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Storage vegetables for off season sales 2017 90min Pam Dawling


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How to succeed with growing storage vegetables for sale in the off-season. Learn the cold-hardiness of various vegetable crops, how to predict the weather, methods to protect your crops from cold temperatures, various storage methods, and an introduction to hoophouse growing in winter.

Published in: Food
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Storage vegetables for off season sales 2017 90min Pam Dawling

  1. 1. Storage Vegetables for Off-Season Sales Here’s the information to succeed - tables of cold- hardiness, details of four ranges of storable crops; weather prediction and protection; hoophouse growing; vegetable storage. ©Pam Dawling 2017 Twin Oaks Community, Virginia Author of Sustainable Market Farming Published by New Society Publishers
  2. 2. • Why would you sell in winter? • Tables of cold-hardiness • Four ranges of storable crops • DIY weather forecasting • Crop protection including hoophouse growing • Maturity indicators • Storage conditions and methods for different vegetables • Resources • My contact info What’s in this presentation
  3. 3. Why sell stored vegetables in winter? People eat all year long! Winter share CSAs are more in demand as the locavore movement grows There is a year-round demand for local foods in stores, markets and restaurants Keep your customers by providing all year By planning storage crops, have some slow time, rather than working really hard all 12 months Have some reprieve from outdoor work. Don’t fight the elements too much!
  4. 4. Before taking the plunge into winter sales know your climate, know your resources, know your market, know your crops (the main focus of this presentation), when you don’t know, experiment on a small scale.
  5. 5. Winter Hardiness Table – Frosty Weather, 35°-25°F Here are some starting numbers of killing temperatures, although your own experience with your soils, microclimates and rain levels may lead you to use different temperatures. See the handout for variety names. • 35°F (2°C): Basil. • 32°F (0°C): Bush beans, cauliflower curds, corn, cowpeas, cucumbers, eggplant, limas, melons, okra, some pak choy, peanuts, peppers, potato vines, squash vines, sweet potato vines, tomatoes. • 27°F (–3°C): Some cabbage, Sugarloaf chicory (takes only light frosts). • 25°F (–4°C): Some cabbage, chervil, chicory roots for chicons and hearts, Chinese Napa cabbage, dill, endive (hardier than lettuce, Escarole more frost-hardy than Frisée), annual fennel, some mustards and Asian greens (Maruba Santoh, mizuna, most pak choy, Tokyo Bekana), onion scallions, radicchio.
  6. 6. Colder (from 22°F down to 15°F) • 22°F (–6°C): Arugula, (may survive colder than this), large leaves of lettuce (protected hearts and small plants will survive even colder temperatures). • 20°F (–7°C): Some beets, broccoli heads (maybe OK to 15°F, -9.5°C), Brussels sprouts, some cabbage heads (the insides may still be good even if the outer leaves are damaged), celeriac, celtuce (stem lettuce), some head lettuce, some mustards/Asian greens (Tendergreen, Tyfon Holland greens), flat-leafed parsley, radishes, unprotected rutabagas, most turnips with mulch to protect them. • 15°F (–9.5°C): Some beets, beet leaves, broccoli leaves, some cabbage, celery with rowcover, red chard, cilantro, endive, some fava beans, Russian kales, kohlrabi, some lettuce, especially small and medium-sized plants, curly parsley, large leaves of broad leaf sorrel, turnip leaves, winter cress.
  7. 7. Colder still (down to 10°F) • 12°F (–11°C): Some beets, some cabbage, carrots, most collards, some fava beans, garlic tops if fairly large, most fall or summer varieties of leeks, large tops of potato onions, mulched rutabagas, Senposai leaves (the core of the plant may survive 10F), some turnips, winter radish (including some daikon). • 10°F (–12°C): Beets with rowcover, purple sprouting broccoli for spring harvest, Brussels sprouts, chard (green chard is hardier than multi-colored types), Deadon cabbage, some collards, upland cress, some endive, young stalks of bronze fennel, probably Komatsuna, some leeks, some head lettuce under row cover, protected Asian winter radish (including daikon), large leaves of savoyed spinach (more hardy than flat leafed varieties), tatsoi, Yukina Savoy.
  8. 8. Coldest (down to 0°F) • 5°F (–15°C): Garlic tops if still small, some kale, some leeks, some bulb onions, potato onions and other multiplier onions, smaller leaves of savoyed spinach and broad leaf sorrel, many of the Even’ Star Ice Bred greens varieties are hardy down to 6°F (-14°C), a few unprotected lettuces if small. • 0°F (–18°C): Chives, some collards (Blue Max, Winner), corn salad, garlic, horseradish, Jerusalem artichokes, Vates kale (although some leaves may be too damaged to use), Even’ Star Ice-Bred Smooth Leaf kale, a few leeks (Alaska, Durabel), some onion scallions (Evergreen Winter Hardy White, White Lisbon), parsnips, salad burnet, salsify, some spinach (Bloomsdale Savoy, Olympia, Tyee).
  9. 9. Colder than coldest • 0°F (-18°C), Vates kale survives although some leaves may be too damaged to use. • -5°F (-19°C).Leaves of overwintering varieties of cauliflower • -10°F (-23°C) Walla Walla onions sown in late summer • -30°F to -40°F (-34°C to -40°C) Narrow leaf sorrel, Claytonia and some cabbage (January King?) are said to be hardy in zone 3 Use this table to decide what to grow and when to harvest it.
