Urban Gardening Tips: Storing Your Produce For The Winter

How To Successfully Store Your Urban Gardening ProduceIf your urban gardening has been successful, you most likely have an abundance of vegetables that you plan to store for winter use. A lot of the produce will be canned or frozen, but some of it you may wish to store whole.

The days of the traditional root cellar seem to have passed us by so for today’s urban gardening tips on storing vegetables from the garden, we are going to head on over to visit an article by Glenn Morris at Farmers’ Almanac.

How To Successfully Store Your Urban Gardening Produce

Successful vegetable storage is based primarily on harvest and handling. Keep these tips in mind. Let vegetables and fruits cool overnight from “field heat” before storing them. Harvest during dry weather and allow the surfaces of the produce to dry before storing.

Handle carefully to minimize bruising. Pick up some standard apple boxes from your grocer to use for storage. Wooden vegetable shipping crates work well, too. Storing vegetables and fruits effectively depends on providing the right temperature, humidity and ventilation.

Unfinished basements or crawl spaces can make excellent storage areas, as long as they are evenly cool between 32 and 60 degrees.

Use unheated crawl spaces or cellars with dirt floors that remain cool (35 to 40 degrees) and moist to store potatoes or apples and pears. Basements with central heat that are warm (55 to 60 degrees) and dry offer superb conditions for ripening tomatoes and short term storage of winter squash, sweet potatoes, and onions.

Enclose vegetables in perforated polyethylene bags to inhibit moisture loss and prevent condensation. The bags should have multiple 1/4-inch holes throughout.

Here are the storage times for some commonly grown vegetables:

Beets: 4 to 6 months.
Late cabbage: 5 to 6 months.
Carrots: 7 to 9 months.
Onions: 1 to 8 months.
Potatoes: 5 to 10 months.
Winter squash: 1 to 6 months.
Sweet potatoes: 4 to 7 months.
Green tomatoes, while ripening: 1 to 2 months.

Click here to read the full story and learn more tips on storing vegetables from your garden.

At one time I lived in a home that didn’t have a basement. What it did have was a trap door in the living room with steps down into a cold cellar. We didn’t use this as it was inconvenient to get at once the rugs were in. We used an uninsulated upper attic like area instead, but at some point in the history of the house, the root cellar was were the family’s vegetables were stored. My mother has a closeted area in her basement that is unheated for this purpose as well. So, with a bit of forethought and planning, a root cellar for storing urban gardening produce can be part of a modern home.

Where do you store your vegetable harvest from your urban gardening? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Photo by Espring4224

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