How to insulate a potato box on the balcony

Harvest storage

It is quite possible to store potatoes at home.
Why is it common in modern homes to store potatoes at home during the winter? Expanding supermarket chains offer a wide range of fresh vegetables, including several varieties of potatoes.

However, under industrial storage conditions, the quality of potatoes leaves much to be desired - often frozen and rotten tubers, emitting a putrid odor, are offered to buyers at a fairly high price. Very often, potatoes are grown on their own plots and dachas, so the issue of storing the crop is especially acute, especially if there is no cellar equipped.

In urban areas, it is possible to provide optimal conditions for potatoes in winter only on a balcony or loggia, where it is possible to maintain a certain temperature.

General recommendations

The most important criterion for preserving the taste of potatoes throughout winter storage is the correct choice of vegetable:

  • early potato varieties are not suitable for the chosen purposes;
  • potatoes must be dry. Wet potatoes are susceptible to rapid rotting and premature sprouting;
  • If, when purchasing potatoes, spoiled or dented or rotten tubers were found, then you should not take such a batch. The fact is that even one potato in a box can “infect” the entire stock;
  • The thickness of the peel is critical. The thicker it is, the longer the shelf life of a given batch, and the better all the taste of the product will be preserved.

For storage you need:

  1. Shake the tubers off the ground.
  2. Dry the crop. This is the most important stage of preparation. A wet vegetable is more prone to rotting. Drying is carried out on a warm day on a blanket in direct sunlight. You can do this at home by drying the root crop on the loggia or balcony. Excess moisture should leave the entire surface of the root skin.
  3. Sort damaged and unhealthy potatoes from whole ones. Healthy tubers can be stored, and those that are damaged can be hidden in the refrigerator and eaten as soon as possible.
  4. Place in boxes and bags and place in a suitable storage location.

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Basic requirements for equipment for winter storage of vegetables

It is necessary to store the harvest of vegetables in the winter, taking into account all the necessary requirements, so that the vegetables do not freeze in the cold or begin to rot in the spring, when the temperature begins to rise steadily.

Potato storage box design

List of basic requirements for storing vegetable products in winter:

  • The potato crop should be kept in a place insulated from the cold. Tubers should not come into contact with cold walls and floors.
  • The humidity in the storage should not exceed 40%.
  • Ensuring a flow of fresh air - without ventilation of vegetable storage areas, the high quality of stored products cannot be guaranteed. The influx of fresh air does not allow the tubers to rot and become rotten.
  • For potatoes, it is very important that the tubers are not exposed to sunlight or electric light, under the influence of which the tubers become green and a substance called solanine is formed in them, which has toxic properties. If the potato box on the balcony is heated by incandescent lamps, the lampshades should be dimmed.

Conditions for successful winter storage of vegetables

On glazed balconies it is easy to create almost ideal conditions for storing bags of potatoes. Although you should always remember the important rules for “wintering” a starchy vegetable.

Vegetable storage on the balcony

  1. Potatoes should be stored at a temperature of 2-6 degrees above zero. If the vegetable freezes, the process of rotting will quickly begin. If the room is too warm, the tubers will begin to dry out, lose their beautiful appearance, and the taste will deteriorate.
  2. Vegetables should be protected from direct sunlight or electric light. Often, to maintain the optimal temperature, containers with potatoes are heated using electric light bulbs. In such cases, the lamps should be covered with a metal sheet, a lampshade, or the potatoes should be wrapped in a dark cloth. Otherwise, under the influence of light, the vegetable turns green, produces a harmful substance, and such potatoes are not suitable for food.
  3. An important part of successful storage is regular ventilation. Lack of proper air circulation will cause vegetable savings to begin to rot very quickly.
  4. Air humidity is about 40%.

It’s not enough to grow a good harvest; the potatoes also need to be preserved. For those who live in their own home, this is not such a difficult task as for city dwellers who have to create suitable conditions in their apartment. We'll look at the best potato storage box designs that address this challenge.

