STORING VEGETABLES FOR WINTER USE
DIG FOR VICTORY LEAFLET No. 3 (Page 1 of 4)
MANY vegetables, fortunately those with the highest food value, can safely be stored for use in winter. They are the roots, tubers and bulbs ; and growers should conserve as much of these crops as possible.
The correct methods of storage are simple, but it is important to follow the directions closely.
All potatoes—early, second-early and maincrop varieties—will keep well for long periods if they are harvested in good condition, but, generally speaking, the maincrop varieties are the most suitable.
To tell whether the crop is ready for lifting, remove the soil from about a root, take up one or two tubers and note whether the skin is ” set,” that is, does not rub off easily.
If the haulm is removed from potatoes and they are left in the ground for a couple of weeks it will result in a better skin. On the other hand the risk of damage from pests is increased and the land is not available for follow on crops either.
Lift in dry weather and leave the tubers on the ground only long enough for the skins to dry. As the potatoes are being picked, the larger tubers for putting in store should be sorted out, and the diseased ones removed.
IN A SHED
For small quantities, a cool, dry, frost-proof shed is the best store. The potatoes are spread in a layer on the floor either directly or resting on straw, bracken (fern) or sacking. The depth of the layer of potatoes must not be more than 2½ ft. or the tubers may become heated.
Potatoes to be used for food should be covered with straw, bracken or sacking so as to keep out the light and prevent greening. The shed should be ventilated on all suitable occasions. During specially hard weather, every care must be taken to keep out frost ; for example, litter may be scattered lightly, but thickly, over and round the heap.
IN THE LARDER
Where there is no shed suitable for storing, the tubers may be placed in bags or cardboard boxes and kept, in a larder. Quicklime or lime and flowers of sulphur lightly sprinkled among the tubers will help to keep down disease. During late autumn they should, if possible, be looked over fortnightly and diseased tubers removed.
In winter, old sacking thrown over the containers will protect the potatoes from frost, but in very severe weather, extra covering should be put on until the end of the frost.
If no more suitable place is available, potatoes may be stored in a cellar ; but careful attention must be paid to ventilation, particularly during the first months of storage. The door should be kept open, and the window also when the weather is suitable.
If the cellar has a dry earth floor the potatoes may be laid directly on it; but if the floor is damp, the potatoes should be put in boxes resting on bricks, or placed in a layer 8 or 10 in. deep on straw. The boxes or layer should be covered lightly with material such as straw, dry heather or bracken.