The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Growing => Vegetables => Topic started by: Fleecewife on September 07, 2010, 11:53:55 am

Title: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: Fleecewife on September 07, 2010, 11:53:55 am
Now it's harvest time in the veggie garden, I'm wondering how everyone stores theirs.  I freeze a lot and make preserves, but it's the potatoes, beetroot, carrots, onions and so on that I always have problems with. 
I have tried various methods with potatoes - they have to be hanging up or the wretched rodents get them, but then the frost gets them instead.  We don't have the mythical 'frost free shed', in fact even the inside of the house isn't totally frost free in the coldest depths of winter.  Last year we left some tatties in the ground and they survived when the ones hanging up in hessian sacks were all frosted.  Onions and other alliums I tend to store in the kitchen, but there's not really room. Squashes are stored in the hall, where it's cool.   I haven't had beetroot to store before but this year there are so many that I will have to try storing them in sand, but don't know how to keep the rodents away.  Yes we trap and poison them and we have a cat and terriers, but there's always a sneaky one which finds our stored foods.
Has anyone used a clamp for storing potatoes and if so how did you keep the rodents out.  Is it a nuisance opening the clamp every time you need some tatties?
Where do you hang your onion strings?
 
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: Samantha on September 07, 2010, 04:59:58 pm
Hey there ...

Clamping is a good way to store root veg... put a layer of sand in a box .. put in veg... pack with more sand .. rinse and repeat until the box is full .. should help keep root veg nice for quite a while ... I know some other stuff you can "Heel in" into the soil but don't know what you can do it with apart from leeks lol

Sam
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: northfifeduckling on September 07, 2010, 10:48:38 pm
Potatoes can be frozen when cooked or par boiled.  I don't have much freezer space, so I'll try the sand box for root veg this year, does the sabd have to be moist or dry? Does it matter what kind of sand? :&>
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: Mo on September 08, 2010, 07:54:31 am
Can't help with the rodents, sorry.
We hang our onions/garlic in the garage - useful as hanging space is the ony space left in there! We've also hung them in the workshop before. And I do bring a string of each into the kitchen to keep them handy.
We thought of the sand storage this year but we don't really need to because we have the freezer space.
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: Samantha on September 08, 2010, 09:00:55 am
funny enough I picked up the tip from Jamie .. and it was just regular builders sand (sharps sand i think he called it) and it was just put in and kept dry

I have a large chest freezer which i can usually fit most things into but I use this for when I run over ... Let me know how it works out for you :)

Sam 
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: Fleecewife on September 08, 2010, 11:22:53 am
I have two chest freezers and two uprights  ::)  The chest freezers are full of sheep  :D  The uprights are full of stored veg (beans and suchlike) and fruit, so there is no room for the kind of thing which can be stored easily by another method. Our sheds and workshop are not frost free at all.  One year I stored a huge crop of potatoes in sacks surrounded by straw bales - it kept the frost out but not the mice, and it was such a nuisance to take it to bits then build it back up every time I needed more tatties. 
For the potato clamp, I meant the kind you build outside on the ground, in a big mound with straw and packed earth, and a vent hole in the middle.  From my experience last year with the tatties left in the ground surviving minus 15 temps whereas the stored ones were frosted, I think the clamp might be worth a try, but it would just be one huge feast for every mouse and vole in the neighbourhood.  I think it's Bob Flowerdew (brilliant name) who uses old freezers to store crops in - trouble is, I don't have any old freezers  :D I expect to have about 100 plants worth of tubers to store, and they cropped heavily this year, so it's quite a lot of spuds !
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: OhLaLa on September 30, 2010, 07:47:30 pm
Mostly in the freezer. Potatoes hung up in nets in a cold dark room. Onions on strings outside in one of the darker outbuildings.

Then of course chutneys etc.

Love the way the Victorians did it all but I've so much to organise it's one of those things I've never managed to achieve.....

 :'(
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: jennie on October 04, 2010, 11:06:59 am
Nice tip given by fleecewife.
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: Womble on October 04, 2010, 01:03:08 pm
trouble is, I don't have any old freezers 

How about Freecycle?  Surely somebody must have an old knackered chest freezer or fridge that they'd happily see the back of?  (Incidentally, our old chest freezer is now a hot composter, which works exceptionally well seeing as it is so well insulated.)
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: northfifeduckling on October 04, 2010, 01:44:27 pm
tell me more , womble! :&>
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: Hermit on October 05, 2010, 08:14:51 am
I only work on the croft so plenty of time this time of year for doing a chest freezer full of soups, sauces, ready chopped onions in portion sized bags etc. I also pickle and jam veg. Last year I left alot of veg such as carrots in the plot and they survived well untill spring when they started to throw another growth off! I do not store out of ground as we are too damp up here . They did used to clamp a lot up here but now rats are in Shetland I would not risk it.
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: OhLaLa on October 05, 2010, 10:09:00 am
.........I think it's Bob Flowerdew (brilliant name) who uses old freezers to store crops in........

