Harvest Monday, March 25, 2013 – Overwintering Root Vegetables

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On December 3, 2012 (click on link and scroll down) I wrote about experimenting with overwintering root vegetables in windowbox (photo above) in my unheated garage.

Winter storage of root vegetables

Some weeks ago I noticed the root vegetables had sprouted but never got around to investigate (The leaves are yellow/pale green and spindly due to lack of sun).

Root vegetablesFinally got around to check things out yesterday and this is what I found.
The celeriac, carrots and parsnips all had leaves.
The carrots and parsnips had the most and longest leaves.
The beets started to send out a bit of leaves.
The sunchoke started to send out roots.

Root vegetablesBeets, parsnips, celeriac, carrots and sunchoke after a bath.
Not sure what I am going to do with them.
Will think of something this week and write a post for Friday.
Stay tuned.

Conclusion: I consider this experiment a success. Lacking a root cellar, this is an excellent way to overwinter root vegetables.

What would I do differently this fall?
1. Definitely overwintering more root vegetables
2. Assign each vegetable its own windowbox.
3. Remove all the leaves and stems (may be the carrots would not have sprouted if I had removed all the small leaves and stems).
4. Cut away the base of the parsnips tops (may delay sprouting).
5. Water less (may be if I keep the pro-mix on the dry side, the carrots and parsnips will not sprout).

Too bad I did not think of using this method to overwinter my root vegetables years ago. Well, better late than never.

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Visit Daphne’s Dandelions http://daphnesdandelions.blogspot.com/ for more Harvest Mondays

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About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
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43 Responses to Harvest Monday, March 25, 2013 – Overwintering Root Vegetables

  1. says:

    Hi Norma,
    Sprouting is normal when it gets warm, they are biennials. To get the least sprouting trim the carrot top as close to the orange as possible. I try to trim them close before storing, but I usually revisit in January to trim even closer. (This is relatively easy because my carrots are in a loosely covered bucket but not buried.)
    Eating them during the winter also solves the problem – I have only a few carrots and J-chokes remaining.

  2. says:

    Those vegetables look amazing Norma. I bet they are going to be exceptional. I immediately thought soup, but you’ll probably want to capitalize on their freshness, so a simple stirfry? Or a colorful slaw. Glad your experiment turned out so well.

    • says:

      Hello Eva,
      They do look good and I am so pleased, you should see the grin on my face yesterday after I gave them a bath. It is still so cooooold (may get snow later) and gloomy a this moment, soup is on my mind. Will see what strikes my fancy this week.

  3. says:

    The results look very good, something I should look into for myself and next winter

    • says:

      Hello Claire,
      Did not know if my experiment would work, sure glad it did and am really, really pleased with the results.

  4. says:

    I’m glad your experiment worked so well. Sadly this house doesn’t have a garage so I can’t use that technique. If I grow a lot of root vegetables some year I might try my basement. It isn’t as stable as a root cellar in temperature I think, but it would work well enough if they were picked very late in fall.

  5. Kim?iframe=true&theme_preview=true says:

    I went out and bought some herbs to plant only to find I had to bring them in
    for fear of frost! South indeed, it is cold down here too :0) but we do have sunshine
    after two days of rain.

    Happy Gardening

    • says:

      Hello Kim,
      Glad you arrived safely. Currently, it is gloomy and cold, may get snow later, blah. Hopefully the sun will shine tomorrow.

  6. says:

    I love your experiments, Norma. I’d never thought to try wintering over veggies…and in fact had no idea how to do it. Kind of a lost art, I guess, but thanks for the inspiration and I hope your veggies are delicious!

  7. says:

    That’s very clever, I’m glad it worked so well for you!

  8. says:

    I’d suggest cutting all the leaves off, and trimming the root ends, especially of the carrots and parsnips, to help keep them longer from sprouting. Also, using sand instead of dirt and no watering.

  9. says:

    Those root vegetables are wonderful, Norma. I have to buy some more parsnips!

  10. says:

    I love how you gave them a “bath.” I once had a creamy parsnip dip with goat cheese/roasted parsnips that was sooo yummy.

  11. says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiments…it is so much fun seeing all what you do…the roots sure look great.
    Have a wonderful week Norma 🙂

  12. says:

    Don’t you love it when something unexpected happens.. especially for a garden! I can’t wait to see what you do with these in the spring! xx

  13. says:

    Congratulations on the successful experiment Norma! You know I’m always so impressed with your gardening skills, but this is especially impressive. You grew these in your garage over the winter! Looking forward to seeing what you do with them. 🙂

  14. says:

    Fascinating stuff, Norma! It’s like you’ve rediscovered lost technology, something the pioneers certainly knew and practiced. And as Kristy said, “Congratulations!”

    • says:

      Hello John,
      Thanks. Now that I know it is doable, I will be planting more root crops for overwintering and hopefully be self-sufficient.

  15. says:

    This will be a very good experiment (or not anymore an experiment) for me. I do not have a garden so this coold be a way to have vegetables 🙂

  16. says:

    This is a very good way to store root crops for the winter. A fellow blogger (Mr. H) stores his vast supply of root crops in recycled Styrofoam coolers filled with damp sand or soil and layers of the root crops. He has great success with that method.

    • says:

      Hello Laura,
      I heard about the styrofoam and sand method and was thinking of doing that but since I had the windowboxes and pro-mix on hand decided to go with what I had.

  17. says:

    What an excellent way to preserve food other than refrigerator!
    Looks really fresh and good.

  18. says:

    I’ll take those parsnips! You may keep the beets. =D

  19. says:

    You are having a wonderful success rate with your experiments…that is great.

    • says:

      Hello Karen,
      Thanks, I am really pleased with this particular experiment, now I can plant more root crop as soon as garden space becomes available instead of allowing it to be vacant.

  20. says:

    Glad the experiment works out, wonder how the vegetables taste after sprouting.

  21. says:

    I think your experiment went well as well. Those carrots and beets, well all of your veggies look superb

  22. says:

    Great experiment Norma. Looks like a beautiful bounty. Look forward to hearing about what you make with them. I love that jerusalem artichokes are referred to as sunchokes in your neck of the woods – sunchoke is a much more poetic descriptor!

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