The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Harvesting Storage Vegetables

Curing garlicNow the fun part --- the harvest!  The frost is already looming large in our minds, but most of our storage vegetables don't care so much.  Do be sure to take in your onions, garlic, winter squash, and sweet potatoes before the frost, but don't be concerned about the other root crops.  Some --- like carrots and parsnips --- convert starches to sugars after a frost and become much tastier.  These guys can be harvested as late as October or November as long as you make sure that no parts of the roots stick up above the soil surface.

When harvesting vegetables for storage, try to dig them in dry weather when less soil is clinging to the roots and the vegetables themselves are less turgid with water.  Gently brush off the dirt, but don't scrub or wash the vegetables.  Although you may be tempted to toss these seemingly indestructable roots into a basket or wheelbarrow, you should instead handle them gently since the smallest bruise can make vegetables rot in storage.

Pick through your haul as you harvest and take out any imperfect, bruised, or cut vegetables to be eaten immediately.  These guys probably won't last long in storage and will rot the surrounding vegetables in the process.  Cut off any leaves immediately, but don't break off small feeder roots.

This post is part of our Storage Vegetables lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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