  10. 10. Four ranges of storable crops 1. Fall crops to harvest before 25°F (-4°C) cold weather and store indoors 2. Crops to keep alive in the ground into winter to 22°-15°F (-6°C to -9°C), then harvest and store 3. Hardy crops to store in the ground and harvest during the winter. In zone 7, hardy to 0°-10°F (-17.8°C to -12.3°C) See my slideshow Cold hardy Winter Vegetables on for more on these crops 4. Overwinter crops for spring harvests before the main season. In zone 7, hardy to 0°-10°F (-17.8°C to -12.3°C) See my slideshow Fall Vegetable Production on for more on these crops
  11. 11. Range 1. Fall crops to harvest before cold weather (32°-25°F) Winter squash and pumpkins Potatoes Sweet potatoes Peanuts Crosnes/Chinese artichokes Dry beans Seed crops Heading chicory Sugarloaf chicory Chicory for chicons Napa Chinese cabbage Sweet potato harvest Photo Nina Gentle
  12. 12. Winter squash and pumpkins • High yields without a lot of work! • Direct sow (or transplant) in late spring (5/25 at Twin Oaks) • Consider bio-degradable plastic mulch, rowcover, insect nets • Thin and hoe or weed as needed • Harvest once a week in fall until too frosty • Store dry and warm • Photo Seminole pumpkin. Kathryn Simmons
  13. 13. Winter squash and pumpkins – Cucurbita pepo Pumpkins are squashes! Different types of squash store for different lengths of time Acorn Squash Photo Small Farm Central • Cucurbita pepo includes acorn squash, delicata, dumplings, spaghetti squash and some pumpkins (New England Pie, Winter Luxury Pie and Connecticut Field), as well as summer squash, zucchini, pattypans • The plants have prickly leaves and hard, angular (non-flaring) five-sided stems. • The fruits are often ribbed and have a mild flavor. • Pepos are susceptible to vine borers. • Pepo squash mature fast and store for only a few months
  14. 14. Winter squash, pumpkins - C. maxima • C. maxima includes many large squash, some of which store quite well - a few months up to a year • This group includes buttercups/kabochas, hubbards, bananas, Jarrahdale, Candy Roaster, Galeux d’Eysines and Rouge Vif d’Etampes • The plants have soft, round stems; huge, hairy leaves • Fruits have thick, round stems, fine- textured and good-flavored flesh • Maxima plants are very susceptible to wilts, borers and squash bug damage • Jarrahdale and a hybrid kabocha, Cha- Cha, have relatively high resistance to squash bugs Sweet Meat Squash. Photo Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
  15. 15. Winter squash, pumpkins - C. moschata • The species that stores the longest • Butternuts and similar tan-colored squash, such as Seminole, Cheese and the large Tahitian Butternut and Lunga di Napoli, are in this species. • The plants have large hairy leaves and fruits with flared angular stems. • They usually have bright orange flesh that is sweet and tasty. • Focus on this type if you want trouble- free squash, with no damage from borers or cucumber beetles. The tougher stems are more able to repel invaders. • They need warm growing temperatures above 60°F (16°C). Butternut squash Photo Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
  16. 16. Cucurbita argyrosperma or C. mixta • This species includes many old- time Southern varieties. • Cushaws are mixta species. • Plants are rampant; leaves are large and hairy. • Fruit stems are slightly flared, slightly angular and hairy. • The flesh is often yellow rather than orange, and low in sugars, so these squash are often cooked with sweeteners. • This group has the best drought-resistance • Good resistance to borers and beetles. • Medium-term storage. Green striped Cushaw squash. Photo by Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
  17. 17. Potatoes • Potatoes provide more carbohydrates per area than any other temperate crop, and more protein per area than all other crops except legumes. • A 2,000-calorie all-potato diet contains considerably more protein than a 2,000-calorie all-rice diet. • Potatoes contain 10.4 grams of protein per 100 grams dry weight • Good source of vitamin C and carbohydrates • Yields are likely to be 150 lbs/ac (168 kg/ha); 200 lbs/ac (224 kg/ha) is a good yield Potato harvest with Cecchi & Magli SP100 machine. Photo Kathryn Simmons
  18. 18. Potatoes • Crop rotation is important. • A cool-weather crop, we plant 3/15-6/25 • Potatoes have flexibility about planting dates • The tops are not frost tolerant. • Guideline for suitable spring planting: 3 consecutive days with a soil temperature at a depth of 4”(10 cm) > 43°F (6°C). • Traditional phenology sign – blooming daffodils. June-planted potatoes hilled and mulched immediately after planting. Photo Kathryn Simmons
  19. 19. Potatoes • Be less dependent on the weather • Enable cover crops or food crops to grow longer before the land is needed for the potatoes • Or bring harvest forward 10-14 days • Make cutting of seed potato pieces easier for new people (the sprouts are more obvious than eyes) • Optimize the number of sprouts • Give the potatoes more ideal growing conditions early on and so increasing final emergence rate Cut pieces of potatoes sprouted for 2-4 weeks in spring, 1-2 weeks in summer. Photo Kati Falger Pre-sprouting (chitting or greensprouting) encourages seed potatoes to start growing sprouts before you plant them.
  20. 20. Potatoes Potatoes stored in plastic crates in our root cellar. Photo McCune Porter • To harvest for storage, wait until the tops are completely dead • You can bring about an early vine death by mowing or flaming. • This will also remove weeds that could interfere with your digging equipment. • Wait 2 weeks to let the skins toughen up. • Test for skin maturity - dig up a few potatoes and try rubbing the skin off with your thumb. If the skin abrades wait a little longer. • Avoid irrigating at the end of the growing period or the potatoes may develop hollow heart, make knobbly secondary growths or even crack.
  21. 21. Sweet potatoes • Sweet potatoes are an ideal storage crop, high yields for low labor. • Frost-sensitive vining crop. • Grow from slips (vine cuttings), purchased or home-grown. • Harvest sweet potatoes in the week in which the first frost typically occurs. • Aim to harvest on a mild day, above 50°F (10°C), to avoid chilling injury • Don’t wait till soil temperatures get below 55°F. • If frost strikes, waste no time – get them harvested within a few days. Photo Nina Gentle For details, see my slideshow Growing Sweet Potatoes from start to finish on
  22. 22. When to harvest sweet potatoes • Usually sweet potatoes are harvested in the week that the first frost typically occurs in your region. • Aim to harvest on a mild day, above 50°F (10°C), to avoid chilling injury • Don’t wait till soil temperatures get below 55°F. • If frost strikes, waste no time – get them harvested within a few days. • If the days are warm, a couple of light frosts will not harm your crop. Despite myths, there is no toxin in frozen leaves going down into the roots. • Cold wet soil can quickly rot sweet potatoes. Cold injury can ruin the crop - roots without leaf cover are exposed to cold air temperatures, and have lost their method of pulling water up out of the soil. • In drought, irrigate the field before harvest, to avoid scratching the skin with chunks of dry soil. Photo Kathryn Simmons
  23. 23. Let damp tubers dry Let the tubers dry in the sun for up to an hour, unless the weather is unsuitable. Don’t leave roots exposed to temperatures higher than 90°F for more than ½ hour, or they get sun-scald. And below 55°F, they’ll get chilling injury. Photo Nina Gentle Max 90F Min 55F
  24. 24. To wash or not to wash? • We do not wash our potatoes. I expect the need depends on soil type. We find most of the soil drops off during curing and storage. • Some growers always wash the roots well before curing. Washing is easiest when they are freshly dug. It is much easier to wash them on a sunny September day than in winter. • Anthony Boutard says “Appearance is not my prime concern. . . Listeria is a soil borne bacterium. With the recent outbreaks I am making sure staff and I are careful when handling food and soil together. ” Washed white sweet potatoes. Photo Anthony Boutard
  25. 25. Curing Boxes of sweet potatoes curing with battens between the layers of boxes. Photo Nina Gentle • Curing allows the skin to thicken, cuts to heal, and some of the starches to convert to sugars. Uncured “green” sweet potatoes are not very sweet, and are best used in dishes with other foods. • Ideal conditions are 85-90°F, and 80- 95% humidity for 4-7 days. There also needs to be some air flow and ventilation. • Curing takes longer if conditions are less than perfect. Reckon on 10-14 days. • To test if curing is complete, rub two sweet potatoes together. If the skins scratch, they need to cure longer.
