Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lessons in Fresh Food Storage.

I have been in a lazy mood this weekend...but a few things have gotten done.

I spent some time yesterday tidying the pantry, taking inventory and figuring out where I'll put things once the co-op order arrives in May. I am comforted to see how many things we've been able to store, the amount of variety we have. We are truly blessed. Doing an inventory now also helps me figure out what we should plant more of, what we over-planted, and what we might like to try, so it's a help with garden planning too.

We learned a few things from this year's food storage. Potatoes keep in the root cellar amazingly well - they look as fresh and lovely as the day we put them there. OK, the blue ones are trying to sprout a little bit, but last year in the basement they started sprouting in November. So, the root cellar is a much better option for potatoes.

Pumpkins and winter squash much prefer the basement, and keep far better in the conditions found there. In fact, the pumpkins and winter squash that were in the root cellar didn't hold nearly as well. We tossed a bunch to the chickens today (they are very happy with their fresh treats!), so at least they weren't wasted. Some went to the compost bin as well, but the ones stored in our basement are all keeping just fine. Next year, we know to store them in the basement.

We wanted to try storing carrots, turnips, rutabagas and beets in the ground. We'd read about it - we could just mound up mulch over the tops to keep the frost at bay and it was going to be wonderful. Well, our weather held fairly far into winter, and we enjoyed fresh root vegetables all that time. I kept thinking, "I need to get out there and top those rows with more mulch." I never made the time. The weather turned frigid with the new year, and the vegetables turned to frozen mush...which thawed into icky mush. Lesson learned. Next year we shall try storing them in the root cellar in bins of sand.

Soon we'll be tilling the garden for spring, planting lettuces, radishes and peas. Before that, I'll be starting some seedlings indoors, but not just yet. We still have a little time. Until then, I'm going to read through my canning books, look for recipes we would like and use those as an additional help for planning our garden.

What are you going to grow this year? I'd love to hear your plans, so please leave a comment!

Happy growing,
-Laura at TenThingsFarm

4 comments:

Prairie Homemaker said...

Laura,
We have begun some plants already, but will let them grow inside for another couple weeks.

We plan to plant, onions, peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, herbs peas, carrots, melons, and potatoes.

hugs
mel

Toni said...

My husband and I are renting a garden plot this year. I'm pretty excited as I've lived in an apartment since I was 10. I know nothing about gardening, but I figure for $12 for the season, I can't mess it up too bad. It's a 20' by 20' plot. Any ideas on what we can do? I'm thinking herbs, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini...

tenthingsfarm said...

Hey, Toni,

I suspect your hubby has a million ideas for that garden! If it's part of a community garden, your best bet is to ask the other gardeners - especially the ones that have been there a while - what does well in that soil and climate. You probably want to stick with more compact varieties of things, and use every inch. If it is fenced you can grow pole beans, peas or cucumbers on the fences, since they climb. Zucchini takes up a bit of space but it also gives you a lot of food.

I wish you great success with your garden, dearie!

Prairie Farmstead Ponderings said...

Hiya stranger! I thought I'd venture over to see what you've been up to ~ I see we're still on the same wave. I just did a post last night about some of the seeds we purchased this weekend and those I ordered today.

Stop on by if you want to read more about our plans so far...and, of course, everything is subject to change! Heehee!

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