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Short-Term Storage

By August 28, 2014 December 8th, 2015 Harvesting, Nutrition & Cooking, Uncategorized

Storage crops can last through the entire winter, allowing you to eat from your garden in the coldest months. Below are the very basic rules for storage of a few different common storage crops.

If you’re interested in learning how to store other crops, just let us know in the comments section below.

Beets, Carrots, and Turnips

If the leaves are removed and the veggies are placed in a plastic bag, these three root veggies will store for a very long time. The best conditions are 90% humidity between 38-42 degrees. Store them in a drawer in your refrigerator with higher humidity.


For long-term storage, wash the potatoes and set them on newspaper to air dry for about two weeks. This allows the tubers to “cure” by toughening up the skins. Store them in a paper bag or box at 40-50 degrees. *If you have a very large crop of potatoes, they will store longer if left unwashed.

Winter Squash

Winter squash stores best when left on the vine until the entire plant has died back. Harvest the fruit from the vine once the stem is easy to break, and try to leave 5-6 inches of stem on the top of the fruit. Once the fruit has been harvested, wipe it clean with a damp rag. Some people even dunk it in a bath of diluted bleach water (1 part bleach to 20 parts water). This will kill any remaining fungal and mold spores that are on the fruits surface. Dry off your squash and store it in a cool, dry location. Ideally, cure it in 70-75 degree temperatures for two weeks before storing in cool location. Winter squash have been known to store for incredibly long periods of time. *If you picked the fruits before the vines were dead, it’s very important to cure the squash in a warm, dry location for 2-3 weeks before putting them in cool storage. A room with a south facing window should work fine.


Once the tops of the onions fall over, you can pull them from the soil. If the weather is dry and sunny, simply pull the onion from the ground and lay it on top of the garden bed to cure in the sun for 3-4 days. If the weather is wet or cool, lay them in a dry, warm location to cure.

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  • Nancy says:

    Great tips – thank you! Here’s my tip regarding carrots and parsnips and rutubagas. I leave them in the ground where they were planted and then mulch them heavily with leaves, several inches deep. Then, when I need some more to eat, I pull back the mulch and dig them out. Sometimes the ground is frozen so I have to wait until a thaw, and I do lose a couple of roots to critters in the soil. But this method is easy, does not require precious refrigerator space, and keeps the veggies fresh and juicy. In fact, it has become a tradition here to have fresh parsnips at Easter dinner. Cool, huh?

    I also leave kale and leeks in the garden as long as possible, usually through November and December some years. The key is heavy mulching. The frosts seems to sweeten the kale’s flavor. The kale is biennial and will come back in the spring for early greens, too.

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