  26. 26. Storage • Ideal storage conditions for sweet potatoes are 55-60°F, 85-90% humidity, with one air change each day. Above 60°F, shrinking and sprouting may occur, and below 55°F, a permanent chilling injury (Hard Core) can happen. The potatoes remain hard no matter how long you cook them, and are useless. Do not ever let the temperature drop below 50°F. • Sweet potatoes do not need to be in the dark. Dormancy is generally broken by moisture and warmth, not daylight. Green sprouts are not toxic, as are those of white potatoes. Photo Nina Gentle
  27. 27. Peanuts • Peanuts need a frost-free period of at least 110 days. • They like warm or hot conditions, with adequate but not excessive water. • They can be transplanted, but they do not germinate well without soil. Use actual soil, or a mix containing soil. • Slow growing at first • Hill when 12” (30 cm) tall • Do not disturb the soil during pegging Carwiles Virginia Peanut Photo Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
  28. 28. Harvesting and drying peanuts • Either wait for a light frost to kill the tops, • Or harvest when enough peanuts are mature. • Dry promptly, indoors or out, on the vine or off. • Minimize chances of fungi. (Moldy peanuts contain toxic aflatoxin) • Do not heat the nuts higher than 85°F (29°C). Drying too fast causes skin slippage and kernel splitting. • Mice really love peanuts, and will stash them in quantity, given the chance. Carwile’s Virginia peanut. Photo Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
  29. 29. Curing and storing peanuts • If vine-drying, you can also cure the peanuts on the vine. • Or pick the good nuts off the plants once they have dried and cure in the sun for a few days. • Peanuts will cure to a storable state in 2-3 weeks indoors without heat. • To find out if curing is finished, taste some. If they still have the watery crunch of water chestnuts, they are not ready; once they taste good, they’re cured. • For long-term storage, a sealed container in a freezer works well. They need to be kept very dry. Carolina Black peanut. Photo Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
  30. 30. Crosnes/Chinese artichokes • Perennial, also known as Japanese artichoke, chorogi and knotroot • Trendy tiny spiral-shaped tubers that come from a member of the mint family. • Plant in fall or early spring in full sun, 3” deep, 12” apart (crowding reduces yield, size) • Harvest in the fall when the mint-like leaves die. The ones you miss grow next year • Cleaning can be slow so pack size should be relatively small and price relatively high • Store crosnes in plastic bags at a temperature of 35-40 F • The flavor is mild and juicy - it can be eaten raw or cooked, more as a garnish than a staple. Salads, stir-fries, pickles
  31. 31. Dry beans and peas • Soup beans, seed beans and peas • Grow beans as usual • Wait until the pods are drying (no daily harvests!) • Can collect dry pods every two days. Or combine when almost all are dry • Thresh and winnow – need the equipment to make this pay Black Turtle Bush Bean Photo Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
  32. 32. Seed crops • Seed growing involves processing seeds either immediately (wet process) or later (dry process) • Seed crops can be a good source of off-season income • Income for seeds often comes in the winter or early spring • You can sell to a local seed company • Or sell your own seeds via Local Harvest, eBay or directly from your farm or website. Orangeglo watermelon seed project Photo Twin Oaks Seeds
  33. 33. Heading chicories • Storable chicories include radicchio, sugarloaf chicory, Belgian endive, and others, but not frisée, escarole, (the other main culinary species) • Chicories develop their peak flavor and sweetness as temperatures drop in the fall • More hardy than lettuce • Hold well in the cooler, much better than lettuce, especially when harvested slightly immature with an inch of root attached • 2 main types of radicchio - Chioggia (round and red), and Treviso (oblong and red). • Longer maturing varieties are more cold tolerant, shorter maturing ones are more heat tolerant. Photo
  34. 34. Sugarloaf chicory • A heading chicory between a Belgian and a radicchio in looks. • Easier to grow than Belgian (Witloof) Endive • It grows to the size of a small romaine lettuce • One of the sweetest, least bitter chicories • But also the least cold hardy. Photo
  35. 35. Chicory for chicons • Belgian Endive (Witloof) – forcing chicory • The seeding date is earlier than other chicories, to get a large root for harvest before the ground freezes. • The harvested roots are stored (planted) in deep crates of soil mix • In late winter the crates are warmed in a completely dark space to force leaves to grow, forming a tight, very pale head of leaves. Witloof chicory
  36. 36. Napa Chinese cabbage • Napa cabbage will store in the refrigerator for 6 weeks. • Harvest mature heads in the morning. • Remove all soiled and blemished outer leaves. • Air dry (it is important that there is no moisture on the leaves). • Store in a perforated plastic bag in a refrigerator.
  37. 37. Range 2. Crops to keep alive in the ground into winter to 22°-15°F (-6°C to -9°C), then store Many crops can survive some freezing, so it is worth experimenting to find how late you can keep crops outdoors. Use the table to get an idea of what to expect. Celeriac takes 20°F (–7°C ) Large Smooth Prague celeriac. Credit Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.
