Winter Garden Storage of Vegetables

Your winter garden storage of vegetables, those that are grown underground and the harvesting of them are now. Winter garden storage, after harvesting vegetables, starts with a washing but it needs to done gently so they do not get bruised or the skin gets damaged. After washing make sure they dry thoroughly before storing. Carrots, onions, potatoes, turnips, and winter squash generally will be able to handle a mild frost but should be harvested before a heavy frost sets in.

The winter garden storage of carrots and turnips can be together. You want to trim the tops of these root crops to about one inch and then layer them in vegetable storage containers of moist sand. Store the container in a cool humid place that is between 32 and 40 degrees for 4-5 months. If the temperature gets to 45 degrees they will begin to sprout and become very woody. Once the sand starts drying out, sprinkle the container with a little water to keep them moist. This moisture will prevent them from shriveling. Beets, rutabagas and winter radishes can all be stored in the same manner. When it is time to start using these vegetables be sure to wash them in warm water.

You have probably already harvested your garlic and onions. Once they have dried for about 3 weeks you can store them in a mesh type bag in a dry but cool location at around 32 degrees. Storing vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, endive, celery, and kohlrabi can be in a moderately moist location at 32 to 34 degrees.

Potatoes, winter squash, gourds, and pumpkins all need to be cured before storing to prevent them from rotting. Curing will harden the skin and heal any cuts they may have acquired. The curing takes place in a moist location at a temperature between 60 and 75 degrees for at least 2 weeks. After this curing has been complete store them in a dark location, so they will not turn green, at 34 to 40 degrees for 4 - 6 months. Sweet potatoes on the other hand need a curing between 80 and 85 degrees for about ten days and then can be stored between 50-60 degrees for 4 - 6 months.

In order to store winter squash you need to cut them off the vine and let them stay outside for a few days to cure. It is best if you select the unblemished ones for long term storage. Next place them in vegetable storage bins, on several layers of newspaper, in a dry room, and store between 50 to 60 degrees. You want to check every so often for mold; if any have turned moldy or soft discard them. Acorn squash does not need to be cured before storing, but can be stored in a dry place between 45 and 50 degrees. Unfortunately acorn squash will quickly decay at or below 40 degrees.

To harvest fall beets it is best to do so before the first moderate freeze. When getting ready to store beets, wash first and trim the tops to about 1/2 inch, and store in perforated bags for refrigerator storage. They can also be stored in vegetable storage bins in a cool moist basement where the temperature is between 32 to 40 degrees F. and the humidity is between 90 - 95 percent. The storage life is anywhere from 2 to 4 months.

In order to wash your harvested vegetables, place a bushel of vegetables in a slotted container and submerge it in a tub of water. Soak the vegetables for about 10 to 20 minutes until the soil has softened, then lift out and tip the container to tumble the vegetables. If any soil is remaining you can spray with water. Remove the vegetables and place in another container to allow them to drain and dry. After this has been done for about an hour the vegetables will be ready for storage. The winter garden storage of vegetables is not a difficult task; the hardest part is going to find the right place to store them.

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Published on November 15, 2009 at 03:22 AM | Comments (0)

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