Potatoes in the Basement

Our basement is our root cellar, among other things.  Because of all the potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions and garlic spread around the floor on tarps, it’s hard to navigate down there.  I love being able to go downstairs and come back up with potatoes we grew.  I just had some of them for breakfast.

When I was a little boy there was a building on my Grandpa’s farm that we called the “potato house.”  I well remember getting up potatoes and putting them there for storage.  I also remember my Granny sending me out with a basket to bring some in for cooking. Our basement serves as our potato house.

It’s important to let potatoes fully dry and cure for storage.  We spread ours out and use box fans to dry them for a couple of weeks.  After they’ve cured it’s best to put them in crates or mesh bags and keep them somewhere dark.  I haven’t done that with ours yet and some are starting to sprout as a result.

By early spring they’ll still be edible, even if starting to get a little spongy.  Potatoes have kept homesteaders fed through winter for a long time.  It’s important to save enough of them for planting in the spring. Seed potatoes are something you should only buy once.

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10 comments on “Potatoes in the Basement

  1. Bob Braxton says:

    Seed potatoes
    something you should
    buy only once

    In Kenya, Njoro town Orphans and Vulnerable Children programme has a “chicken project” where guardian family of an orphan are provided a rooster and five hens for laying eggs which can be sold for 15 Kenya shillings each, perhaps in one week a flat of thirty eggs with selling price of 450 Kenya shillings. This is supposed to give supplement to income. We surveyed the homesteads (shamba) when there briefly (no more than one week) in August, 2013.

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  2. Potatoes and carrots are in a shed near the house, in boxes, with sacking to cover – letting air in, keeping light out. We had to buy both this year, but are fortunate that local farmers are more diligent that us, and can provide is with a winter sized quantity of good quality. I too will traipse out there on an almost daily basis with a bowl or bag to pick and choose what we’re having for supper.

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  3. shoreacres says:

    I just love that line – “Seed potatoes are something you should only buy once”. It seems to me that must apply in a multitude of circumstances. It’s something to think about – what else would go on that list?

    At my grandmother’s, we called it the cave. It held home-canned goods as well as potatoes, onions, cabbage and such. I have a two part pressed-glass relish dish of Grandma’s that always came out for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I washed it the other day, and tasted in my mind the cave-goodies that went into it – watermelon pickle, spiced crabapples, bread and butter pickles. Oh, my. It’s not Proust’s madeleine, but it’s a fine Proustian moment!

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    • bobraxton says:

      I am about mid-way through reading Proust (seven vols.) in French – total two thousand four hundred pages – loving the reading.

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    • DM says:

      That line about only buying seed potatoes once also jumped out at me 🙂 I’ve tried to apply it to raising chickens but have not had much success. Can’t get the hens to sit on their eggs and hatch them.

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      • Bill says:

        What breeds do you have? The brooding instinct has been bred out of a lot of chickens.

        But we have plenty of hens that go broody and still don’t hatch many chicks. I’m sure it’s more our fault than theirs.

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    • Bill says:

      It’s best not to get me started on things we should only buy once…

      I love that you’ve held on to your grandmother’s dish. It’s important, I think, that we hold onto things like that.

      At my great-aunt’s it was literally a cave. She dug it out underneath her house and stored all the same things your grandmother kept in her “cave.”

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