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Potatoes are "stowed"

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Potatoes are "stowed"

Postby Sharon Bryson » Nov 01, 2008 9:45 am

Our annual potato harvest has been stowed away.....we were a bit later than usual getting them dug, but no harm done there!

We store some indoors, but there really isn't a good space for them all.
The storage pit is used for the excess, plus a bunch of carrots.
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Bill needed to make it just a tad larger than last year.
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We had some Pink Fir Apple(fingerlings), and Norland(red) potatoes to add.
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The whole area covered with leaves and a tarp. We may access it before the dead of winter if need be, but perhaps not until April.
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Cheers
Sharon
Antigonish, NS Zone 5b

"The fairest thing in nature, a flower, still has its' roots in earth and manure."
- D.H. Lawrence


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Re: Potatoes are "stowed"

Postby B_BQ » Nov 01, 2008 9:55 am

I'm always impressed with the 'Fall Cleanup' at your place!
If I had only half the energy of Bill I would get my place organized lickety-split! (But I don't, and my place is, therefore, not organized - yet).
It's another gorgeous day here, so I have to get out the ladder and clean out some eavestrough. (I took a couple of pics for the FFFF!).
We've been waiting for a company to come and fit some inserts into the eavestrough which prevent leaves from clogging them up. We thought we'd get it done BEFORE the leaves fell, but the company haven't cooperated!

I did a quick edit for a typo!

~BBQ
Zone 5b
South/Central Ontario

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Re: Potatoes are "stowed"

Postby Durgan » Nov 01, 2008 3:16 pm

Sharon Bryson.

How deep does the freeze extend into the ground in your area?

In my area the frost can probably go to four feet, depending upon the moisture content of the earth. For outside ground storage, I would also have to seriously consider water seeping into the hole, mostly from surface water, since the water table is probably quite deep. To access I would have to contend with not only snow, but probably an accumulation of ice shelves formed by the freezing and thawing cycles.

My garage is the only cool place, that has possibilities, but then I would have to make a well insulated locker of some type-which I am contemplating. The garage can freeze if we have a long spell of below zero weather.
Zone 5 Brantford,ON
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Re: Potatoes are "stowed"

Postby Mervyn » Nov 01, 2008 4:41 pm

I can't imagine digging a hole that deep in my garden withoutht he help of a backhoe :)

Durgan, your mentioning building a well insulated locker , why build one ?? just use an old discarded freezer or even a fridge.
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Re: Potatoes are "stowed"

Postby Durgan » Nov 01, 2008 5:19 pm

Mervyn wrote:I can't imagine digging a hole that deep in my garden withoutht he help of a backhoe :)

Durgan, your mentioning building a well insulated locker , why build one ?? just use an old discarded freezer or even a fridge.


A discarded freezer has crossed my mind, but the temperature inside would quickly take on the outside ambient temperature, without some method to regulate.

Ground temperature below the frost line is certainly above freezing. Maybe burying an old freezer would be ideal for several reasons, constant temperature, no water concerns, rodents proof, relatively easy access, and probably lower in price than building from scratch. Possibly a simple box in the ground would achieve the same result.

It is hard to improve on the ground method without using some type of electrical temperature control system. Even in the unheated garage some temperature control system would be necessary.

Any insulated container given time will assume the ambient outside temperature. The insulation simply slows the process and limits short term wide fluctuations.
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Re: Potatoes are "stowed"

Postby Sharon Bryson » Nov 01, 2008 6:12 pm

We are "blessed" with a sandy soil, so the drainage issues are not important. Other parts of NS would definitely need to have the issue dealt with.
The digging without "heroic aids" is also enhanced.

The frost will go quite deep here, depending upon individual winters. Some years we get lots of snow, and no ground frost to speak of.
The layer of dry leaves extends quite a distance from the pit area, so they prevent frost penetration in the immediate vicinity.
We have used both dry leaves , and straw with equal efficacy.

We don't usually bother "accessing" in the dead of winter.
April seems to be a good time.
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/0903/ ... tatoes_08/
Cheers
Sharon
Antigonish, NS Zone 5b

"The fairest thing in nature, a flower, still has its' roots in earth and manure."
- D.H. Lawrence


http://sharon-willowgardenmusings.blogspot.com/
http://www.willowgarden.net/
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Re: Potatoes are "stowed"

Postby DonnaZn2SK » Nov 02, 2008 1:25 am

Durgan,

I seem to recall reading a book that had plans for a cold storage unit that could be put in the garage. It was made of plywood and had some sort of insulation to it. I would need something like that if I had potatoes and carrots to store over winter. It's not really an issue for me since the carrot crop was a bust and we've used up all the potatoes!

Sharon,
Are the potatoes for eating in April and May, and then the extra for seeding out in the Spring? You must have good cold storage facilities for the remainder of the crop that you use during the winter. I let some Yukon Golds get a bit frozen in the garage one year...what a stink they produced! I've grown Norland before, but the last few years I've tried different reds like Viking and Pontiac. Is Norland best suited for your soil? I think I had some disease problems with that variety.
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Re: Potatoes are "stowed"

Postby Sharon Bryson » Nov 02, 2008 10:37 am

Hi Donna:
The potatoes are for eating! Last spring we were eating the previous season's potatoes until the end of June. They seemed to come through the winter exceptionally well.
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/0903/ ... tatoes_08/
The aim has never been to be self sufficient wrt potaoes, it just happens that they are a good "cover " or "intro" crop for places that haven't been brought quite "up to speed".
Sometimes we use some for reseeding, and sometimes we get new seed potatoes. The Pink Fir Apple have to be saved, since they are not readily available.
We really don't worry if we aren't using our own potatoes, so we do buy some throughout the winter(not many, though).
We can store some in our coldroom (depending upon WINE production!!), and some in our semi-unheated sunporch.
We don't make much effort to mush through snow to get them.
We have grown Norland for several years,and they seem quite worry free. Chieftain, is another red that does OK here. I have a hard time telling them apart.
Cheers
Sharon
Antigonish, NS Zone 5b

"The fairest thing in nature, a flower, still has its' roots in earth and manure."
- D.H. Lawrence


http://sharon-willowgardenmusings.blogspot.com/
http://www.willowgarden.net/
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Re: Potatoes are "stowed"

Postby earwig » Nov 03, 2008 7:33 am

I have been envying the root cellars of Newfoundland that were featured in Harrowsmith recentily. I don't need a large one and now I am thinking that I could manage one like Bill's. My problem is my soil is full of rock and any digging is painful.

But I have been filling up a hole that I discovered under my old trailer that was torn down recently. Luckily I have been filling it with plant matter and I think I could get that back out very easily, and even enlarge the sides.

I am looking for a place to store plant bulbs and if works for potatoes, it should work for dahlias.

Another spring project!
Betty
"The most serious gardening I do would seem very strange to an onlooker, for it involves hours of walking round in circles, apparently doing nothing." --Helen Dillon
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Re: Potatoes are "stowed"

Postby gibbos1 » Nov 06, 2008 10:44 am

Wow this is a great read, so different from here in UK.
Do you know of many people that use root cellars/holes in Calgary?

never tried growing pink fir apple before, do you think it could be grown in pots/containers??

Enjoying the read and enjoying this forum, brilliant find. Thanks :D
carl
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