Posted on Dec 14, 2023 at 5:26 pm by Emily A
Gardeners who grow potatoes in their gardens are often faced with the problem of preserving the tubers. But then, to avoid the problem, can potatoes be stored in the ground during the winter? We’ll tell you everything!
Table of Contents
Storing potatoes in the ground during winter, a risk for the harvest
When the stems of your potato plants have completely dried and the flowers have withered, it’s time to harvest them.
It is then advisable to leave the tubers in the soil for 2 to 3 weeks before picking them up, to allow them to harden.
But large harvests require space to store potatoes and certain precautions must be taken to prevent them from sprouting. Therefore, one may be tempted to leave them in the ground for the winter.
However, leaving tubers in the soil for such a long time carries the risk of causing them to rot.
However, it should be noted that potatoes can be perennial in hot and dry climates. Under these conditions, the tubers can indeed survive the winter and regrow in the following spring.
- Why use a potato as a cutting support?
- Can you eat potatoes that have softened?
- When to plant potatoes?
- Reducing acrylamide (a carcinogen) when cooking your potatoes
It all depends on the geographical location of your potato plantations. For them to continue growing all year round, the soil temperature should never exceed 38°C and should never drop below 7°C.
If you have mild and dry winters, you can leave your potatoes in the ground for the winter season.
But for those who live in cold winter regions, it is better to harvest your potatoes from mid-summer to early autumn before storing them for the bad season.
The best storage conditions for potatoes
For optimal preservation of potatoes, the tubers need a storage space:
- cool (constant temperature between 7°C and 10°C);
- completely dry;
- and protected from light.
Thus, a low temperature and absence of light help prevent potatoes from sprouting, thereby increasing their shelf life. Similarly, the absence of moisture helps prevent tuber rot.
Attention: avoid storing your potatoes near other vegetables or fruits that produce ethylene (onions, bananas, apples…) and place them in a crate or a jute bag, so that air can circulate freely between the tubers.
Finally, know that certain potato varieties can be stored for longer, such as Monalisa, Désirée, and Bernadette.
Good to know: is a potato a vegetable or a starch?
A potato is a tuber, which classifies it as a starch rather than a vegetable.
Although many consider it a vegetable due to its consumption and use in dishes similar to those of vegetables, botanically speaking, it belongs to the solanaceae family and is classified as a starch due to its high starch content.