Interesting but I don't quite understand how the old freezer thing works. When a fridge or freezer is turned off they go horrible and mouldy, musty and smell really unpleasant.

 ???
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: egglady on October 21, 2010, 02:31:28 pm
i'd imagine it's just a case of keeping the lid open, filling it full of old compostable stuff, kitchen scraps and paper - same as normal compost and then just leaving it to rot down.  becuase of the structure of the freezer, i would think it owuld compost quicker as the heat can build up better.  actually now i think about it, i imagine the lid would be down from time to time too
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: Anke on October 22, 2010, 09:45:18 pm
We have the same problem with our tatties and carrots. My onions this year were tiny - to many weeds early on and too dry in June... Our potatoes are in sacks in our hallway/vestibule as in the garage the mice will get teh - btw can mice fly? evenm when we put things so out of reach that they oculd only get to them by doing backwards somersaults they still get there!!! - Carrots are in sand in the polytunnel, found mice didn't get into those last year (but the frost did!!!). So we are planning to build a mesh (v fine mesh) cupboard using some of our old IKEA shelving for the garage...

Freezers are full of  meat, fruit, goats milk and peas etc, no space for anything that could possibly be stored otherwise...
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: doganjo on October 22, 2010, 10:35:05 pm
Beetroot is easy - boil, slide the skins off, chop, put in sterilised jars, fill with vinegar, put lid on!
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: langdon on October 22, 2010, 11:18:34 pm
hi sam  ;) clammping sounds good but what do you mean exactly by rinsing after putting sand over veg?
surley not pouring over water just to repeat the same again?
not trying to be smart ere, just interested in the same thing as we got loads.
thanks langdon :farmer:
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: northfifeduckling on October 23, 2010, 09:28:32 am
mice (and rats) are amazing acrobats on the lookout for food - I watched one in our kitchen last year walking up at the side of the shelf, then jumping onto a bag I had on the top hook where I hid the kids' chocolates! On its way it had nibbled at several cookery books from the back  >:( So much for storing high...Now everything is in glass jars or metal boxes, but beware of the tiniest gap under the lid - they can squeeze into holes the diameter of  pencil! I was quite cross with the cat at the time , a brilliant mouser outdoors, useless in the house ;D :&>
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: Blonde on March 05, 2011, 07:39:30 am
hanging onions and garlic in the shed is ot a problem  but you  need to put a tin plate above the onions and have a tiny whole thorugh it so you can  put the wire and then when the rodents come down the wire they land on the tin plate and dont get to the produce underneath.  The Italians use this method  kwhen they are doing their sausges and this prevents vermin form getting to them 
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: ballingall on March 05, 2011, 08:39:32 am
Fleecewife- I know this now a while ago you were talking about this- but I do have a spare chest freezer that isn't working if you are still looking for one.


Beth
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: Fleecewife on March 05, 2011, 12:08:58 pm
Thank you Beth but I found a sneakier place to store the potatoes - in the granny flat (in hessian sacks on a tarp).  It's cool and frost free, and my aunt (not granny) doesn't use it in the winter - and what she doesn't see she won't know about  ;D.  It has worked well this winter for tatties, but I lost all the beetroot still in the ground when the hard frosts hit so early last year. (doganjo - OH doesn't like vinegar with his beetroot - prefers it freshly cooked  ::) ). 
Carrots I left in the dry ground in the tunnel and most have survived very well and are still edible - just a few left to eat this weekend. Rodents didn't get them, nor frost, but a few dried out too much to use.  The rest still taste wonderfully carroty  :yum:

Onions just freeze in the shed.  I like the tin plate idea although I think our vermin are too acrobatic for it to work 100%.  I had a slightly different problem with the alliums this year in that although I dried them thoroughly in the sun, and cleaned them up before storage, quite a lot didn't make it to January as they developed mould/rotting under the skins.  A few were at the necks, but mostly fairly widespread under the top layer of skin - which looked ok until I cut into them.  This applied to shallots as well as onions, but not garlic which has been excellent.
For the onions, I had tried growing them through black weed suppressing fabric and I wonder if that somehow contributed to the rotting.  I am doing the same this year but I will be more diligent at making sure the holes are big enough so the onions are not hiding under the fabric, rather than on top which they should be.