Almost every private house has a basement adapted for storing vegetables and homemade preparations. In cases where the groundwater is located high enough, a separate bulk cellar is made, in which it is possible to maintain a constant temperature and humidity necessary for storing food supplies and planting material.

City residents have to use balconies, loggias, and garages to store vegetables and fruits. Sometimes, if conditions permit, special boxes are installed on the landing.

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Regardless of where the potatoes will be stored, the following conditions must be met:

  1. Direct light, neither natural nor artificial, should not fall on root crops. Exposed potatoes turn green, and a toxic substance, solanine, is formed under the skin, which is dangerous to human and animal health. Such tubers are left as seed material, in which case the dangerous alkaloid will work as a fungicide (a remedy for fungal infections) and as an insecticide.
  2. The ambient temperature should be between 2 and 3°C and the relative humidity between 80 and 95%. At temperatures above the recommended temperature, potatoes wither and sprouts appear, and when the thermometer readings are negative, the fruits freeze slightly, becoming sweet. The process of converting starch into sugar occurs.
  3. It is necessary to provide ventilation so that the tubers are ventilated: this measure will prevent the spread of infections and fungal spores, which are always found in the ground and on the peel.
  4. The fruits must be dry and clean. The collected potatoes are cleaned of adhering soil and dried in the open air. Healthy tubers without visible signs of disease are stored well.
  5. If you put a layer of beets on top, it will absorb excess moisture that is released when storing potatoes. This is beneficial for both root vegetables. Before storing the crop, the potatoes should be sorted and sorted. Medium-sized tubers, mainly late and mid-late varieties, will survive until spring.
  6. During storage, potatoes must be sorted if signs of rotting appear: an unpleasant odor is felt, fruit flies (fruit flies) fly. Not only spoiled fruits are removed, but also those nearby that may be infected.

Before using the cellar, the room should be cleaned and the walls should be whitewashed with a disinfectant composition based on quicklime. Disinfect boxes and bins with a solution of potassium permanganate (potassium permanganate).

The choice of container depends on the extent to which it is possible to maintain optimal storage conditions in a cellar, built under the house or free-standing. The cellar can be partially buried or completely above ground.

If in winter the cellar does not freeze, and in spring with the first rays of the sun the temperature does not rise, but remains within 2-3 degrees above zero, then root vegetables can be stored in wooden boxes or bins without additional thermal insulation.

A bin is a large box in the cellar, sometimes divided into compartments that are designed for storing vegetables. For potatoes, a lattice box is suitable, standing on a stand made of bricks or boards no lower than 20 cm; the sides of the bin should be no higher than 0.8–1.0 meters, so that it is convenient to collect tubers from the bottom.

You can make boxes for storing potatoes with your own hands, it’s not difficult, you just need to know how to use a hacksaw, hammer or screwdriver.

First, a frame is assembled from 50x50 mm timber, fastening the parts together with metal corners. Therefore, the design is strong and has even right angles. Then the bottom and walls are made: slats are nailed to the frame or attached using self-tapping screws, leaving gaps of 2 to 4 cm between them.

Fig. 1 shows a drawing of a box designed to store 15–20 kg of potatoes; Fig. 2 – photo of such a box.

Rice. 2

When installing bins or boxes in storage, you need to follow the general rules to ensure free air circulation:

  • wooden boxes or bins are best made from spruce or pine boards: resinous wood will last longer;
  • the storage container must be at least 30 cm from the walls, and at least 10 cm from adjacent drawers; there must be a space of at least 10 cm between boxes placed one on top of the other;
  • there should be a distance of at least 60–75 cm from the top row of drawers to the ceiling.

In cold winter, in order not to freeze the potatoes, you can cover the top layers with straw, burlap or old blankets and other warm things. It is very convenient if there is a heater in the cellar.

You can also store potatoes in nets and bags, placing them on wooden pallets so that the tubers do not touch the concrete floor and walls. Special plastic boxes designed for storing food with many ventilation holes are also suitable.

The townspeople are forced to store their harvest in their apartments. For this purpose they usually use a balcony, loggia or garage.

