User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Digging Potatoes

Whew! Glad to have that project done. Got a workout.

Image

From one plant:

Image
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

DoubleDogFarm
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 6113
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:43 am

Re: Digging Potatoes

Pass the butter James I'm digging in.

So, Are all the potatoes large or are some the right size for planting whole.

Nice harvest.

Eric

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Digging Potatoes

Most are large. There was a few small ones.

I don't like to plant whole potatoes. Too many eyes, too many plants = small potatoes. I like to cut the potatoes with two eyes per piece for planting.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
vegetablesteve
Full Member
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:55 pm
Location: Belgium

Re: Digging Potatoes

Nice job, you make me hungry. I can imagine this kind of work gives quite a workout.
well done.

greets,

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 28047
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Digging Potatoes

NICE HAUL :D Are you selling some of these or will you store the excess in THE PIT?
Is it almost time to dig that already?
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Digging Potatoes

I will take some to market.

Yes, it is time to dig the pit.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

DoubleDogFarm
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 6113
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:43 am

Re: Digging Potatoes

James,
Have you ever thinned plants before. If your seed piece produces more stems than you like could you just cut some off. Would they just grow back.

I just plant, hill and harvest. Never really thought about stems versus production.

Eric

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Digging Potatoes

Each eye on the potato makes a plant. Plant the whole potato, you may get six or more plants. Each one develops a root system. All of this within a couple of inches of each other. Lookin rather crowded, don't you think? Would the plants do better separated by at least 12 inches? This is the theory behind cutting sets with only one or two eyes on a piece. Hey, you can give it a whirl next year.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
bryce d
Cool Member
Posts: 92
Joined: Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:00 am
Location: Northern Utah, zone 6b

Re: Digging Potatoes

would someone explain the "pit" for me?
If I don't answer quickly I'm out in the garden picking morning glory.

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Digging Potatoes

Image

The "PIT", is just that. Dig a pit and put your taters and carrots in it and cover it up with soil. OK to put some leaves over it too to help keep the cold out.

The temperature of the ground a foot underground remains pretty constant all winter. The moisture in the soil keeps the produce from dehydrating. Potatoes and carrots will keep till spring in a pit. You can dig some up anytime you want if weather permits. I have kept cabbage in a pit too. I like to wrap it in paper then put it in the pit. If you have a piece of canvas or carpet that you can put over the veggies before throwing the dirt on, it makes it a bit easier to get some from the pit when you dig it up.

Any root crops keep well in a pit.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

evtubbergh
Green Thumb
Posts: 532
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:52 am
Location: South Africa

Re: Digging Potatoes

That is awesome! You have inspired me to put some potatoes in a container. I think I shall build a wooden box this weekend and plant some beautiful red potatoes that I bought the other day.

wysteriangnome
Cool Member
Posts: 63
Joined: Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:03 am
Location: So.Cal/Zone 7 WesternGarden

Re: Digging Potatoes

We will make a pit too! Never knew that. Gramma kept them in her cellar under canvas.

Beautiful potatoes, they look huge.

:)

User avatar
bryce d
Cool Member
Posts: 92
Joined: Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:00 am
Location: Northern Utah, zone 6b

Re: Digging Potatoes

if you put a piece of carpet over the veggies. Could you put other stuff in also like, butter nut squash? I have about forty of them and they will never keep in the basement. how about apples or other stuff.
If I don't answer quickly I'm out in the garden picking morning glory.

DoubleDogFarm
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 6113
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:43 am

Re: Digging Potatoes

You have to be careful with Apples, with the other stuff. Apple produce Ethylene.

Eric

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Digging Potatoes

I don't think squash would do well in a pit. They would likely get moldy.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 28047
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Digging Potatoes

I believe winter squash should be stored in "warm" (I.e. not chilly or freezing) dry space. So basement is not suited (and not the pit either). Have you ever read the Little House books? Pumpkins were stored in the attic where Laura and Mary used to play.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

User avatar
Gary350
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5226
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:59 pm
Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

Re: Digging Potatoes

jal_ut wrote:Image

The "PIT", is just that. Dig a pit and put your taters and carrots in it and cover it up with soil. OK to put some leaves over it too to help keep the cold out.

The temperature of the ground a foot underground remains pretty constant all winter. The moisture in the soil keeps the produce from dehydrating. Potatoes and carrots will keep till spring in a pit. You can dig some up anytime you want if weather permits. I have kept cabbage in a pit too. I like to wrap it in paper then put it in the pit. If you have a piece of canvas or carpet that you can put over the veggies before throwing the dirt on, it makes it a bit easier to get some from the pit when you dig it up.

Any root crops keep well in a pit.
When I lived in Tennessee I often though of doing something like the pit. One year I dug a hole and lined it with bricks like they do a hand dug well it stayed full of water all winter. With 300 days of rain every year in TN the garden was often covered with 2" of water for 6 months. During cold 15 degree weather the water and soil would freeze 8" deep. Not much snow in TN but plenty of cold and rain. I never tried the pit I did not want to risk loosing my crop in all that water. I can see how the pit will work fine in a geographical location with less rain and well drained soil.

My cousin that lives in Illinois dug a hole for an old junk not working refrigerator to lay on its back. His pit is a refrigerator laying on its back. All you can see is the refrigerator door sticking up above the ground. Open the door and there are all the vegetables. I am not sure how well his refrigerator works but I can see doing the same thing with a wooden box with no bottom and a well insulated door.

Ohio Tiller
Green Thumb
Posts: 463
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:39 pm
Location: Ohio

Re: Digging Potatoes

My grandparents used to have their pit in the barn. My Dad used to have to go out every day and dig up what ever potatoes grandma wanted for that day, They used to put layers of straw between the potatoes.
I made some fresh French fried taters for lunch today nothing better than fresh fries.

I wish I had a root cellar!

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Digging Potatoes

I just dug my pit for this season. Whew! It is a project to dig a hole that size. Remind me come spring to make some concrete sides for it so it can be permanent and won't need to be dug again.........

I am surprised at myself for not doing this sooner....... or maybe a root cellar?

Problem is, I can't see spending too much to preserve a couple sacks of taters.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

billw
Cool Member
Posts: 67
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:12 am
Location: WA
Contact: Website

Re: Digging Potatoes

The fancy agricultural term for this is a "clamp". Pit seems more descriptive, but there you have it. You can also build a mound if you have high ground water. If you live in a mild winter climate, this is also known as a Habitrail.

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Digging Potatoes

The fancy agricultural term for this is a "clamp".
I am sorry, but the term "Clamp", near as I have been able to tell describes a pile of potatoes on top of the ground and covered with straw and plastic. Unfortunately such a set up will not keep the potatoes from freezing in climates like I have here. The winters are cold with temps down to minus twenty or lower some years and I have seen it be below zero for three weeks at a time. The frost penetrates when this happens. Water lines are put over 3 feet below grade in this country to prevent freezing.

The potatoes in my pit will be 14 inches below grade and then I will add some insulation over that , leaves or straw. If we get snow, as we usually do before zero Temps, then that also adds insulation. I have never had my potatoes freeze in this kind of pit, in spite of our nasty weather.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

billw
Cool Member
Posts: 67
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:12 am
Location: WA
Contact: Website

Re: Digging Potatoes

Gotcha. No mounding - you just backfill and call it good? I wish I could do that. Too much ground water here.

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Digging Potatoes

Ya, if you have ground water you can't do this. I am fortunate in that I have 26 inches of silt/clay then under that is gravel. No water in the gravel layer so any surface moisture is free to go on down, not fill up the pit.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Digging Potatoes

Image
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”