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HomeBeeKeepingThese Backyard Veggies Are Root Cellar Rock Stars

These Backyard Veggies Are Root Cellar Rock Stars

First-rate vegetable storage begins with the soil, as root cellar storability is influenced by rising circumstances. Root greens grown in soil with an extra of nitrogen could have watery progress and retailer poorly. Extra watering and watering close to harvest time will result in the identical undesirable outcomes. 

Conversely, an abundance of natural matter (and significantly the presence of potassium and calcium within the soil) enhances storability. Potassium sources embody seaweed, wooden ashes and greensand, in addition to most inexperienced manures, compost and animal manures (particularly pig, horse and sheep).

Calcium is ample in limestone, bone meal and wooden ashes.

Publish-Harvest Pointers

Whereas the overall post-harvest rule is to chill produce as shortly after harvest as potential and hold it cool (to maintain produce respiration and subsequently deterioration at a minimal), there are exceptions with some long-term storage produce. 

Curing, or drying, must be carried out with garlic, onions and shallots by permitting your complete plant to dry earlier than eradicating the stems and roots. Harvested potatoes needs to be stored at 55 to 60 levels Fahrenheit for a number of weeks earlier than they’re positioned in storage circumstances. 

For candy potatoes, pumpkins and winter squash, curing permits extra moisture to evaporate and units/hardens the pores and skin as effectively. It requires protecting them for 10 to 14 days at 80 to 85 p.c relative humidity and 80 to 85 levels F in a well-ventilated location the place they received’t get moist.

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Observe: Curing is detrimental to, and shouldn’t be achieved with, acorn-type winter squash. 

There are others steps that can favorably affect produce storage. After all, essentially the most sound, unblemished, disease-free specimens needs to be stored. And all produce meant for storage needs to be dealt with delicately to keep away from bruising or injury. 

Cabbages ought to retain their stems, being lower immediately above their roots somewhat than beneath their head. Potatoes shouldn’t be wetted however somewhat rubbed to take away extra dust. Root greens needs to be left so long as potential in cool, although not freezing, soil circumstances as this can stimulate the manufacturing/storage of sugars and starches within the roots and permit your meant storage areas to realize cool, even temperatures previous to shifting in your produce. 

Additionally, harvested root greens ought to have their greens eliminated shortly to forestall moisture loss. They need to be dug from dry somewhat than moist floor when potential, and gently cleaned. And keep in mind that whereas a frost or two will sweeten the flesh of winter squash, it additionally leads to a a lot shorter storage life.

Good Locations

Lengthy-term meals storage has lengthy taken place in further closets, backrooms, spare cabinets, basements, porches, garages and the like. Folks will even use holes or easy constructions within the floor as a way of storage. 

For a location to be an appropriate root cellar, just a few circumstances have to be met. Although ideally suited storage circumstances will not be similar for all produce, usually the situation have to be darkish and effectively ventilated. 

The optimum temperature  for a root cellar (on common) is true round 50 levels; too heat or too cool (even in need of freezing) are each issues. There’s particular variation with ideally suited storage humidity. Whereas garlic, onions, dry beans, pumpkins and winter squash require much less humid circumstances, produce corresponding to cabbage and any root does higher with ranges round 90 p.c. 

Principal Gamers

Elevating appropriate varieties is essential with long-term produce storage. Typically a spread could also be the easiest from a subject of many that every one retailer effectively. Typically it’s a novel selection that actually stands out from others.

Examples of each are listed on this article. 

Listed below are absolutely the musts for winter storage. Largely staples and a few surprises, these are the variety-specific crops to develop.


In case you like alliums, your storage cup will runneth over! Garlic has many stiff-neck varieties with a decent storage of many months. German Further Hardy and Chesnok Pink are two favorites. 

Nonetheless, many soft-necks (with the versatile, braidable stems) are recognized for exceptionally lengthy storage, with Italian Late and Inchelium Pink being very talked-about varieties. 

For onions, Pink Bull is a very good crimson onion for storage. Yellow storage onions and shallots boast great storage typically, so you possibly can take your selection choose. Alternatively, the “storage leek” is far rarer, with Bandit and Musselburgh being the right selections.

Learn extra: Plan now to make use of winter ice to chill your root cellar in summer time.


If crimson cabbage is your pleasure, Ruby Perfection is great for storage. If inexperienced is your desire, Dottenfelder Storage, European Storage and Langedijker Winterkeeper are distinctive varieties.

root cellar
Leah Smith

Nonetheless, in terms of spectacular storage (at instances reaching months), it is best to think about savoy cabbage.

Extra nutritious than a daily inexperienced cabbage, savoys are good additions to winter soups and casseroles. Although they’re extra toothsome than inexperienced cabbage, they’re additionally wonderful for uncooked consumption. Go together with Winterfurst.


Imagine it or not, some carrot varieties don’t have the aptitude for long-term storage. Quite a lot of varieties with blunter shapes preserve their high quality effectively, together with Bolero, Rodelika and Scarlet Nantes Improved.

Nonetheless, the capstone of storage carrots is Rolanka. Its carrots are deep orange and preserve their sweetness for a lot of months. Lengthy in size and enormous in diameter, attentive culturing may even induce particular person carrots to achieve 1 pound in measurement—a critical storage carrot!

Dry Beans

Dry beans could be missed as a storage crop for the backyard—maybe as a result of economical, handy choices are available elsewhere. However what in regards to the distinctive? 

The world of dry beans presents many great heirloom choices, together with Aunt Ada’s Italian (blocky form, tan colour), Drabo (white)  and Jacob’s Cattle (extremely engaging, white/reddish-brown mottling).

On the high of the checklist, nonetheless, sits Black Valentine.

