STORING VEGETABLES FOR WINTER USE
DIG FOR VICTORY LEAFLET No. 3 (Page 2 of 4)
Root vegetables are subject to frost damage to a varying degree, and harvesting and storage should be arranged accordingly.
Swedes and parsnips are hardy and can safely be left in the ground during average winter conditions—in fact, the quality of parsnips is improved by moderate frosty conditions. A supply of roots should, however, be taken up for use. Swedes should be taken up and stored at the approach of severer weather conditions.
The main problem with parsnips left in the ground when very cold weather arrives is getting them out of the frozen ground. Covering them with a thick layer of straw or bracken will insulate the land beneath and enable harvesting during a freeze. A double layer of horticultural fleece will serve the same purpose.
Root vegetables, except beetroot, are best stored in boxes between layers of sand, but all may be piled in heaps and covered with sand on the floor of the shed or cellar. They contain much water and are liable to shrivel if the sand is very dry. Leaves should be removed before roots are stored.
If sand is difficult to obtain, finely sifted ashes or fairly dry earth may be substituted. When boxes are used, a layer of sand should be placed at the bottom of the box, which is then filled with alternate layers of roots and sand. If treated correctly, all will keep well until May. A storage temperature between 33° F. and 38° F. is the most suitable.
Lift the roots when near maturity but always before frost occurs, twisting, not cutting, off the tops. The roots should then be laid in moderately dry sand in any shed where protection from frost can be secured.
Lift during dry weather, not later than the middle of October. Reject all damaged roots. Store in sand or boxes or bins or in heaps covered with sand. Arrange the roots in regular layers, with the crowns away from each other. A layer of straw over the heap will provide an added safeguard against frost. Large supplies may be clamped like potatoes, provided the roots are thoroughly dry, but the clamps should be shallow and not too large.
These should be taken up in the autumn or early winter, topped closely and stored in sand like carrots. Large supplies may also be clamped.
These may be left in the ground until later, but it is advisable to lift them at Christmas and store in the same way as turnips.
These roots are really quite hardy and if desired can remain in the ground. They should, however, be lifted not later than February before growth starts, and be stored in slightly moist sand or soil.