Learning how to store fresh garden vegetables year around is a gift worth giving. It’s an age old practice that has been relied on for survival.
In addition, many are limited when it comes to storage space, making this tool of the trade especially helpful because it allows you to keep your garden veggies stored in the garden throughout winter.
Some popular vegetables you might want to try this mulching technique with include: carrots, beets, turnips, celery, cabbage, kale, spinach and leeks.
Let’s dive in!
Storing Garden Vegetables In The Ground
First, it’s important to go through your vegetables and make sure the soil is protecting any exposed root crop. For example, in the picture above you see the exposed shoulder of a carrot, which needs to be protected against the cold elements if you want it to store well. Taking a hoe, pull some soil up around exposed shoulders, but leave the green leaves uncovered.
Second, anticipate the possibility of an early hard frost. If you expect one, cover your root crops with blankets, loose straw or row covers to keep them from freezing. When the temperatures have risen above freezing, you can remove the covers. As long as you keep a fairly close eye on changing weather patterns, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
Lastly, as winter sets in, apply a thick covering of mulch around the plants. You can use a variety of organic materials for mulch including:
- Chopped Leaves
- Grass Clippings
- Wood Chips
- Shredded Bark
- Pine Needles
To buy mulch, your cheapest option is probably going to a community yard waste collection site and asking them if they have any mulch they’d like to get rid of. You may get lucky and walk away with some for free, but if they charge you, it’s just a small fee.
It’s always good to keep your own yard waste in a compost pile so that you can use it for mulching when you need it. Just remember that when you are doing Spring cleaning and Fall cleanup.
Alternate route: If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, then leaving your vegetables in the ground may prove more burdensome than it’s worth. There’s another way to store root crops outside and it involves an empty barrel or drum, about 12 inches worth of straw and a board. Here’s an example.
Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm is a vermicomposting company that specializes in worm farms, red wigglers and vermicomposting products. The above image is not our own.
CC image courtesy of Poppet With A Camera at Flickr