Dry tubers! Help!

maxyckFebruary 16, 2014

Last fall I wrapped my tubers in newspapers and put them in paper bags in a cold part of my basement. I checked them in January and they looked fine. Yesterday I checked three and the tubers looked dried out. I put them in water overnight. Today I took them out and they looked and felt a bit better. I plan to let them dry and wrap them again. I have to check a dozen or so of other tubers. Did I do the right thing with the first three? Any help is appreciated. Maxyck

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Storing tubers in newspapers in dry winter climates will dry out tubers. Soaking them this time of year is probably not a good idea. Instead put the tubers into a plastic bag and they will not dry out any more. Plastic bags preserve moisture levels. The tubers you soaked are now going to have to be dried out again before putting into plastic bag. By the way tubers that are stored in dry conditions do a lot better than tubers stored in wet conditions. They should be dried after digging and dividing and then stored in a plastic bag with some vermiculite. Second best is wood shavings or peat moss.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 12:30PM
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Ted is a pro, so his advice is absolutely sound. However I have had much better luck with the sulfur/saran method of storing. It does take longer than Ted"s method.

After digging the tubers I let them dry out for 3-4 days in my garage. I then divide them, brush off any dirt that is left, write the name on with a sharpie, dust them with horticultural sulfur (shake and bake style) and wrap each one individually in saran wrap. Then I just pile them in boxes which are stored on the concrete floor of my work room in the coldest area. Last year I lost 3 out of about 225 to rot, which is pretty damn good.(and they were little pencil necked things anyway).

I have found that if they are in sealed plastic bags. condensation happens which then drips back onto the tubers and can cause rot. Maybe I just didn't have enough vermiculite in there, but since switching to sulfur/saran, I lose almost none.

When it comes down to it - it is better to have tubers that are a bit dry and shriveled, than to have them turn to mush. If you can keep them from continuing to dry out they should be fine.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 3:34PM
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Thank both of you for your help. A question or two. Should I put anything in the plastic bags other than the tubers? Seal them? Use a plastic bag for each?
I will make sure the three I soaked overnight are dry. Don't want mold. Any further help will be great. In about a month I'll begin to try to get some eyes showing. I have lights setup in that section of my basement where I grow other seedlings that I start in a warm room. Maxyck

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 8:10PM
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Try re-reading those posts - Ted uses vermiculite in the bags (and I am sure he doesn't bag each separately) - I don't like using plastic bags at all.

If you are using bags - seal them, your tubers are already drier than you want them.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 7:58AM
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