Storing your Summer Harvest for Winter

All summer we get to enjoy our bounty from the garden; fresh lettuce, spinach, peas, and beans. Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy some of your harvest through the winter? Here is a list of 13 vegetables that you can enjoy well into the winter.

Potatoes: Once foliage has died back leave in ground for 2-3 weeks this hardens your potato skins. Dig up your potatoes. DO NOT WASH. Store potatoes in the dark 36-40 degrees with 75-95% relative humidity. Consider storing your potatoes in burlap sacks, baskets, or wood crates. Don’t store potatoes with ethylene-releasing crops such as apples, and onions.

Good storage potatoes are: Yellow Finn, All Blue, Red LaSoda, Desiree, German Butterball, and Russian Banana.

Storability: 6-8 months

Carrots:  If you don’t have trouble with rodents you can store your carrots in the ground with some mulch over top of them and harvest when you need them. To store your carrots inside dig up your carrots before the ground has frozen. Cut off the tops close to the carrots. The foliage depletes the carrot of moisture and nutrients if kept intact which will shorten your carrots shelf life. Layer carrots in a box with sand making sure not to use beach sand as the salt can dry out your roots.

Good storage carrots: Bolero, Chantenay, Danvers, and Lunar White.

Storability: 4-6 months

Beets: Just like any other root crop, you can store these in the ground over winter with mulch over top. To store inside, harvest beets after a few days of dry weather. Dig up, and cut off greens. Brush off the loose soil. Layer in moist sand, or peat moss, making sure your beets don’t touch one another. Store in plastic container or wooden box making sure sand keeps moist. Make sure the sand stays moist.

Good storage beets: Early Wonder Tall Top, Detroit Dark Red, and White Albino.

Storability: 3-5 months

Cabbage: It is best to harvest cabbage after the first frost. Pull plant from ground and trim the outer leaves on the head. When storing cabbage from your garden remember not to wash cabbage until you are ready to use it for cooking. Red cabbages tend to store better than green cabbages. Wrap cabbage heads in newspaper and place on shelves.

Good storage cabbage: Red Express and Golden Acre.

Storability: 3-4 months

Parsnips: Storing parsnips is like storing carrots. Store in the garden with a layer of mulch or store indoors, remembering to cut off tops and layer in a box with damp sand or peat moss. Make sure parsnips are not touching one another.

Good storage parsnips: Harris Model and Turga

Storability: 2 months

Rutabagas: Layer in a box with sand or peat moss. Keep moist. Store in dark cold and moist conditions. 32-40 degrees with 80-95% relative humidity.

Good storage rutabaga: American Purple Top

Storability: 2-3 months

Leeks: Keep leeks in garden until hard frost make sure you mulch prior to. After hard frost dig them up. Use a tall bucket and store leeks in the upright position in moist sand or peat moss. Remember to keep soil damp throughout the winter. Leeks like dark cold environment with 95% humidity.

Storability: 3-4 months

Celery: Harvest celery when stalks are about 8 inches tall. Storing celery is similar to storing leeks. Put in a tall bucket with moist sand in the upright position. Keeping sand moist throughout the winter.

Good storage variety: Tall Utah

Storability: 1-2 months

Turnips: Store turnips the same as storing parsnips and carrots.

Good storage turnip: Golden Globe and Purple Top White Globe

Storability: 3-4 months

Garlic: In order to get your garlic to store properly you must cure your garlic. For storage, hang your bulbs in netted sacks with good air circulation on all sides. Perfect storage conditions are 45-55 degrees Fahrenheit at 50% relative humidity. Storage below 40 degrees actually makes garlic sprout faster.

Good storage garlic: Italian Late, Nootka Rose, and Silver Rose.

Storability: 8-10 months

Onions: After harvesting your onions set them out on a screen or hang them in a covered shed out of sunlight. Keep well ventilated and let dry for 10-14 days. Your onions will be nice and cured when the skins are papery and the roots are dry and crusty. Cut onion tops off. For storage, hang your onions in netted sacks with good air circulation on all sides. Store with your garlic for best storability.

Good storage onions: Yellow Rock, White Ebenezer, and Copra.

Storability: 5-9 months

Pumpkins: Harvest pumpkins before hard frost. Light frost is okay. Leave 2-4 inches of stem intact. Without stems pumpkins are more prone to spoiling. Cure pumpkins at 80-85 degrees F for about two weeks. Best stored in room temperature conditions with plenty of air flow.  For optimum storability wipe pumpkins down with olive oil this keeps the moisture.

Good storage pumpkins: Howden, Sugar Pie, Jack-O-Lantern, and Cinderella.

Storability: Up to 6 months.

Squash: Store and cure squash the same as you would pumpkins.

Good storage squash: Sweetmeat, Delicata, Bitteroot Buttercup, Gold Nugget, Baby Blue Hubbard, and New England Blue Hubbard.

Storability: Up to 6 months.

Remember you don’t have to have a root cellar or basement to store your vegetables. You can modify spaces such as a garage or a shed. You can also learn to can and freeze your vegetables to enjoy them through the winter!