  38. 38. Range 2. Crops to keep alive in the ground as far into winter as possible, then store Beets Cabbage Carrots Celeriac Kohlrabi Winter radish, including daikon Rutabagas Turnips Bed of young Danvers carrots. Credit Kathryn Simmons
  39. 39. Beets • Beets can be grown in spring and in fall in the mid-Atlantic • To grow in the fall, we sow August 1 or so, and harvest in late October. • We like Cylindra • Beets store very well, and we have even had spring- sown beets, sown in March, harvested in late June, still be good the next February Young beet plants and soil thermometer Photo Bridget Aleshire
  40. 40. Cabbage • We sow fall cabbages in mid-late June, and transplant them at 4 weeks old. • Be sure to choose varieties noted for long storage. • We harvest them from 9/25 to 11/30 • Sow late maturing cabbages (Deadon, Brunswick and January King ) earlier, in early JuneCabbages, broccoli, Brussels sprouts. Photo McCune Porter
  41. 41. Carrots • We sow carrots for fall at the beginning of August • We harvest them in late November • Using a pre-emergent flaming is a great way to deal with weeds Pre-emergent flame weeding. Photo Brittany Lewis Fall carrots. Photo Bridget Aleshire
  42. 42. Celeriac Mars celeriac. Photo Johnnys Selected Seeds Also known as turnip-rooted celery, celeriac is an unusual vegetable, which stores very well. Only the root is eaten, the stalks are fibrous. Growing celeriac is similar to growing celery, but is somewhat easier. • Slow-growing - 85 days to grow to transplant size and at least 95 days from transplanting to maturity • The seeds need light to germinate - can take 3 weeks • Do not expose seedlings to temperatures below 55°F/12.7°C for a period of 10 days or more - this can cause bolting. • Transplant once the weather is settled warm. Plants 6–8” apart in the row with 18–36” between rows. • Keep the soil damp for uninterrupted growth and good quality roots.
  43. 43. Kohlrabi • Kohlrabi can be direct sown or transplanted for fall growing • Only 58 days from sowing to harvest. • We have transplanted 3-4 week old starts on August 3, and harvested at the end of October. • Kohlrabi is hardy to maybe 15°F (–9.4°C). We could plant mid- August for early November harvest. • It stores well in perforated plastic bags under refrigeration Kohlrabi Photo by McCune Porter
  44. 44. • We sow winter radish August 4. China Rose and a daikon. • We harvest in October or November before temperatures drop to 20°F (- 7°C) • Stores well in plastic bags under refrigeration • Popular for making Kim Chee, as well as for salads and stir- fries. Frosty daikon. Photo Bridget Aleshire Winter radish, including daikon
  45. 45. Rutabagas • Rutabagas are a brassica like turnips – usually larger. • Roots with necks and lateral roots • Slower-growing and more cold- hardy than turnips • 90 days to maturity, sow 35 days before fall turnips (beginning of July for us) • Can often be stored in the ground (unlike turnips, except in mild climates). • Can tolerate a spell of temperatures at 26° F (–3°C), but if a significant frost occurs over a prolonged period the root may freeze. • Mulch over them with loose straw when the temperatures drop near 20°F (–7°C). • They really don’t have to be waxed. American Purple Top Rutabaga Photo
  46. 46. Turnips • We sow Purple Top White Globe outdoors August 6 for storage. Golden Globe is also cold-hardy • We harvest in October and November, before temperatures drop to 20°F (–7°C). • Hakurei is popular, but it is also one of the least cold-tolerant, and does not survive dips below 10 °F (-12 °C) very well, even with protection, as almost the entire root rests on top of the soil. You could mulch heavily, or grow in the winter hoophouse, where they do very well.Purple Top turnip. Photo Small Farm Central
  47. 47. • Collards • Horseradish • Jerusalem artichokes • Kale • Leeks • Parsnips • Scallions • Spinach Fresh harvest; white, pink and brown Jerusalem artichokes. Photo courtesy: net_efekt. Range 3. Hardy crops to store in the ground, harvest during the winter - for zone 7, hardy to 0° to 10° F (-17.8°C to -12.3° C)
  48. 48. Hardy crops to store in the ground, harvest during the winter Use the cold-hardiness table to look for crops that will survive your lowest temperatures, taking any crop protection into account. Add some wind protection, if you can. Look for the hardiest cultivars. At our Zone 7 farm, we overwinter Vates kale without rowcover, but not Winterbor or Russian kales. We grow our winter-harvest crops in our raised bed area, which is more accessible in winter and more suited to small quantities. Vates kale Photo Kathryn Simmons
  49. 49. Collards Collards survive outdoors without rowcover at our farm (Zone 7). We grow only a few hundred feet of collards. We harvest small amounts throughout the winter, and when spring arrives, the plants give us big harvests sooner than the new spring-sown crops. Immature Morris Heading collards plant Photo Kathryn Simmons
  50. 50. Horseradish • Horseradish is a perennial, easily propagated from pieces of root • It can be hard to get rid of if you change your mind • Traditionally harvested September-April • Harvested roots can be refrigerated for several months until used. • It can provide value-added products for out-of-season sales • When you process it, do it outdoors, with googles on • Throw the peelings in the trash, not the compost pile, as they easily regrow!
  51. 51. Jerusalem artichokes/Sunchokes • Simple to grow, 10ft tall sunflower cousins • Different skin color and root shapes are available - look for smooth, not knobbly ones, to save cleaning time • Better to have a semi-permanent plot, as any small tubers you miss will regrow • Plant small, whole tubers from early spring until last frost. • To get big roots, give plants the longest possible growing season. • Harvest 100 lbs from 25 sq ft. • Dig them up from late fall to early spring, depending how cold it gets. Cool weather improves flavor. • Store under refrigeration or in a root cellar • Save small tubers to replant
  52. 52. Kale: direct sown/transplanted mix Our mixed direct-sow/transplant method allows for patchy germination, and requires less watering than if direct sowing it all. Three times, (8/4, 8/10, 8/16), we sow two beds with rows 10" (25 cm) apart and then carefully thin them, leaving one plant every foot (30 cm) We use the carefully dug thinnings from those beds to fill gaps and to plant other beds, at the same plant spacing. Another reason we use this system is that we want a lot of kale, and there isn’t time to transplant it all. We grow about 2800 row feet of overwinter Vates kale for 100 people. Vates kale. Credit Kathryn Simmons
  53. 53. Winter-harvest leeks Unlike onions, leeks grow independently of day length and will stand in the field at temperatures below what many other vegetables can handle, increasing in size until you harvest them. Leeks are slow growing, start them in spring. Overwintered leeks with a scattering of snow. Leek varieties - 2 main types: • less hardy, faster-growing varieties, often with lighter green leaves, which are not winter-hardy north of Zone 8, • blue-green hardier winter leeks. We like Tadorna (100 days), Bandit, King Sieg (84 days) and Bleu de Solaize (105 days, very hardy). • Giant Musselburgh (105 days) is bolt-resistant, for overwintering in milder climates.
