Potato Harvest and Storage

source: growingcuriosity.wordpress.com

The season for the harvest of potatoes in the United States begins in December in the early-crop sections of the south and continues throughout the year, winding up about Nov. 1 in the late-crop area of the North.  Harvest begins in Southern Florida, the December crop coming from early fall plantings of the current season, and proceeds to southeastern Texas and then to northern Florida followed by Louisiana, Alabama, south California, and Georgia. This covers the winter and spring season up to June.

Early potatoes of the northern late-crop area harvested in august, and the late crop is harvested in September and October. California, classed with the late-crop surplus states, harvest potatoes continuously from the beginning of the early-crop season to the end of the late-crop. Thus, somewhere in the United States, potatoes are being harvested and marketed almost continuously, and their distribution to every section of the country is fairly constant.

Practically all of the commercial crop is harvested with the elevator type of digger, horse-or tractor-drawn, which brings the potatoes out of the ground, shakes them relatively free dirt and vines, and deposits them in rows from which they are picked by hand into suitable containers and taken to storage or the market.

The important consideration in harvest is to avoid bruising or injuring the potatoes in any way, for injured tubers are discriminated against on the market and are far more susceptible to spoilage in storage.

A potato storage must be insulted to maintain even temperatures of 38o to 40oF. and ventilated to prevent excess humidity on the hand or a lack of oxygen on the other, and it must be dark to prevent the greening and spoilage of tubers that occurs if they are exposed to light. It is not advisable to store potatoes in bins in bins at a greater depth than 5 or 6 ft., nor should bins be larger than 12 by 12 ft. in floor dimensions.