Last month, I posted about how our stored garden produce was doing. I’ve decided to update things:
As you may recall, we harvested most of our garden in the second week of September, due to frost. So we’re now at the five-ish month mark for our produce.
In the root cellar:
The carrots are still hanging in there…barely. They are getting pretty shriveled, and you have to dig through the baskets to find the good ones. We may or may not still have any truly edible carrots by the end of the month. We planted two different varieties of carrots – Red Cored Danvers and Scarlet Nantes Coreless, and we have not noticed any difference in how well they keep. As I mentioned in January, we have had issues controlling the humidity, and that probably shortened the storage life of the carrots significantly. However, five months is decent, all things considered.
The beets are now starting to soften. They are still completely edible, and are showing no signs of rot, but they are not at their peak, anymore.
The potatoes are still in great shape. They are not quite as crisp as when they were harvested, but they are in no danger of going bad. The store-ability of the potatoes is impressing the heck out of us. We have four different varieties in storage, and so far there is no variability between them; they’re all doing very well.
The cabbages that we purchased sometime before Halloween also continue to do well. The outermost leaves are dry and papery, but the heads themselves are still solid and edible.
The non-root cellar crops are also doing quite well. We went through all of the squash, which we have been keeping in a spare bedroom that we had closed the furnace vent in. About five squashes (four pumpkins and a turk’s turban gourd) had moldy spots, so we cut out the mold and fed the rest to the chickens. All of the spaghetti squash are still fine. The acorn squashes are starting to go orange, which I think is a sign of being over-ripe, but they show no signs of mold or softness. In all, we removed about 10% of the squash (from our original harvest of around 50 squashes of various types). We are pretty impressed, given how little attention we have devoted to storing and managing the squash.
The onions are also going strong. We have found a few that needed to be discarded, but they represented a very small percentage, overall. We have been storing onions in two different locations, to test what works best: we kept a large basket of onions in the cool, dry spare room with the squash, and a couple of braids in a warm store-room. Both groups seem to be doing fine, though the onions in the warmer location have fared somewhat worse, with a couple of rotten onions out of maybe twenty, versus a few rotten onions in a basket of a couple hundred. We planted 400 onion sets last spring, and, surprisingly, are starting to be in danger of running out.
Next year, we will do a better job of managing the overall humidity in the root cellar, as that seems to be what has done in the carrots, and, earlier, the turnips. However, in all, it does seem to be viable to expect to be eating at least some of our own root-cellared produce right up until spring, even with our inexperience and imperfect storage conditions.