So, another year and another go at finding the best storage methods - I love it  :love:

Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: Blonde on March 05, 2011, 01:14:09 pm
Thank you Beth but I found a sneakier place to store the potatoes - in the granny flat (in hessian sacks on a tarp).  It's cool and frost free, and my aunt (not granny) doesn't use it in the winter - and what she doesn't see she won't know about  ;D.  It has worked well this winter for tatties, but I lost all the beetroot still in the ground when the hard frosts hit so early last year. (doganjo - OH doesn't like vinegar with his beetroot - prefers it freshly cooked  ::) ). 
Carrots I left in the dry ground in the tunnel and most have survived very well and are still edible - just a few left to eat this weekend. Rodents didn't get them, nor frost, but a few dried out too much to use.  The rest still taste wonderfully carroty  :yum:

Onions just freeze in the shed.  I like the tin plate idea although I think our vermin are too acrobatic for it to work 100%.  I had a slightly different problem with the alliums this year in that although I dried them thoroughly in the sun, and cleaned them up before storage, quite a lot didn't make it to January as they developed mould/rotting under the skins.  A few were at the necks, but mostly fairly widespread under the top layer of skin - which looked ok until I cut into them.  This applied to shallots as well as onions, but not garlic which has been excellent.
For the onions, I had tried growing them through black weed suppressing fabric and I wonder if that somehow contributed to the rotting.  I am doing the same this year but I will be more diligent at making sure the holes are big enough so the onions are not hiding under the fabric, rather than on top which they should be.

So, another year and another go at finding the best storage methods - I love it  :love:


The other idea you can use is an old paint  tin lid, put two holes in the centre and suspend the vegies underneath it by the use of wire being  put thorugh the middle  holes and being tied by a length of say 18 inches from  rafters of the shed for garage.   Vermin dont go down the fine wire and land on the lid and they certainly dont get under the lid to the food below.  Sausages that hand all year to mature are fine at the end of the year and ready for human consumption
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: Hermit on March 07, 2011, 07:25:28 am
I have left the carrots in the ground again and they are still 90% good.
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: Blonde on March 07, 2011, 08:16:16 am
If you leave the carrots in the ground for too long they go woody and also go to seed.   You can for a short period of time that is fine,  better to sow a row and a few weeks later sow another row and as you use them up sow another row.
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: Fleecewife on March 07, 2011, 09:27:40 am
Carrots are ok stored for the winter in the ground in a tunnel where it is dry.  Once the foliage has died down for winter they don't deteriorate further.  Mine are just now beginning to sprout new growth so I need to use them or lose them  :D
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: northfifeduckling on March 07, 2011, 09:44:59 am
if I leave them in I tend to find only one's with lots of carrot fly holes...beetroot was all eaten by mice or similar - the foliage was still intact and lovely - but no root  >:( :&>
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: Blonde on March 07, 2011, 12:14:24 pm
if I leave them in I tend to find only one's with lots of carrot fly holes...beetroot was all eaten by mice or similar - the foliage was still intact and lovely - but no root  >:( :&>
Well you learn something everyday
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: Fleecewife on March 07, 2011, 03:04:33 pm
if I leave them in I tend to find only one's with lots of carrot fly holes...beetroot was all eaten by mice or similar - the foliage was still intact and lovely - but no root  >:( :&>

Probably best not to store them in the soil then, as you must have a carrot root fly problem (don't we all  ::)).  Leaving them in the soil will just provide an overwintering haven for them and they will be waiting in the spring to attack your new crops - grr!.  It's like with brassicas, where you still have last years crops in the ground when you are sowing the new ones, so pests can hop straight from one to the other.  I really only left my carrots in because the winter came so suddenly and so early this time that I hadn't had tiome to dig them up.  My beetroot were lost to frost before the mice could get them.  Every year I tell myself I will get it right next time - I might get that for my headstone  'she tried hard - maybe she'll get it right next time around' ;D ;D
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: OhLaLa on March 07, 2011, 03:49:44 pm
Carrot Root Fly - this is what I do and I get a nice carrot crop every time:

Plant the carrot seed using a raised bed (or container) system. Make sure the level of the soil is about 5" lower than the 'rim'. Carrot fly will miss the carrot bed totally. You will never have holes in your carrots again.

 ;)  :carrot:
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: ellied on March 08, 2011, 09:59:50 am
Has anyone managed to store their beetroots successfully over this winter without pickling in vinegar?  I want to plant a lot this year as they're one of my favourite veg along with broccoli, but I like it baked rather than pickled ::)
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: northfifeduckling on March 08, 2011, 10:02:05 am
I've not tried it but isn't the sand storage method supposed to work for all root veg? :&>
Title: Re: How do you store your crops for winter?
Post by: Hermit on March 09, 2011, 11:09:08 pm
I dont think cabbage root fly has got to shetland yet, I have never had a problem . They will be coming out for soup or the chooks now anyway as I need to prepare the bed ready for May planting.I dont freeze carrots as I dont like them , the last of the leeks went in the freezer so now I just have parsnips and cabbage to eat up from the garden