Prep and storage of seed potatoes

Hi, there.

We had a nice crop of fingerling potatoes that we got from Quebec. We have set aside 23 lbs to use for seed next year. We have clay soil and so I am wondering if I should brush off the dirt before storing them in paper bags. This got me wondering about what is the best way to store seed potatoes. Any advice on how to do this?


Potatoes for eating, I am told, should be stored at 7°C. Seed potatoes can be stored at a cooler temperature which may cause some starches to convert to sugar, but since they are being planted and not eaten, that will be fine. So, a cold cellar may be okay, and something like a “beer fridge” might be even better. Humidity should be quite high, but not damp enough to rot them.

As for cleaning them, a lot of people say not to do it. However! Potatoes I have washed and thoroughly dried before storing have always done better for me than uncleaned potatoes. I would absolutely let them dry and brush them off - really very thoroughly - at the least before storing them. Paper bags or cardboard boxes are a good choice for storage as they breath a little.

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I don’t think you should brush them off too much (unless there’s a LOT of it on them). By doing so you may end up damaging some of them, then they’ll run a good chance of spoiling before planting time arrives. Most importantly, don’t wash them!

For storage, cure them first for a few weeks, then double check them for signs of early spoilage (and remove those), then store them in a cool (7-10 deg. C), dark, and high humidity spot (basements or cold cellarswork pretty good for this) in aerated bins or boxes.

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Jennifer is right, you can store them as low as 2-4 deg. C if they are for planting, just don’t let them freeze!

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