To store potatoes on a glazed balcony or loggia, you need a special insulated box that can protect the contents not only from cold, but also from heat.

The dimensions and shape depend on the amount of free space on the balcony. It is advisable that the volume of the box does not exceed 1 m³. A similar box can hold just over 300 kg of potatoes. It can be placed horizontally or vertically.

Potatoes are the second bread, and in many families not a day goes by without stewed, boiled or fried potatoes. But such appetites require an appropriate supply. In winter, potatoes in supermarkets and markets are expensive, often frozen and rotten, of poor quality; they cannot always be stored properly in a market or store.

But how to stock up on your own? After all, you always need to have potatoes in the house in winter, and in considerable quantities, and many already not very spacious apartments are not suitable for storing such a quantity of vegetables. City residents do not have the luxury of a cellar or basement, and not everyone has storage rooms in their apartments.

Storage conditions

A loggia balcony is an ideal way for a city dweller to store a large supply of potatoes “for the family” in winter. But how to store this product so that it retains all its beneficial properties, does not freeze from the winter cold, does not freeze and does not rot when the temperature begins to rise in the spring? There are several standard rules for storage on the balcony:

  • Potato tubers must be insulated and not come into contact with the cold walls of the balcony, otherwise frozen vegetables will begin to rot and the process will expand to the entire stock;
  • On the balcony, the potatoes should not be exposed to direct sunlight or electric light. If incandescent electric lamps are used for heating, their shades should be wrapped in dark cloth. Light should not reach the tubers: under its influence, the harmful substance solanine is produced, which makes the potatoes poisonous. Affected tubers are easy to recognize - they acquire a green tint. Such potatoes are not suitable for food;
  • The ideal air temperature for storing potatoes is approximately 2 to 7 degrees. A slight increase or decrease in the indicator (within 0°C - 10°C) is also tolerated normally if the vegetables are stored under such conditions for a short time. And if it’s hardly worth waiting for more than 10°C in winter, then storage on the balcony will not help at sub-zero temperatures. Styrofoam, cardboard, rags will come to the rescue;
  • Ventilation must not be neglected. Without proper air circulation, the potatoes will freeze and begin to rot. It is better to store vegetables in containers with holes, wooden boxes or cardboard boxes that allow air to easily pass through. It is also necessary to monitor air humidity - it should not exceed 35-40%.

We are building a storage facility

The ideal option for preparing potatoes for winter storage is to dry the tubers at a temperature of 14-17°C for 6-8 days, not allowing direct sunlight to fall on them. Immediately after purchase, the vegetables may be damp, and among them there may be some that have begun to rot and are affected by disease. The sooner you find such tubers, the better; it is better to leave them for cooking and store them as strong, healthy ones.

How to arrange balcony storage beautifully and conveniently? There are several options.

  • Build the structure with your own hands. If you are sure that you will use the box for more than one year, start building shelves or a tall box from wood and clapboard. The inside can be lined with polystyrene foam and lined with foil - this will help retain heat better. Potatoes should avoid contact with the cold concrete of the balcony, iron and stones, otherwise they will soon turn black from frost. To do this, place a bottom shelf in a closet or drawer. The space between it and the floor serves as a kind of air cushion. If there is little space on the balcony, and you need a lot of storage space, then the box is made not standing, vertical, but horizontal - then on its lid you can lay bedspreads and pillows and arrange a sofa bed or bench that will be used in the warm season;
  • Heated chamber. If the balcony is poorly insulated and in winter you feel all the charm of Russian frosts, the box should be heated. To do this, internal and external chambers are constructed (essentially two boxes of different sizes), between which polystyrene foam, construction foam and other insulation materials are placed. The same polystyrene foam, sawdust, cardboard or rags are placed on the pallet, which prevents the potatoes from coming into contact with the floor. Inside the box there are wires connected to ordinary household light bulbs. The switch from them is connected to the apartment. The lamps should be turned on every day for 4-5 hours. Little electricity is wasted, but the potatoes are exposed to dry heat, warming the box from the inside. Under such conditions, vegetables will not freeze even at -15°C – -25°C. A hairdryer is also suitable instead of light bulbs - it also provides dry heat;
  • Old refrigerator. For those who cannot build a camera on their own, old things will come to the rescue. An excellent chamber will be made from a non-working refrigerator - especially since the thermal insulation in it has already been established. All that remains is to install the old friend instead of the box and remake the lid into an ottoman. A new element of the balcony interior and storage for vegetables is ready;
  • Wooden or plastic boxes. If the crafts didn’t work out, and the old refrigerator was thrown away a long time ago, ordinary wooden and plastic boxes of the kind that vegetables are sold in in stores will do. They allow air to pass through perfectly, and for warmth they are separated from the wall with polystyrene foam and cardboard boxes. Cover the top with an old cotton blanket. Don't forget that the boxes should be placed on wood, cardboard or another layer that insulates them from the cold concrete floor.

