temperature of the soil is a little cooler...but it's still a raised bed.

Once harvested, I've read that's it's:

OK to refrigerate/No, it's not OK to refrigerate them. 
Store them in the dark at 50-60 degrees/Store them at 40 degrees. 
Leave the dirt on/take the dirt off.

There's a lot of conflicting information out there.  So I'm asking you my gardening Goddesses...

What do you advise?


  1. I always harvest mine when the plants start to die. One reason being that I need the room to plant something else. I do not refrigerate potatoes... very very bad. I store them with the dirt on covered in a cool spot in my basement for use during the winter. We don't eat many potatoes either...too fattening. The small early potatoes are the best though!! I'm thinking about stealing some of the small ones from my plants this week!

  2. I harvest mine as soon as the plants start to die since we like the smaller "new" potatoes. Then I leave them on a dish lined with paper towels for a couple days inside (don't really have a shady place outside to do it), wash and use them up! We love potato salad so they usually don't last long in our house :-)

  3. We always harvest when the they die off topside too. I just store them in a cool dark closet and wash them as you need them.

    You could always dig a little spot and see how they look. Big or small, they will taste great anyway!!

  4. I just brush a bit of the dirt off and store them in mesh bags place the bags in lidded boxes in the darkest part of the basement. Even a bit of light causes sprouting in homegrown potatoes. I just love potatoes, eating and growing them. Take pictures of the finished product...can't wait to see your harvest!

  5. Thank you all for your input...I'll do a post this weekend when we pull them up. I must admit I'm awfully curious and excited too. Let the treasure hunt begin!

  6. I tried several ways to store my Red Pontiacs last year. First I put them in a milk crate type box in the pantry but it was too warm and they sprouted. Then I tried them in the fridge. Some I left in the milk crate and some I put in the vegetable drawer. By the following spring, the ones in the vegetable drawer had all sprouted. The ones in the milk crate got light when I opened and closed the door. Some of these were sprouted, some weren't. That's how I'll store them again this winter. I'll be interested in how your store yours and how they do.

  7. P.S. Left the dirt on and washed as needed. Worked great.