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Storage checkup

During the winter it’s easy to get caught up with the many activities that prevail in our Prairie communities. Couple that with work and family responsibilities, and it is sometimes difficult to remember to check all the garden produce that we have stored away for the winter. Vegetables as well as flower bulbs and corms should be checked periodically during the winter to ensure that they are storing well and to ward off any problem before it gets out of hand. I remembered to do this recently and here’s what I found.

In the refrigerator:

Like many people, I have a second refrigerator that is used for overflow during holidays or celebrations when there doesn’t seem to be enough space in the kitchen fridge to hold all the food. I also use this extra refrigerator to store winter vegetables. I checked the carrots and beets, stored in plastic bags with holes punched in them. They were fine, although one bag of carrots had a couple going bad so I dumped the bag out, took out the spoiled ones and put the good ones in a new bag. The cause of the spoilage turned out to be quite simple — I had missed punching holes in the bag and the carrots were too wet.

The beets were fine although they are beginning to get soft so they’ll have to be used soon. Unlike the carrots, which are topped and tailed before storage, beets still have their tails and the leaves and stems were removed but the beets themselves were not cut into as they would bleed. The kohlrabi, simply placed uncovered on the refrigerator racks, are wintering fine.

In the cold room:

I don’t actually have a cold room but use the heated garage, which serves the same purpose. It is a humid environment kept at about 5°. Here potatoes in cardboard boxes are keeping well; no sign of sprouting yet! Most of the smaller potatoes have been used; the larger ones keep best so those are used last.

Dahlia, canna, calla, and elephant ear roots are stored in cardboard boxes in the garage as well. Upon opening the boxes, I found the roots are storing well. They are not dehydrating nor are they producing shoots of new growth, which often happens if the bulbs are stored in too warm an environment. My many pots of oxalis, stacked one atop the other, and covered with newspaper to keep out the light, are showing no signs of premature growth; they are still dormant. I do not water them and they were stored after the foliage was allowed to dry off and the soil was no longer moist.

In the basement:

The basement is fully finished so it is warm and the air is quite dry in the winter. The winter squash (buttercup) are stored here and also onions (both red and white). They are in boxes and baskets and are fine. The squash are gradually beginning to turn orange but so far have not started to spoil around the stems, where any rot usually starts. So far, things seem to be storing quite well!

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