Ask a Question forum: storing potatoes

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Name: tk
murchison texas (Zone 8a)

Tomato Heads
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texaskitty111
Mar 13, 2014 8:32 PM CST
I planted potatoes today, and hopefully I get enough to store this winter. I was thinking my storm shelter would make a great root cellar. But, I'm concerned because of this recent story about rotting potatoes giving off toxic fumes. Nowhere could I find how to prevent these fumes from building up. Do they rise, or stay near the floor? My storm shelter has ventilation tubes so I'm hoping the gasses rise. It also didn't say how long it takes to render a person unconscious, or if the toxins can be absorbed thru the skin. I suspect it is fast as these poor people followed each other one by one into the basement, and no one came out.

These are what I got:


Thumb of 2014-03-14/texaskitty111/2ffc38
Purple majesty




Thumb of 2014-03-14/texaskitty111/a3f506
Daisy gold



Thumb of 2014-03-14/texaskitty111/37081a

Russet norkotah

Cauliflower is just a cabbage with a college education (mark twain)
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Mar 13, 2014 8:37 PM CST
http://www.catalyticgenerators.com/whatisethylene.html
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: tk
murchison texas (Zone 8a)

Tomato Heads
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texaskitty111
Mar 14, 2014 11:06 AM CST
But I think the gas potatoes produce is solanine or chaconine. Anyone know if these gasses rise or sink? If they sink, they will stay in the storm shelter.
Cauliflower is just a cabbage with a college education (mark twain)
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Mar 14, 2014 11:44 AM CST
I don't think solanine is a gas. Isn't that the green stuff that forms on potatoes that are exposed to light?
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: tk
murchison texas (Zone 8a)

Tomato Heads
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texaskitty111
Mar 14, 2014 12:01 PM CST
It may be, but that's supposedly toxic too. Those were listed as gasses from rotting potatoes.If you want to read the article I'm talking about, just Google - Toxic potato fumes.

Cauliflower is just a cabbage with a college education (mark twain)
[Last edited by texaskitty111 - Mar 14, 2014 12:17 PM (+)]
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Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
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greene
Mar 14, 2014 12:06 PM CST
It's ethylene gas. Try reading this one which talks about storage of various vegetable foods and their need for ventilation.
http://freeaire.com/unexpected-freeaire-system-benefits-ethy...
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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growitall
Mar 15, 2014 10:27 AM CST
If the potatoes are rotting, the storage conditions aren't right. Perhaps you could just check occasionally and remove any potatoes that might be rotting... I think you'd certainly know it, since there are few smells as penetrating and pungent as a rotten potato!
I can't imagine that the smell of rotting potatoes could be ignored long enough in a house to let enough potatoes rot that a dangerous level of gases could actually accumulate! Confused I wonder, if your area is too warm to store them properly, maybe they'd just have to be refrigerated??
When I was a kid at home (Saskatchewan), we dug the potatoes, let them dry on the ground outside, then hauled into the basement unwashed and stored in open bins. The basement was dirt (house dating from early 1900's) and unheated. It didn't freeze down there and was perfect for potato storage through the very long winter - dry and cool with air circulation and there was no rotting. Some sprouting would start towards spring, which was fine, as those were used as seed potatoes.
My first experience with rotten potatoes came much later while living in an apartment and storing a big plastic bag of potatoes in a closet... then wondering where the funny smell was coming from, tracking it down to the bag of potatoes, and then just about getting knocked over by the stench when I opened the bag to extract the rotten one! Big Grin
Name: tk
murchison texas (Zone 8a)

Tomato Heads
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texaskitty111
Mar 15, 2014 10:38 AM CST
I planned to do that, holding breath. The victims were in Siberia, don't think it gets too warm there, but maybe their basement was. The gas must be fast acting, as no one came back upstairs, and each person who went down to check on the previous person died too.
Cauliflower is just a cabbage with a college education (mark twain)
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
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Joannabanana
Mar 15, 2014 7:37 PM CST
Be sure to have a barrier between cement & the potatoes. The sack are not enough of a barrier. If you can put them on a wooden skid or something that would be good. Do you have power in there? Maybe run a fan for air movement
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
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greene
Mar 15, 2014 7:40 PM CST
First she needs to wait for the potatoes to grow as they have only recently been planted. Plenty of time to research.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: tk
murchison texas (Zone 8a)

Tomato Heads
Image
texaskitty111
Mar 15, 2014 7:47 PM CST
Ha greene, since my garden has so far been somewhat unproductive, I guess I'm pushing it growing potatoes. All of the veggies " even a child can grow" fail here under my care. I'm optimistic this year though. I think I've improved the soil. Everyone please keep their carrots crossed for me.

Joannabanana, my shelter is some kind of plastic insert. Yes, we can put a fan in there, and blow fumes up the ventilation shafts.
Cauliflower is just a cabbage with a college education (mark twain)

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