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A layer of insulation will save potatoes from spoilage.
Maintaining the optimal temperature in vegetable storage is of particular importance. At what temperature is it preferable to store potatoes in winter? The best temperature for storing potatoes should be from +2 to +7 degrees. Minor fluctuations in indicators do not harm vegetable tubers stored for storage. The potato harvest begins to deteriorate when the temperature drops below 0°C and rises above +10°C.

If there is a sudden drop in temperature (constant temperature changes), you can store potatoes in cardboard boxes or wooden boxes, wrapped in warm blankets, lined with sheets of thick foam.

Drawer for vegetables: how to make proper storage with your own hands

How to store potatoes on the balcony in winter so that the tubers do not lose their entire supply of nutrients before spring? A possible option is to make a special storage facility similar to a cellar. A box for storing potatoes on a balcony in winter (closed, insulated) must be made according to certain dimensions, which are individual.

A homemade stall will help preserve the harvest throughout the winter

A potato box made to size can serve as a storage area for vegetables, as well as serve for a number of other purposes (resting place; stand for bulky items).

It is most advisable to store potatoes from environmentally friendly materials, which include wooden boards, thick plywood, and lining.

To make the frame of the box, a wooden beam is suitable; insulation of the storage for the vegetable harvest is done with foam plastic and thermal insulation film. When making a box for potatoes, it is important to provide free space under the bottom wall; it is necessary to isolate the bottom row of potatoes from contact with the concrete floor slab.

The design of the cabinet is provided depending on the conditions of a particular balcony or loggia - it can be floor-mounted, or it can be made with vertical hanging on the wall.

A horizontal box can be covered with old blankets or something else, turning it into a piece of upholstered furniture.

How to store potatoes in an apartment with an open balcony? In this case, the box is made similarly to the previous model, but in order to preserve the tubers without frostbite, it is worth providing for heating the box with electric lamps in the most severe frosts.

Watch the video on how to build a vegetable storage box with your own hands.

Compatibility factor and other nuances

Storing potatoes at home creates additional difficulties. The temperature in the apartment is much higher than optimal, the air is usually dry.

When storing potatoes at home:

  • bags made of natural fabrics in three layers are used as containers;
  • storage is arranged near the window, in the coolest place;
  • the window is left ajar;
  • using curtains, they direct air flow onto bags of vegetables, lowering the temperature and providing ventilation.

It is very difficult to store potatoes in an apartment, so it is advisable to use additional means for processing the tubers. For example, add dried mint leaves at the rate of 5 grams. herbs per 1 kg. vegetables

It is not recommended to store potatoes in a running refrigerator. There, conditions are created for the conversion of potato starch into sugar, as a result the product acquires an unnatural sweetish taste. Fortunately, this process is reversible. You just need to store the potatoes in the correct conditions described above and give them two to three days.

Regular boxes and plastic containers

Wooden and plastic boxes are most often used to store vegetables. Their advantage is that the vegetables are distributed in a thin layer. The boxes themselves can be stacked on top of each other on small legs, allowing air to circulate freely.

For such containers, the correct storage temperature in the room is important. At temperatures down to –2°C, covering with old things: blankets, rugs, jackets is enough.