  54. 54. Parsnips Root crops that thrive in mild weather, surprisingly easy to grow in warmer climates Similar requirements to carrots and beets but parsnips are slow growing, start them in spring only Need at least 110 days before winter gets too cold for them to grow any more Sow March - late April - they are almost guaranteed to be big enough by the end of the season Don’t harvest before frosts – poor flavor Hybrids are often smoother, higher quality than OPs Photo Small Farm Central Hollow Crown parsnips. Photo Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
  55. 55. Scallions • Evergreen Hardy White and White Lisbon scallions are hardy down to 0F (-18C) • Because the tops will suffer some damage, it’s better to harvest before these temperatures, or trim and wait till spring • Can be stored under refrigeration, with the trimmed bases in a small amount of water Evergreen Hardy White scallions Photo Nina Gentle
  56. 56. Spinach We grow about 2800 row feet of overwinter spinach for 100 people. Optimum germination temperature for spinach is 70°F (21°C) Max 85°F (29°C). 8 weeks before the first fall frost date is a good time to start planting spinach again, if it’s not too hot. Wait for soil temperature to drop (dead nettle, chickweed, henbit germinating). For earlier planting, pre-sprout seeds one week. We sow sprouted spinach 9/1 or so. Rowcovered spinach in winter. Photo Woody Kawatski
  57. 57. Spinach We use double hoops and rowcovers and pick spinach throughout the winter, whenever leaves are big enough. We pick one bed each day in October, November, February and March, when the weather is not too awful. Spinach makes some growth whenever the temperature is above about 40°F (5°C), so we can also make occasional harvests in December and January. Tyee spinach, our favorite variety. Photo Kathryn Simmons
  58. 58. Range 4. Overwinter crops for spring harvests before the main season • Cabbage • carrots • chard • collards • garlic and garlic scallions • kale • multiplier onions (potato onions) • scallions • spinach Some crops, if kept alive through the winter, will start to grow again with the least hint of spring weather and be harvestable earlier than spring plantings. In early spring comes the “Hungry Gap” when the supply of winter roots and leafy greens dwindles and people hanker for some fresh produce with different flavors Planting garlic. Photo Brittany Lewis
  59. 59. Cabbage Deadon Cabbage Photo Johnnys Seeds We have sometimes overwintered Deadon cabbage. It is winter-killed at 10°F (-12°C), so we often harvest in mid- winter
  60. 60. Carrots • We have also sometimes overwintered Danvers carrots. They are hardy down to 12°F (-11°C) • Meadow voles can be a big problem in our garden, so we like to check periodically Danvers Half-Long Carrots Photo Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
  61. 61. Chard • Almost all chard is hardy to 15°F(–10°C) without rowcover. • Green chard is hardier than the multi-colored types • To keep chard overwinter, either use hoops and rowcover (in mild areas, Zone 6 or warmer), or else cut off the leaves in early winter and mulch heavily right over the plants. • It germinates best at 85°F (29°C) - useful as a substitute if the fall is too hot to sow spinach. Fordhook Giant chard. Photo Bridget Aleshire
  62. 62. Collards • We regularly succeed in overwintering our Morris Heading collards in zone 7 (low 0° to 10°F (-17.8°C to -12.3°C) outdoors without rowcover. • Most collard varieties are hardy to 12°F (–11°C) • Some varieties (Blue Max, Winner), are hardy to 0°F (–18°C)Collards Photo Raddysh Acorn
  63. 63. Overwinter alliums for harvest before the main season • If you’re thinking about over-winter crops to harvest next year, garlic and multiplier onions are an obvious choice • You won’t get an earlier harvest by planting earlier! • With alliums, such as bulb onions, multiplier onions and garlic, the harvest dates are regulated by day length, so the harvest cannot be earlier, but the bulbs will be bigger if you can overwinter the small plants. • Garlic scallions are a great early spring crop – easy, flavorful, unusual. For details, see my slideshow Growing Great Garlic on
  64. 64. When to plant garlic • Fall-planting is best. Garlic emerges quickly in the fall • 9 am soil temperature 50°F (10°C) at 4” (10 cm) deep. We plant in early November. If the fall is unusually warm, wait a week. • Roots grow whenever the ground is not frozen • Tops grow whenever the temperature is above 40°F (4.5°C).
  65. 65. Garlic Scallions • Save small cloves from planting your main crop • Plant close together in furrows, dropping them almost end to end, as they fall. Close the furrow and mulch over the top with spoiled hay or straw. • We harvest garlic scallions from early March till May, at about 7-8" (18-20 cm) tall, • Trim the roots, rinse, bundle, set in a small bucket with a little water, and you're done! • Scallions can be sold in small bunches of 3-6. • Some people cut the greens at 10" (25 cm) tall, and bunch them, allowing cuts to be made every two or three weeks. We tried this, but prefer to simply pull the whole plant. The leaves keep in better condition if still attached to the clove. Photo Kathryn Simmons Small whole garlic plants. An attractive early crop.