Having a hardy and vigorous plant, it grows effectively beneath hostile circumstances. A high supply of phytonutrients (as many darkly coloured dry beans are), it additionally holds its form effectively in soups. 

Observe that when contemplating rising different dry beans, many could be picked on the inexperienced bean stage (as all of those can). Firms will checklist each “days to choosing” in reference to their fresh-picking stage and “days to maturity” for dry-bean shelling—so concentrate.


Kohlrabi has change into broadly recognized, however you is probably not acquainted with the storage varieties. Whereas common kohlrabi have to be harvested earlier than they attain 4 inches in diameter, storage varieties obtain a lot bigger sizes. 

They will simply be used to make coleslaw, a gratin and even “mashed faux-tatoes.” Preserving for a number of months simply, kohlrabi will do finest packed in moist sand or sawdust (although any humid location will do). Superschmelz (being 8 to 10 kilos) and the purple-skinned and never as enormous Blaril (averaging 2 kilos) are those to strive.


The Christmas or Santa Claus melon received’t see you thru the winter, but it surely doesn’t have to! With a gentle, very candy taste and creamy white flesh with a honeydew texture, it earns its hold handsomely. 

This melon has a mottled, yellow-green pores and skin, is the scale and form of a soccer and may obtain 9 kilos in weight. Harvested as late within the season as potential and saved in a cool location (corresponding to a fridge), its distinctive storability (roughly 6 weeks longer than a mean melon) might hold it round to when the snow begins flying!

Learn extra: Secure root cellar circumstances deal with your saved veggies proper.


One of the vital primary of storage greens. Potato varieties have early-, mid- and late-season harvest instances, with the “lates” being most susceptible to good storability. Yukon Gold, Russet Burbank and particularly Elba are wonderful.

However Pink Maria goes above and past. 

root cellar
Leah Smith

A red-skinned, all-purpose potato with white flesh, Pink Maria is unchanged after 5 months in storage when different potatoes are on to wrinkling and sprouting. If Pink Maria does sprout, they’re very brief, stocky and simply eliminated.

Start checking for sprouts in late winter. Toss them into the compost bin, avoiding feeding to animals.

Root Brassicas

Root greens had been made for long-term storage within the root cellar, in fact. Although they could all retailer pretty effectively, some standouts emerge. 

For instance, there are numerous very good storage radishes, however the watermelons/crimson meats provide a really engaging look. Strive Starburst and Magnificence Coronary heart. 

Zuercher is a high-quality and versatile turnip. It might be harvested at salad turnip measurement in addition to allowed to achieve that for storage.


Everybody tries to increase the “tomato time” of the 12 months for so long as potential, gathering unripened fruits on the finish of the season and following specialised procedures to make sure the best potential longevity. 

Backyard Peach is a really candy, yellow tomato with a young pores and skin and is an effective keeper, holding simply for a month or two. However if you’d like tomatoes in April of the next spring, Longkeeper (crimson) and Golden Treasure (wealthy yellow) are the tomatoes for you.

Golden Treasure’s distinctly acidic tang and agency pores and skin equips it completely for its really exceptional storage.

Winter Squash

Winter squashes aren’t all created equal in terms of storage. Acorn is least storable, at solely a few months.

Hubbard, banana and buttercup will simply retailer twice as lengthy, truly bettering in taste with storage (strive Blue, Sibley and Bonbon, respectively). So, too, will butternuts. 

root cellar butternut squash
Leah Smith

For top-level storage (to not point out superior vitamin), it’s troublesome to beat the Waltham. Averaging 4 kilos, possessing an edible pores and skin and broadly thought-about the benchmark of butternuts, it’s an previous favourite for an excellent motive.

Make room for the manufacturing and storage of those crops in your farm. You’ll be glad you probably did! 

Extra Info

Dry Concepts

Dehydration is a useful technique for protecting meals. It’s most popularly achieved with blueberries, celery, greens (particularly kale), scorching peppers, mushrooms, snap beans, candy corn, tomatoes, virtually all herbs and apples!

For apple dehydration, your preferences are all-important. In order for you an apple that holds its form very effectively (for engaging apple rings), strive Golden Scrumptious or Pink Girl.

In order for you a really candy dehydrated apple, select from Cortland, Fuji and Gala. On the lookout for a tart style? Braeburn and Granny Smith are the apples for you.

Chilly Comforts

Freezing is a good way to protect a number of meals that may’t be stored with (long-term) recent storage within the root cellar.  It might require produce to be blanched (submerged in boiling water for a brief interval, then instantly chilled in chilly water) or not, relying on the meals. 

For Freezing


  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • celery
  • greens
  • shelling peas
  • snap beans
  • candy corn

Don’t blanch

  • bell peppers
  • berries
  • melon
  • peaches
  • tomatoes
Root Cellar Runners-up

When you’ve got loads of room to dedicate to winter meals (and even some to experiment in), strive a few of these keepers:


For critical winter storage, Lutz Inexperienced Leaf, aka Winterkeeper, is the one to strive.

Cape Gooseberry

Much like the husk or floor cherry, the cape gooseberry (Physalis peruviana) is a bigger fruit with an virtually tropical fruit taste and the identical in-the-husk storability. 


Celery for storage? Strive inserting crops in 5-gallon pails for continued manufacturing. Select between Fordhook and Big Pascal.


Darkened circumstances (accomplished with a humidity tent) are good for rising a mushroom equipment!


Add Vermont Pink Kernel to your corn patch and pop away.


For distinctive taste and honest storage, strive Winter Luxurious. For good taste and distinctive storage, Lengthy Pie.

Candy Potato

Shops in hotter circumstances than the everyday root cellar. Strive Allgold.

This text initially appeared within the September/October 2022 challenge of Pastime Farms journal.



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