Gardening | Health + Fitness

Tips for proper vegetable root storage

This has been a favorable growing season for both fruit and vegetables in Michigan.  My garden has been generous with her bounty and now I’m busy harvesting the root storage crops remaining in my garden. Proper root storage is essential so we can enjoy fresh veggies all winter long.

Here are some tips for proper root storage.

When storing your crops these are important factors:
*Temperature and moisture levels required to hold the crop.
*Are you storing in a root cellar, basement or underground storage?
*Learn what can and can’t be kept together.

Vegetables that keep well.  Certain crop varieties have better characteristics making them storage worthy. These are varieties I have personal experience with. DPP_0166
*Beets- Detroit Dark Red and Long Season
*Brussels Sprouts- Long Island Improved
*Cabbage- Late Flat Dutch, January King and Danish Ballhead
*Carrots- Danvers and Chantenay
*Celery- Utah
*Kohlrabi- White and Purple Vienna
*Leeks- American Flag, Lexton and Bandit
*Onions- Copra and Red Zeppelin
*Parsnips- All American
*Sweet Potatoes- Beauregard
*Potatoes- Russet (White baker), Yukon Gold (yellow), Kennebec (white) and Red Norland (Red)- typically reds are not good keepers.
*Rutabaga- Laurentian and Purple Top
*Winter Squash- Acorn, Sweet Dumpling, Buttercup, Butternut and any Hubbards.
*Turnips- Purple Top White Globe
*Apples- any late season hard apples will do well.DPP_0012

You’ll find extensive details and more varieties along with their holding qualities in Johnny’s Seed Catalog along with the recommended book.

The next factor to consider is your storage location and the amount of moisture and humidity the area will provide.

Here’s a list of “Storage Requirements of Vegetable and Fruits”.

I’ve adapted this information from “Root Cellaring – Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables” by Mike and Nancy Bubel,  pages 51-52.

*Cold and Very Moist- (32-40 degrees F and 90-95 % relative humidity): Carrots, beets, parsnips, rutabagas, turnips, celery, Chinese cabbage, celeriac, salsify, winter radishes, kohlrabi, leeks, collards, broccoli (short term), Brussels sprouts (short term), horseradish, Jerusalem artichokes, Hamburg rooted parsley.

*Cold and Moist- (32-40 degrees F and 80-90 % relative humidity): Potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower (short term), apples, grapes (40 degrees F), oranges, pears, endive, escarole, grapefruit.

*Cool and Moist- (40-50 degrees F and 85-90 relative humidity): Cucumbers, sweet peppers (45-55 degrees F), cantaloupe, watermelon, eggplant (50-60 degrees F), ripe tomatoes.

*Cool and Dry- (32-50 degrees F and 60-70 % relative humidity): Garlic (keeps better in even lower humidity, around 50%), onions.

*Moderately Warm and Dry (50-60 degrees F and 60-70% relative humidity): Dry hot peppers, pumpkins, winter squash, sweet potatoes and green tomatoes (up to 70 degrees F is OK

I recommend “Root Cellaring- Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables” by Mike and Nancy Bubel; published by Storey Publishing. This is the most concise information complied and a must have for anyone looking to store what they’ve grown.

Happy Day,