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cousinjordo
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Location: Middle Tennessee - Zone 7B

Storing Potatoes/Onions/Sweet Potatoes...with no cellar!

This will be my first year growing these three in enough quantity that I will have plenty to store. However, I don't have a root cellar or basement. Crawlspace is sealed and dehumidified (stays roughly 70* and 45% RH down there year round).

SO, how have ya'll done it in the past? Any ideas for curing and storing the three subject root crops? I know there are different methods for each, but I'd just like to get a conversation going and get different thoughts out there of people who have dealt with it.

Being in the South with high humidity through September just seems like this will be a challenge....but I'm new to it, so surely someone has great ideas!

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jal_ut
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Re: Storing Potatoes/Onions/Sweet Potatoes...with no cellar!

Mature onions are best dried and bagged in mesh bags and hung up. Potatoes are usually stored in a pit or root cellar. Here I don't have a root cellar, but can store some potatoes in the garage in buckets for a few months. The garage won't freeze until we get those sub zero temps in January or February. I have dug a pit large enough to hold a wheel barrow of potatoes and put them in the pit and covered it up. They will keep this way till spring. You go dig up the pit when you get some decent weather in late February. Sweet potatoes? No clue, they won't grow here. Too short of season.

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

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cousinjordo
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Location: Middle Tennessee - Zone 7B

Re: Storing Potatoes/Onions/Sweet Potatoes...with no cellar!

Hanging onions inside in climate controlled area? Or can you bag and hang in the garage?

I had planned on doing that in tubs in the garage with potatoes, just curious how it would work. Your air is much drier than my TN sticky humidity! :hehe:

I'll probably eat those sweet potatoes fast enough anyway we could just store them in our pantry once they cure. We go through sweet taters like pudding through a goose!

Vanisle_BC
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Re: Storing Potatoes/Onions/Sweet Potatoes...with no cellar!

jal, are those carrots together with the potatoes in your pit; how does that work out for you? (for them)
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I couldn't dig a pit here - it would become a reservoir. But I suppose an above-ground mounded affair could work. Would it have to be well-protected from rain?
The terms of political discourse are not models of precision. - (Noam Chomsky)

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Allyn
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Re: Storing Potatoes/Onions/Sweet Potatoes...with no cellar!

I'm watching this thread with interest because I'm in the same boat. Intensely hot and humid summers, very mild winters and if I were to dig a pit, it would fill with water because the water table is so high (which is why we don't have cellars here).

I'm exploring the option of sinking a trashcan to use as a rootcellar.
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(image source:saveourskills.com)

or an old freezer or refrigerator:
Image
(image source:inhabitat.com)

Because of the intense sun, I'd like to try the refrigerator/freezer kind and bury it in the woods behind the house so it has plenty of shade all day. I'm still not sure the sun won't heat the interior. Did I mention how hot and humid it is here five months of the year?

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Gary350
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Re: Storing Potatoes/Onions/Sweet Potatoes...with no cellar!

Here in TN we can not have a root cellar or a refrigerator in a hole not even an ice chest in a hole, root cellar will fill up with water the frig and ice chest will float up out of the ground like a boat during the rainy season. My Grandparents had a root cellar in Illinois I wish I had one. The best I can hope for is an extra storage refrigerator in the garage and a large pantry for 250 mason jars.

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jal_ut
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Re: Storing Potatoes/Onions/Sweet Potatoes...with no cellar!

"jal, are those carrots together with the potatoes in your pit; how does that work out for you? (for them)"

Yes, carrots and potatoes. When I do these pits, I put 10 inches of soil over the potatoes. That puts it deep enough it won't freeze. Of course I can't go out any time and grab a few taters, but along in late February I will go dig up the pit. At that time the potatoes and carrots look just the same as the day they went in the pit. They keep very well like this.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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digitS'
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Re: Storing Potatoes/Onions/Sweet Potatoes...with no cellar!

I do carrots, parsnip and celeriac this way. A good pile of pine needles on top, completes.

For some reason, I've never put potatoes in there. They go in a cellar.

Do a Google image search for "potato clamp." The term is common with UK gardeners.

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: Storing Potatoes/Onions/Sweet Potatoes...with no cellar!

Could you just store them in a chest type cooler above the ground? Or in a crawl space? What about an outside freezer above ground? Would the freeze in that, or would the insulation in the freezer be enough to keep them from freezing?
Lindsay
Upstate, SC
USDA Zone 7b/ Sunset Zone 31

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