Gardening: Expert shares tips for storing potatoes
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As the UK enters June, there are a plethora of crops that can start to be harvested, including potatoes. New potatoes are the earliest to crop in June and July, according to BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, but can’t be stored for long. Gardeners who attempt to grow potatoes can run into a variety of problems.
Pests like slugs can be a cause for concern, especially if the potatoes are grown under black plastic.
Potato blight, a fungal disease that turns the foliage yellow, can also cause the tubers to rot.
Avoiding growing potatoes in the same soil can help stop a build up of pests and diseases.
Often, when you store potatoes at home in certain conditions, they can end up rotting. So how can you stop this happening?
Deputy Editor of Gardeners’ World Magazine Kevin Smith said you can stop your stored potatoes from rotting by following these simple tips.
He said in a YouTube video for BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine in 2016: “There are various things you can do to stop your stored potatoes rotting.
“When lifting them from the ground, leave them on the soil surface for two or three hours so the skin can set and dry.
“Do get rid of any damaged or diseased tubers, removing surplus soil.
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“Then store your crops in paper sacks in a well-ventilated space.
“Stand the sacks off the ground with gaps between to allow airflow and ventilation.
“Avoid storing your potatoes in a warm place, as this makes them respire, and water evaporation leads to a build-up of moisture in the sack.”
You can begin to harvest early potatoes from now to July.
The best way to know if they’re ready to be harvested is by checking the size of the potatoes.
If you gently put your hand in the soil and feel for the potato, they should be the size of a large hen’s egg.
The potato plant will also still be flowering at this point.
If your potatoes are the correct size, cut the potato plants to the ground before then prising the plants out of the ground with a fork.
Make sure you wash and scrub your potatoes before preparing to cook them.
You should never eat them raw as they contain a chemical called solanine.
Solanine develops when potatoes are exposed to light and is found in species of the nightshade family.
The chemical can cause stomach upset, nausea, vomiting and headaches, according to Healthline.
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