  66. 66. Overwintered kale - outdoors We overwinter Vates kale outdoors and Red Russian and White Russian in our hoophouse Only Vates survives outdoors. We’ve tried many varieties, but not yet the Ice-Bred ones Photo of overwintered Vates kale
  67. 67. Overwintered kale - inside Harvesting Russian kales in the hoophouse in late winter. Photo Wren Vile Russian kales (napus varieties) do better in the hoophouse than Vates (blue curled Scotch oleracea type) does Russian kales will make growth at lower temperatures than Vates will, although they are not as cold –tolerant. We tried Black Magic Lacinato kale outdoors and in the hoophouse but it didn’t do as well
  68. 68. Multiplier Onions • Potato onions are planted in September (the largest ones) • Medium-sized ones are planted in late October or early November • Small ones are planted in November or in early spring (less good) • Mulch over the top immediately after planting • Do nothing all winter • Weed in spring • Harvest as the tops fall in June • Sell the largest ones for eating (but save back any for planting) • Cure and store the smaller ones for replanting or sell for growing Yellow Potato Onions Photo Kathryn Simmons
  69. 69. Scallions (bunching onions, spring onions) • Scallions are a perennial often grown as an annual • They never form large bulbs • Clusters can be dug and divided periodically and replanted • Where the soil does not freeze solid they can be left outdoors all year. • Evergreen Hardy White is especially cold-tolerantScallions over-wintered in our hoophouse and interplanted with beans in mid-March. Photo Bridget Aleshire Scallions Photo Small Farm Central
  70. 70. Peas • Peas can be sown in late July for a spring crop in milder areas than ours. • Sow 1" (2.5 cm) apart to allow for extra losses. • Keep the voles away • Provide some protection from cold winds Sugar Ann snap pea flower. Photo Kathryn Simmons
  71. 71. Spinach • We sow 2 beds of spinach 9/20- 9/30, 2 weeks later than our last date for winter harvests - Sowing in October is also OK • We hoop and cover for the winter • Spinach grows every time the air temperature tops 39°F (4°C). • It overwinters as adolescents and we harvest in the spring. • It bolts later than the ones we harvest all winter; earlier than spring-sown beds. • On 3/1 we sow snap peas in the center of the bed, benefitting from the same rowcover. Over-wintered spinach inter- planted with snap peas Photo Kathryn Simmons
  72. 72. DIY weather-forecasting Learn your local weather patterns - keep records, watch what happens. • Our mid-Atlantic climate is controlled mainly by 3 weather systems: – moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, – the Bermuda High Pressure area in summer, – the recurrent waves of cold Canadian air in winter. • Rain (fairly evenly distributed throughout the year in our county) – slight peaks in January, February and March, early June, August. • Some parts of our area can experience long periods of drought. • September-November is the drier season but it’s also the hurricane season, so the net result is very variable. • We use Wunderground, but subtract 5F° from their forecast night lows for our nearest town, and mentally downgrade the chance of rain by 10%, as rain often passes us by as it scoots along the river valley north of us.
  73. 73. Predicting frost Frost is more likely at Twin Oaks if: • The date is after 10/14 or before 4/30. • The Wunderground forecast low for Louisa Northside is 37°F (3°C) or less. • The daytime high temperature was less than 70°F (21°C). • The temperature at sunset is less than 50°F (10°C). • The sky is clear. • The soil is dry and cool. • The moon is full or new (maybe to do with tides and gravity?). • If temperatures are falling fast, the wind is from NW and the sky is clear, then polar air may be moving in, and we'll get a hard freeze. • The dew point forecast is low, close to freezing. Frost is unlikely if the dew point is 43°F or more.
  74. 74. Crop Protection  Rowcover: Lightweight, easy to use, easy to store.  Edges need to be held down by bags of rocks or sand, plastic jugs of water, metal or wooden stakes  To protect against frost, you need a heavyweight rowcover. Thinner rowcover can be doubled up in severely cold weather.  Dupont Xavan 5131 (Typar). 1.25 oz/sq yd fabric, can last for more than 6 years. Spunbonded polypropylene, 75% light transmission, provides about 6 degrees F (3.3 degrees C) of frost protection.  Agribon 17 (or 19), spun-bonded polypropylene 0.55 oz/sq yd, transmits 85% of sunlight, offers 4°F (2.2°C) of frost protection for winter use.  We think polypropylene rowcover lasts longer and is tougher than polyester (Reemay). Photo Kathryn Simmons
  75. 75. Avoiding pitfalls of rowcover  If you are growing on bare soil rather than plastic mulch, weeds will grow very well, secretly and out of sight.  Rowcover reduces light levels.  Ventilate covered crops in mild weather, so they don’t lose their cold tolerance.  Hoops keep rowcover from sticking to frozen leaves and reduce abrasion. 9- or 10-gauge wire. In winter we use double wire hoops — the outer hoops trap the rowcover so it doesn’t blow away.  There are also spring steel hoops, for setting by machine or by hand. Easy to store - they return to a relaxed bow shape when removed from the soil, don’t get tangled. Seem to come in just one length, 64" (1.63 m), which is fine for a single row of plants, but less good for our beds with multiple rows.
  76. 76. Protection from pests • For nursery seedbeds we use rowcover or ProtekNet (from Purple Mountain Organics) on wire hoops. • Overly thick rowcover or rowcover resting directly on the plants can make the seedlings more likely to die of fungal diseases in hot weather — good airflow is vital. • For transplanted crops, an 84" (2.1 m) width rowcover or net can form a tunnel over 2 crop rows 34” apart, giving good airflow. Photo credit Dubois Engineering
  77. 77. The hoophouse in winter We are amazed at how incredibly productive hoophouses are. • Rate of growth of cold-weather crops is much faster inside • Crop quality, especially leafy greens, is superb. • Plants can tolerate lower temperatures than outdoors; they have the pleasant daytime conditions in which to recover. Salad greens in a hoophouse can survive nights with outdoor lows of 14°F (–10°C) without inner covers. • Much more pleasant than dealing with frozen rowcovers and hoops outdoors. • Greenhouses and coldframes also offer opportunities for cold- weather cropping, but get a hoophouse if you can. For details, see my slideshow Fall and Winter Hoophouses on
  78. 78. Winter hoophouse crop overview Store crops in the ground for winter and early spring harvest • Salad crops • Cooking greens • Turnips • Radishes • Scallions • We aim to harvest greens in the hoophouse after the outdoor crops slow down, and turnips after the stored outdoor fall turnips have all been eaten, or as an occasional delectable alternative.
