If you enjoy consuming your organically grown vegetables, you may be having a hard time storing them through winter after a good fall harvest. However, it is possible to store vegetables from your organic garden and keep them fresh for as long as possible throughout winter. The trick is understanding what should be stored where. Different vegetables require varying humidity and temperature combinations like cool and dry or cold and moist. So, stashing all your vegetables in the fridge may not work, they will lose their color and vitamins within a few weeks. Here are some ways to store fresh vegetables.
Prepare the garden and cover crops
Some plants like carrots and beets among other root crops are cold tolerant. Such plants should not be harvested just because winter is around the corner. Instead, let them stay in the garden to accumulate more vitamins, sugars and then they may ultimately taste better. So, before the hard frost begins to fall, hoe enough soil over the crops but ensure the green leaves remain uncovered. The soil protects exposed plant shoulders from the freezing weather effects. Cover the plants with leaves, loose straw, row covers, and blankets just before the frost falls.
As it gets colder, cover your crops with mulch to retain their shape through the season. It is advisable to bury the crops with straw or leaves just before the weather gets to the freezing point. A sufficient or one-foot deep mulch not only protects the plants from harsh climatic effects but also prevents the ground from freezing. But, the mulch should not necessarily be one foot deep. Use more as it gets colder. However, be sure to set traps for a few mice or voles. They will seek refuge during the cold months, and your mulched garden will be their ideal hideout; a warm place to stay and enough food supply.
Basic vegetable storage tips
Vegetables can be stored better and for longer if harvested at the peak of their maturity. So, if your vegetables are still not well developed, delay the harvesting for as long as you can. Just try to make sure that waiting does not damage the vegetables. Kales, Brussels, and collards can withstand the winter frost for a couple of days while root vegetables can withstand frost longer so long as they are well-maintained and pest free.
During harvest, be careful not to bruise the vegetables especially carrots and set aside imperfect harvests or vegetables that get bruised accidentally to be used first. However, there are some garden produce that do not store well despite being harvested at their peak. They include; tomatoes and peppers. To ensure they keep longer, freeze peppers and store tomatoes in freezer bags while at their peak.
If you have had success with organic gardening, you understand why you need to store your vegetables even during tough winter conditions. The above are just a few storage tips, and you can get more through researching or seeking assistance at your local organic gardening store.