Mary's Veggie Garden

February 25, 2010

Eating from the Garden in Winter: Potatoes

Filed under: Gardening,Potatoes,Root Cellar,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 11:38 am

Last spring I planted 7 potato varieties to learn the differences in taste, texture, cooking, and storage. I planted them 4/26-5/4/09 and harvested 7/30-8/6 when Late Blight struck the Northeast.

Potato Storage

I washed the potatoes and put them in brown paper bags on shelves in the basement.  Although the temperature in the basement was around 75 degrees when they were first stored last August, it slowly dropped to around 50 by January 1. For eating, I chose damaged and sprouting potatoes first.

Sometimes catalogs describe how well potatoes store, but my main reference is Cornell’s Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners.

Variety Storage Eyes sprouting
Superior good late October
Red Pontiac excellent mid November
Fingerling, variety unknown mid November
Kennebec excellent late November
Yukon Gold excellent late December
Kennebec volunteer excellent late January
Irish Cobbler short term early February
Russet Burbank excellent late February

There is a big difference in time of sprouting for potatoes rated excellent for storage. The best are the Russet Burbanks.

Russet Burbank 2/11/2010

The Kennebec volunteer grew from a potato left deep in the soil after the 2008 harvest. It  grew before the other potatoes were planted, and it was the last plant to die and be harvested. I’m amazed that its potatoes stored two months longer without sprouting.

These pictures were taken 2/11/2010 after the potatoes were stored 6.5 months.  All the potatoes are sprouting, and some are shriveling.  They are all still edible, even the Fingerlings which sprouted earliest and are starting to shrivel.

Fingerling 2/11/2010

I plant to do the same experiment this year, and compare results.

Irish Cobbler 2/11/2010


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