Heated box

If you don’t plan to buy a heating cabinet in the near future, you can build a heated container yourself from a double box with insulation between the walls.

Heat transfer can be provided by small 15-watt light bulbs installed inside the box. In this case, the potatoes must be completely isolated from light so that the synthesis of harmful solanine does not begin.

The second heating option involves installing a plastic pipe through a specially cut hole. A hair dryer is connected to the pipe, supplying warm air and at the same time performing the function of a ventilator.

You can automate the switching on/off of equipment using a thermal relay installed inside the box.

Using an old refrigerator

An almost finished heating cabinet is made from an old, unusable refrigerator. Thermal insulation of the walls of such a unit works on the principle of a thermos.

Storing potatoes in an old refrigerator:

  1. The refrigerator is placed on the balcony with the door facing up.
  2. The bottom is covered with burlap.
  3. Add vegetables.
  4. Another layer of burlap is placed on top to absorb condensation.
  5. Periodically, the potatoes are ventilated, sorted and mixed, swapping layers.

The box is the most common design. It is made like a thermos, that is, it consists of two boxes - internal and external - between the walls of which insulation is installed. In addition, the box is equipped with a heating element, a mini-fan to ensure air circulation and a relay to automatically turn off the heating.

It is preferable to use 50*50mm wooden blocks and 10mm thick plywood as the main material, and insulate with polystyrene foam or extruded polystyrene foam. We select the thickness of the insulation based on the following considerations:

  1. thick insulation will “eat up” more space, but will more reliably protect the contents from freezing
  2. on the other hand, the vegetable storage will be heated, so the lack of insulation will be compensated by electricity consumption

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The optimal option is 10 cm for harsh winters (-25°C), 5 cm for milder climates (-10...-15°C).

Advice: if you glaze, insulate and sheathe the inside of the balcony, you will need a thinner layer of insulation, and the balcony will become more comfortable.

The correct temperature in the vegetable storage will be ensured by a heating element (Ilyich light bulb). The optimal location would be below, at the bottom. Then the air circulation would be natural. But this solution has two significant disadvantages:

  • firstly, a significant space would have to be left under the bottom of the inner box. On the one hand, this would complicate the design, on the other hand, for equal capacity the structure would need to be made larger.
  • secondly, you need to provide easy access to the heating element. After all, in the event of a breakdown, we need to quickly repair the unit so that our vegetables do not freeze. The location below the bottom will significantly complicate the repair process

Therefore, you will have to abandon the lower position of the lamps, and solve the circulation using a fan.

In addition, an important point is to ensure high humidity. Since the air temperature outside the box will be sub-zero, you should not expect that such air will be able to release a lot of moisture. Therefore, the only source of moisture is what evaporates from the vegetables themselves. Therefore, it is necessary to preserve the microclimate of the vegetable storage as much as possible. In this regard, our design provides for circulation inside, practically without attracting external cold air.

So, having determined the dimensions of the structure “on the ground,” we make the frame of our outer box from the bars. We connect the bars with furniture corners. Then we go through them with an antiseptic.

We line the walls and bottom of the box with plywood. To cut off the cold coming from the floor, we make legs for our box from timber. It is recommended to raise the bottom by 5-10 cm. We first glue the insulation to the walls, then lay it on the bottom. We seal joints and leaks with foam.

We take measurements inside the outer box with insulation. We make the inner box in the same way.

As a heating element we use 40 W incandescent lamps in the amount of 2 pieces. We will place them at the top edge of the box in opposite corners. To do this, we drill holes for the wire and mount two ceramic sockets to the sides. Use ceramic cartridges to avoid melting during long-term use. The easiest way is to install ones like those in the photo below.

We use a small cooler for a computer processor or similar as a fan.

Automatic relays are easiest to use ready-made factory ones. For example, the Iskra-300-B microdevice. As you can see, you just need to secure it with screws, install the tail with the sensor in a box, connect the wires from the lamps and the fan to the “load” tail (we hang all the loads in parallel), and plug the device into a socket.

