Sunday, 9 November 2008

The Vegetable Closet




The Vegetable Closet


9 November 2008

The Root Cellar

We grow our own vegetables, storage has been a problem.


The bulk of the storage produce is potatoes, onions and garlic. There are lots of other garden harvest products we obtain but they are consumed fresh or can be frozen.

The problem with vegetable storage is controlling ventilation, temperature and humidity. Ventilation is necessary to remove the gaseous product of the maturing produce and to remove excess humidity. Some vegetables require humidity, some abhor excesses in moisture. For the bulk of our produce a temperature close to freezing is optimal

Vegetable storage takes place during the fall, winter and spring when ‘outdoor’ temperatures are better for the produce than indoors. Garages are normally unheated and vary in temperature less.

So if we build a vegetable closet with a fan, insulated, and with a source of humidity, then we have a chance at ideal storage.

Vegetables

Temp F.

% Humidity

Storage Time

Comments

Beets

32°

90-95

3 Months

Leave 1" stem.

Brussels Sprouts

32°

90-95

4 Weeks

Wrap to avoid drying

Cabbage

38°

90-95

4 Months

Late maturing varieties **

Carrots

32°

90-95

5 Months

Top leaving ¼” stem *

Cauliflower

32°

85-90

3 Weeks

Wrap in leaves *

Celery

32°

90-95

4 Months

Dig with roots ***

Chinese cabbage

32°

90-95

2 Months

Dig with roots ***

Cucumbers

50°

85-90

3 Weeks

Waxed or moist packing *

Kohlrabi

38°

90-95

3 Months

Trim leaves *

Onions

32°

55-60

8 Months

Dry for two weeks.

Parsnip

32°

90-95

6 Months

Top leaving ¼” stem *

Potatoes

38°

85-90

8 Months

Pack in boxes unwashed.

Squash

60°

55-60

3 Months

Winter types, leave 2" stem

Tomatoes

60°

55-60

8 Weeks

Single layer in covered boxes

Turnips

38°

90-95

3 Months

Waxed or moist packing *

Small Fruits

32°

85-90

7 Days


* Pack in moistened sawdust or sand. ** Wrap in clean newspaper. *** Replant in moist sand.

Potatoes should be stored in a dark location; they are light sensitive.

Our Vegetable Closet is built around milk crates. They are easily cleaned and resistant to dirt and water. They are portable and well proportioned for storage. A fan in the top provides air being forced down. Onions do not like humidity so they are stored on top. A pan and a sponge can be inserted part way down in the stack of crates to humidify the bottom, since the air is being directed down and out.

The closet is kept in the garage to be kept cool. It is insulated to keep the temperature uniform. Finally, temperatures here go well below freezing so the unit is provided with a plumbers heating coil, a thermocouple that senses freezing temperatures and heats up. This coil is set near the air intake so if required the heat supplement is forced through the stack.

We hope this works and that it is not too late in the making.

No comments:

Blog Archive

Countries we have visited

About Me

My photo

As an armed forces brat, we lived in Rockcliff (Ottawa), Namao (Edmonton), Southport (Portage La Prairie), Manitoba, and Dad retired to St. Margaret's Bay, NS.
Working with the Federal Govenment for 25 years, Canadian Hydrographic Service, mostly. Now married to Gail Kelly, with two grown children, Luke and Denyse. Retired to my woodlot at Stillwater Lake, NS, on the rainy days I study the life and work of A. Hyatt Verrill 1871-1954.