  79. 79. Persephone days and scheduling winter hoophouse crops • When the daylight is shorter than 10 hours a day not much growth happens. It depends on your latitude. • In Central Virginia, latitude 38° North, this period lasts 2 months, from November 21 to January 21. Soil temperature also matters. December 15 - February 15 is the slowest growing time for us. • Be aware of the increase in days to maturity in winter. • To harvest in the darkest days of winter you’ll need to plan a good supply of mature crops to take you through. What has already grown before this period will provide most of your harvests. • For most of the winter, our hoophouse plants are actively growing, not merely being stored for harvest (as happens in colder climate zones and outdoors), so we can continue sowing new hoophouse crops even in December.
  80. 80. Nitrate accumulation • When daylight is short, there is a health risk associated with nitrate accumulation in leafy greens. Nitrates are converted in the body into toxic nitrites, which reduce the blood’s capacity to carry oxygen. Also, nitrites can form carcinogenic nitrosamines. • Plants make nitrates during the night, and convert them into leaf material during the day. It takes about 6 hours of sunlight to use up a night’s worth of nitrates. • In winter, a small handful of leafy vegetables can exceed the acceptable daily intake level of nitrate for an adult, unless special efforts have been made to reduce the levels. For details, see my slideshow Fall and Winter Hoophouses on • Spinach, mustard greens and collards contain about twice as much as lettuce; radishes, kale and beets often have two and a half times as much. Turnip greens are especially high, at 3 times lettuce levels.
  81. 81. To keep nitrate levels as low as possible  Grow varieties best suited for winter;  Avoid fertilizing with blood meal or feather meal; use organic compost.  Ensure soil has sufficient P, K, Mg and Mo  Water enough but not excessively;  Provide fresh air as soon as temperatures reach 68°F (20°C), so that carbon dioxide levels are high enough;  Harvest after at least four (preferably six) hours of bright sunlight in winter;  Avoid harvesting on very overcast days; Consider lighting.  Avoid over-mature crops and discard the outer leaves. Harvest crops a little under-mature, rather than over-mature;  Use crops soon after harvest;  Refrigerate immediately after harvest, store harvested greens at temperatures close to freezing;  Mix your salads; don’t just eat turnip greens.
  82. 82. Days to maturity Find the number of days to maturity (from the catalog). Is that number from seeding to harvest or transplant to harvest? Work back from each target harvest date, subtracting days to maturity, to give the planting date. Days to maturity in catalogs are generally for spring planting once conditions have warmed to the usual range for that crop. When growing late into the fall, add about 14 days for the slowdown. “Days to Maturity” usually means “Days to First Harvest” which may not be the same as “Days to Full Harvest”. With carrots it doesn’t matter exactly what size they are, but an immature cabbage is just no good.
  83. 83. Maturity Indicators • Size: Cow Horn okra at 5” (others shorter), green beans a bit thinner than a pencil, carrots at whatever size you like, 7” asparagus, 6” zucchini • Color: Garden Peach tomatoes with a pink flush. The “ground spot” of a watermelon turns from greenish white to buttery yellow at maturity, and the curly tendrils where the stem meets the melon turn brown and dry. For market you may harvest “fruit” crops a bit under-ripe • Shape: cucumbers that are rounded out, not triangular in cross-section, but not blimps. Sugar Ann snap peas completely round • Softness or texture: eggplants that “bounce back” when lightly squeezed, snap beans that are crisp with pliable tips. Harvest most muskmelons when the stem separates easily from the fruit (“Full slip”). • Skin toughness: storage potatoes when the skins don’t rub off, usually two weeks after the tops die, whether naturally or because of mowing. • Sound: watermelons sound like your chest not your head or your belly when thumped. Try the “Scrunch Test” - press down firmly on the melon
  84. 84. Cabbageswhen the head is firm and the outer leaf on the head is curling back. To keep mature cabbage in the ground a bit longer, twist the heads to break off some of the feeder roots and limit water uptake, and they will be less likely to split. Maturity Indicators
  85. 85. Maturity Indicators - Garlic • Garlic is ready to harvest when the sixth leaf down is starting to brown on 50% of the crop. See Ron Engeland's Growing Great Garlic. • Harvesting too early means smaller bulbs (harvesting way too early means an undifferentiated bulb and lots of wrappers that then shrivel up). • Harvesting too late means the bulbs may "shatter" or have an exploded look, and not store well. • Cut across hardneck garlic – airspaces around stem show maturity See my slide show Growing Great Garlic on
  86. 86. Maturity Indicators - Onions Wait until the tops fall over to harvest, then gently dig up the whole plant and dry. Leave the dry, papery outer skin on the onion. Photos by Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
  87. 87. Winter harvesting techniques With fall sown crops the aim is often to keep the same plants alive through the winter. November - January is not a good time to sow replacements. Don’t harvest frozen crops — wait till they thaw. Except for kale. With leafy vegetables, highest productivity is from “Cut and Come Again” crops — the tops of the plants above the growing point are cut with scissors or shears every 10–35 days. Leaf-by-leaf is the method we use for kale, collards, chard and spinach. Never remove more than 40 percent of the total leaf area - don’t take too many leaves - save “8 for later”. Whole plant harvesting works well for small plants like tatsoi and corn salad. A direct- seeded row can be thinned over time by harvesting out the biggest plants on each visit. Tatsoi. Credit Wren Vile
  88. 88. Post-harvest Handling Each crop has specific post-harvest handling and storage needs. Knowing proper storage techniques can extend the shelf life of products and, in some cases, improve quality. Photo Carolina Farm Stewardships Association
  89. 89. Vegetable Storage We store bulk roots and cabbages in 50 pound bags in a walk-in cooler. Step-by-step instructions: Harvest the vegetables, ensuring gentle treatment, no bruising. Trim. Use scissors or a knife for a clean cut, and leave about ¼” of leaf-stems attached to roots. It might be quicker to tear the leaves off, but this doesn’t give such good results and can cause the crop to need extra storage space. With cabbages, remove the loose wrapper leaves. Carrot washing and storing. Photo Wren Vile
  90. 90. Washing Roots – machines See Atina Diffley Wholesale Success Photo Kelly Wood
  91. 91. Washing Roots – by hand  As you cut, gently drop the roots into water - the dirt partly washes off as you cut more.  Sometimes it’s OK to use wash water twice, but once it’s grubby it needs to go.  When the wash container is full, switch from trimming to washing: rub each root with your hands and drop it gently into a container of clean rinse water.  Depending on the cleanliness, it may be possible to reuse rinse water. Or else make it be wash water for the next round. Rinsing needs clean water.  When the rinse container is full, get 2 clean holey buckets to sort into. Take the roots one at a time out of the rinse water (don’t rub them any more).
