Growing and caring for potatoes is not an easy task. The harvest does not end there. You need to know how to properly save it in the winter. One of the most important factors is the optimal storage temperature of potatoes. To create good conditions in the cellar, you must take into account the characteristics of the variety, hidden diseases and many other factors.
Temperature for storage of potatoes in winter
Requirements for vegetable stores
Far from all farmers manage to store vegetables at home without loss of quality indicators. To understand how well all requirements are met, a thermometer and a moisture meter must be installed in the cellar.
The optimum temperature for storing potatoes in winter is 2-4 ℃ above 0. When the temperature drops, the potato becomes sweet. Increased humidity in the room leads to the formation of mold on the walls and the multiplication of fungal diseases of tubers.
The optimum moisture content of 80%, a decrease in this indicator leads to drying out of the roots. The vegetable store should be equipped with an elementary ventilation system in order to be able to regulate the storage temperature of the potatoes. To increase the temperature of the air in the basement, you can with the help of bottles of warm water, arranged around the perimeter of the walls. Potatoes can be covered with cotton blankets or burlap. To reduce the rate of moisture in the basement set sandbags or lime.
Increased humidity is achieved by spraying water from the spray gun onto the walls. In order not to look for a way to correct the problem, you must initially choose a place for storing potatoes and equip it in accordance with all requirements:
- to insulate in the basement of the wall with insulating material;
- equip ventilation;
- ensure the integrity of the floor and walls in the basement, so that rodents could not get into the room.
If the seed in the winter released sprouts, they need to be removed. But this is not the end of the story. You can stop the growth by lowering the temperature to 1-2.
Which varieties are suitable for storage
Even if the temperature of the storage of potatoes in the vegetable store is normal and the moisture index is not exceeded, the roots can deteriorate. The fact is that not all varieties of potatoes can be stored for a long time. Most of the early varieties have low rates of keeping quality.
Optimum terms of preservation of potatoes, depending on the periods of aging:
- early and middle early - 2 months;
- late - 8-12 months.
To date, many varieties of potatoes have been bred, which during early ripening can be stored throughout the winter without any problems. Basically, these are Dutch and German hybrids. Choosing a new seed potato, you need to take into account all the breeding characteristics that describe the keeping quality.
Only healthy root vegetables can be stored.
Before placing vegetables in the cellar, you need to consider the conditions in which they were grown:
- soil type;
- the presence of diseases;
- the content of potassium and nitrogen in the soil.
Even if the optimum temperature for storing potatoes in the basement will be maintained, it will be meaningless if the rules of agricultural engineering are not followed. During the rainy season, the keeping quality of potatoes decreases steadily by 50%, it becomes watery and loses its taste. Vegetables grown on fertile or sandy soil will be much better preserved. Applying a sufficient amount of potassium and nitrogenous fertilizers allows you to get a crop with high levels of keeping quality.
Another important factor that affects the preservation of potatoes, are all sorts of diseases and pest damage. Moreover, even careful sorting of root crops does not guarantee the detection of all infected fruits. Many fungal spores and pathological microorganisms that cause viral diseases can persist in tubers for a long time without showing themselves.
Before harvesting stocks for the winter, you need to not only take into account the temperature at which the potatoes are stored and create all the conditions in the vegetable store for this, but also take care of the health of the plants. Preparation for warehousing begins long before harvest. For example, mowing the tops before harvesting roots, reduces the risk of infection of tubers with various viruses and fungi. Very often, harmful microorganisms live on foliage and stems. During digging, they fall on the tubers and begin to progress in the wet environment of the vegetable store.
Mowing begin to harvest 7-10 days before harvest. During this period, the tubers ripen in the ground. The peel becomes coarser, so it is not so quickly damaged when dug out. Potatoes before storage in the basement must go through several stages of preparation.
After digging up, root crops should not be immediately bagged. During the entire growth period, the potato is under certain conditions of moisture, is exposed to various influences of microbes, so you need to hold it 2 hours outdoors in the sun. After this procedure, the entire harvest should be moved under a shed or spread out in the attic.
Dug potatoes should not be bagged
The optimum temperature for storing potatoes in the attic is 13-18. In such conditions, the potatoes are kept for 2 weeks. When the temperature drops, it is recommended to extend the treatment period for a week. Before laying in the cellar for the winter of seed material, it must be greened. Potatoes are left in a well-lit room for 7 days or 2 days outside, in direct sunlight.
Hardening of tubers and sorting
Temperature difference can reduce the quality of potatoes. Before laying in the cellar for the winter, the tubers need to be prepared for lower temperatures. During the treatment period, the temperature is gradually reduced from 13-18 to 2-4. The hardening procedure allows you to slow down the chemical processes in the tubers and prepare them for storage in the winter.
In order to be able to store root vegetables for a long time without loss of quality indicators, it is necessary to protect it during the entire period of treatment against increasing humidity. Do not neglect the stages of preparation before laying the root crops in the potato storage. Subject to all the rules, the quality of potatoes can be maintained until spring.
At what temperature to store potatoes, it will not matter if you do not carry out preliminary preparation of the room.
- The room in which the potatoes are to be stored must be sanitized beforehand. All walls, stairs, shelves and flooring should be treated with a solution of manganese or copper sulfate. Then the room should be ventilated to reduce the humidity and normalize the temperature.
- If the number of potatoes is not too large, it is stored in bulk, without the use of containers. This method of storage has a significant disadvantage: in the presence of 1 rotten tuber, you can lose most of the crop. It is best to use wooden pallets, so that the roots are not in direct contact with the floor. In this case, the potatoes will be ventilated from all sides.
- Many farmers believe that it is best to store roots in wooden boxes, bags of natural material or nets. In such conditions, the roots are well ventilated and even with the appearance of a rotting hearth, the losses will be minimal.
Storage in the apartment
Not every summer resident has the opportunity to grow potatoes in his own area and store them in the basement separately. Many buy potatoes for the winter and store it in an apartment. At what temperature to store potatoes in the apartment? In the home, it is unlikely to be able to maintain the temperature within 2-4 ℃.
If possible, you can equip the pantry with air conditioning. This will allow to control the microclimate in the room and store any kinds of root crops. At home, it is better to store potatoes on the glazed balcony. Ideally, potatoes should be stored in wooden boxes. You can also use bags or nets, but then you have to cover the roots with blankets so that they do not freeze in winter.
The preservation of the harvest depends largely on what the temperature and humidity in the vegetable store will be. The optimum temperature for storing potatoes is 2-4 and the humidity level is 80%.
In addition to compliance with these conditions, the potatoes need to be prepared for storage. Before laying in the cellar, root crops must go through several stages of preparation, which include treatment, hardening and sorting. How long a potato will be stored depends largely on the variety selected. Many early varieties retain their quality indicators only for 2 months after harvest. Compliance with all the rules and stages of preparation allows you to save up to 90% of the total crop.