Your potatoes are chitting in the shed and there is a hard frost, what do you do? How to tell if your potatoes have been ‘frosted’? Can you use seed potatoes effected by frost?
A cold frost in late Winter/early Spring can catch any gardener out. Around this time potatoes are usually chitting away in the shed, so what to do if you discover your potatoes have been ‘frosted’.
If there is a forecast of frost, especially one which lasts more than a day, it is best to transfer the seed potatoes into your house. But what happens if you’ve forgotten or didn’t get to the shed in time to move them – is there anything that can be done?
I keep my seed potatoes on the bookshelf on the landing upstairs.
How do I know if my seed potatoes are effected?
Seed potatoes which have been hit by a frost will be soft when you touch them, like pressing a sponge. They will have darker areas over the potatoes as if they have been dipped in water. If the whole potato it dark I would throw them out but the majority will only be effected on one side, therefore I would try to save the seed.
How to Save ‘Frosted’ Potatoes
If there continued to be a threat of frost I take the potatoes home and put them on a South-facing window. If not, I’d use a cold frame in the garden. The idea is to dry the potatoes as much as possible. In the cold frame I place them on a few layers of newspaper, make sure they aren’t touching each other, cover with another layer of newspaper and close the lid. The sun will slowly dry the potatoes but don’t forget to take them indoors overnight, repeat this for a few days until the potatoes are dry. The same with the windowsill method.
Can I still plant ‘Frosted’ Potatoes?
You can still plant these seed potatoes but the yield will be slightly smaller than usually.