We eat a lot of potatoes here – there are two teenagers in our household- need I say more? I had grown a couple of potato plants here or there as I had room over the years as my vegetable garden overtook the flowers, but as soon as I had space, I planted more. We ate them as “new potatoes” in the summer and then had great fun harvesting them in September (more later about the method I use – no digging and clean harvest – it’s great!).
However, I stared at four 5-gallon buckets full of organic potatoes (these days, worth a lot with no idea how I was going to store them. I searched my gardening books and the internet and came up with these options:
1. Cool basement (not in this house)
2. Root Cellar (hey-we live in the West – I don’t know anyone with a root cellar!)
3. Bury a plastic trash bin in the ground with the lid at ground level (dig 4 feet down? Uh…I don’t think so)
4. Make an above-ground “root cellar” with straw bales and plastic (too complicated, not to mention sounds like an eyesore)
5. Build a cold storage room in your garage (no garage at the time, and build a whole room for a few potatoes?)
Honestly, I couldn’t find anything easy or within my abilities. I actually was a little discouraged and started thinking about all the dishes with potatoes in them I was going to have to make over the next few weeks…
Then I read somewhere online about someone putting some potatoes in a cooler (the kind you take camping) for about a month. I thought, well, if they don’t last longer, it’s still better than nothing. So I found our old cooler out in a shed:
And loaded it with potatoes. In September. It was about 3/4 full that first year. I kept it out in the shed and would go “shopping” for potatoes whenever I needed them. They lasted until the middle of January! The last ones were starting to sprout a little, but they were still good. I’ve since learned you can choose varieties that store better and I also now use up the varieties first that aren’t good storage potatoes.
So today when I when out to get some potatoes for dinner this is what I found: