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Natural Storage - Storing Root Crops in Boxes

DK PublishingDK Publishing 2/07/2014 DKBooks
Photo: Parsnips - Crops of parsnips are usually left in the ground until the first frost, which sweetens them. They can then be dug up and stored. © Provided by DKBooks Parsnips - Crops of parsnips are usually left in the ground until the first frost, which sweetens them. They can then be dug up and stored.

Parsnips - Crops of parsnips are usually left in the ground until the first frost, which sweetens them. They can then be dug up and stored.

Storing Root Crops in Boxes

Many root vegetables can be left in situ through the winter months, but it’s often more convenient and less risky to lift them and store them inside. Carrots, parsnips, beets, and potatoes, among others, can be stored this way.


Storing carrots in boxes

Dig up the carrots carefully on a dry day, shake off the excess soil, and twist off the tops. Don’t scrub or wash the carrots, as this may damage the skin. Examine each carrot and set aside any that are damaged to use immediately.

Choose a shallow cardboard box, wooden box, crate, or polystyrene box (with holes for ventilation). Line the bottom with newspaper, or similar material, and put a thin layer of spent compost, moist sand, coir, untreated sawdust, vermiculite, or leaf mold in the bottom.

Arrange the carrots side by side, without touching, on the covering material. Position the carrots so that they lie head to toe.

Hide the vegetables with more covering material and repeat until the container is full. Finish with a layer of covering material to exclude light. Store in a cool, preferably dark, place such as a garage, cellar, or spare room for 2 months or more. Use as required, ensuring the remaining vegetables are kept covered.


Storing potatoes in boxes

If you don’t have a large garden or don’t own a garden share that can accommodate potato clamps, store crops of potatoes in cardboard boxes with covers on top to exclude the light. These covers are essential, or the potatoes will turn green (the green parts are toxic, and must be cut away). Alternatively, store them in strong paper sacks that are folded or tied loosely at the top. Store the potatoes in a cool, dark place (41–50°F/5–10°C). As they age, they will develop sprouts, which must be cut away before eating.

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