Pay attention to the fan voltage. Most likely you will need to connect it through a step-down transformer. We place the device sensor in the coldest place at the bottom. This is one of the bottom corners where there are no lamps at the top. We install the devices inside the box, and lead the wires from them through holes in the plywood inside.

To prevent the potatoes in our vegetable storage from turning green, we need to protect them from direct light from the lamp. To do this, you can use blue or black factory-made or self-painted lamps, or simply wrap the lamp in thick foil.

We sew up the upper end of the box with plywood. We make the lid: we cut out the plywood to the size of the top of the outer box. We glue the insulation, stepping back from the edges of the lid to the thickness of the walls of the structure. We install the lid on the hinges. If the insulation does not allow the lid to close, lightly grind it off with a knife.

The box is ready.

The top of the lid can be covered with soft felt, foam rubber, etc. and cover it with fabric. So our vegetable storage will turn into a convenient bench for the summer.

The storage box for potatoes is a legacy of Soviet times, when there was no choice of materials. We had to sculpt, as in the song, “from what was...”. (It was made of uninsulated boards and placed in the entrance, remember?) In fact, it is much more convenient to arrange vegetable storage in a vertical cabinet, and store potatoes and other vegetables in lattice boxes on the shelves.

The design of the cabinet is similar: two boxes - external and internal, and insulation between them. But there are also peculiarities.

  1. Firstly, you can place a heating lamp at the bottom. Since the door runs the entire height of the cabinet, nothing will interfere with access to it. This will also eliminate the need for a fan.
  2. For more uniform heating, we install one lamp at the bottom, the second at the level of the middle of the structure.
  3. The depth of the cabinet must be linked to the size of the storage drawers. Therefore, it is better to buy them or make them in advance.
  4. The cabinet frame must be able to withstand the operating load.
  5. It is better to use boards as shelves, installed so that the edges of the boxes rest on them, and there is a gap in the middle. This will facilitate air circulation and make the air temperature in the box more uniform.
  6. Don't forget that the closet door will be insulated. Therefore, the shelves need to be moved away from the edge of the walls by no less than the thickness of the foam.
  7. To prevent the cabinet door from opening, install two bolts - at the top and at the bottom.

That's probably all.

Do-it-yourself vegetable storage on the balcony is a convenient and budget-friendly option for winter storage. Save the harvest until spring, and see you on the blog.


Our article today will be relevant for residents of apartment buildings whose dacha is located far enough from home, and it is unlikely that they will be able to run “quickly” and pick up a net of potatoes or onions. Also, this topic will be interesting for those who do not have a summer house at all, but need to store food somewhere.

You can, of course, buy vegetables in small quantities in a store or at the market, so to speak, “for one time,” but especially in winter they are quite expensive there and, moreover, may turn out to be rotten. Therefore, it is better to take care of the winter menu in advance and stock up on vegetables in the fall - fewer problems and a good saving of your time and money.

Photo selection of ideas

Plastic boxes

Is it possible to store potato tubers in ordinary plastic boxes if the size of the balcony does not allow making a wooden container? This option is acceptable for closed balconies and loggias. When arranging storage for potatoes in plastic boxes, it is important to provide a wooden pad with insulation, which is placed under the bottom of the lower container.

The boxes are insulated with sheet foam, old blankets, cardboard, clean and dry potatoes are poured into them - this is the answer to the question of how to store potatoes in plastic containers.

How to insulate an existing box

Only a box made of wood can be insulated. It should be made of boards or plywood. The tools you need are a screwdriver and self-tapping screws.


  • insulation materials: sawdust, polystyrene foam or wood shavings;
  • pieces of fiberboard or chipboard according to the size of the frame.
  • boards.

Manufacturing instructions:

  1. If the box is lined with plywood on both sides, then add insulation between them.
  2. Secure it on top with a sheet of plywood to size.
  3. If the container is made of boards, then build the same box, but smaller, and place it inside the larger one.
  4. Fill the space between the large and small boxes with insulation.
  5. Make a lid on top; if this is not possible, cover with warm clothes or a blanket. You can cover it with straw.

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