  92. 92. Decide if roots are storable  Put the Storable roots in one holey bucket and the Cull in the other. Err on the side of culling doubtful ones, but it’s even better to learn good sorting.  Make a measure from a bucket lid - Cull roots may be small (carrots less than ¾” diameter, less than 3” long, maybe). Small roots may be usable.  Storable roots are sound. Open dry cracks or snapped-in-half roots may heal over and store just fine.  Use damaged roots (deep holes, soft spots, complex cracks) for livestock?  Set full buckets aside to drain before bagging. Do not confuse categories. Bucket lid with holes to measure storable roots. Photo Wren Vile
  93. 93. Perforated plastic bags Buy pre-perforated plastic bags if possible Are the holes plentiful and big enough? If you need more holes, the safest method is to lay the empty bag on the grass, stand on diagonally opposite corners, then stab the bag with a largish knife. Make about 3 cuts across the width of the bag and about 6? 7? 8? down the length. Or make holes with paper punch after folding the bag a few times
  94. 94. Bagging roots  When the Storable roots have drained, gently pour the Storable roots into the perforated plastic bag. Tie the neck with a short length of rope and make a label with the date and the type of vegetable.  When all the bags of storers have been gathered up, record the number going into storage.  Use pallets for better airflow under the bags.  Start a new pallet for each different type of vegetable and for a substantially different sort, eg short-storage cabbage from long-storage cabbage.  Keep Inventory. Once a month, take stock of what you have and update the list
  95. 95. Sorting cabbage  Use a separate green net bag for each variety of cabbage.  Store only firm heads without much insect damage. Cabbages smaller than 5” diameter will not store well.  Tie the neck of the bag and label with the date, variety and “Long storage” “medium storage” or “short storage” Perhaps use red marker for short storage labels, blue for medium storage, black for long storage.  When all the bags of storers have been gathered up, record the number going into storage. You’ll be glad later that you wrote it down. Frosty fall cabbage. Photo Lori Katz
  96. 96. Winter Vegetable Storage Drawing credit WSU Storing Vegetables and Fruits at Home Washington State University Extension’s Storing Vegetables and Fruits at Home, is a good introduction to alternatives to refrigerated storage, using pits, clamps and root cellars. Also USDA Agriculture Handbook 66. • Meeting the storage requirements of various crops helps maximize their season of availability • Some vegetables need to cure before storage and the curing conditions are different from those needed for storage. Curing allows skins to harden and some of the starches to convert to sugars. • Many crops may be stored without electricity, perhaps in buildings that serve other uses at the height of the growing season.
  97. 97. Four Sets of Storage Conditions In my chart on the next slide, the Summary column indicates the general conditions needed for each crop, and allocates each crop to one of 4 groups: A= Cold and Moist : 32°F–40°F (0°C–5°C), 80%–95% humidity — refrigerator or winter root cellar conditions. Most roots, greens, leeks B= Cool and Fairly Moist: 40°F–50°F (5°C–10°C), 85%–90% humidity — root cellar. Potatoes C= Cool and Dry: 32°F–50°F (0°C–10°C), 60%–70% humidity — cooler basements and barns. Garlic and onions D= Warm and Dry to Fairly Moist: 50°F–60°F (10°C–15°C), 60%–70% humidity — basements. Sweet potatoes and winter squash. By providing storage spaces with these 4 types of conditions, 25 crops can be stored.
  98. 98. Table of Storage Conditions See the handout or my book Sustainable Market Farming, for the complete chart
  99. 99. Winter squash and pumpkins - storage We built a rodent-proof cage with wood shelves. You could use shallow crates to avoid handling each individual squash. Photo Kathryn Simmons Photo Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
  100. 100. In-ground storage  Depending on the severity of your winter, some cold-hardy root crops (turnips, rutabagas, beets, carrots, parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes and horseradish) and also leeks can be left in place in the ground, with about 12” (30 cm) of insulation (straw, dry leaves, chopped corn stalks, or wood shavings) added after the soil cools to “refrigerator temperatures.”  Hooped rowcovers or polyethylene low tunnels can keep the worst of the weather off. There could be some losses to rodents, so experiment on a small scale the first winter to see what works for you. We have too many voles to do this with carrots or turnips, but horseradish survives without protection, as do some winter-hardy leek varieties.  Besides being used as a method for storage of hardy crops deep into winter, this can be a useful method of season extension into early winter for less hardy crops such as beets, celery and cabbage, which would not survive all-winter storage this way. Access to crops stored in the ground is limited in colder regions — plan to remove them all before the soil becomes frozen, or else wait for a thaw. Drawing credit WSU Storing Vegetables and Fruits at Home
  101. 101. Storage clamps (mounds) Cabbage, kohlrabi, turnips, rutabagas, carrots, parsnips, horseradish, Jerusalem artichokes, salsify and winter radishes (and any root vegetables that can survive cold temperatures) can be stored with no electricity use at all, by making temporary insulated outdoor storage mounds (clamps). • Mark a circular or oval pad of soil, lay down straw, pile the roots up, cover them with straw and then with soil, digging a drainage ditch round the pile. For ventilation, leave a tuft of straw poking out. Slap the damp soil in place to protect the straw and shed rainwater. • For the backyarder, various roots can be mixed, or sections of the clamp can be for different crops. Those growing on a large scale would probably want a separate clamp for each crop. It is possible to open one end of a clamp or pit, remove some vegetables, then reseal it. • There is a balance to be found between the thermal buffering of one large clamp and the reduced risk of rot that numerous smaller clamps provide. Drawing credit WSU Storing Vegetables and Fruits at Home
  102. 102. Pits and trenches • Dig a deep, wide pit (3+ feet deep) in a dry area where water will not stand, lining it with heavy plastic and straw. Alternate layers of vegetables with layers of straw, finishing with straw. Put a loose sheet of plastic on top, (not sealed down). Cover with more soil. • To deter rodents, bury large bins such as (clean) metal trash cans, layer the vegetables inside with straw, and cover the lid with a mound of more insulation and soil. • Or bury insulated boxes in the ground inside a dirt-floored shed or breezeway. A new life for discarded chest freezers! Insulated boxes stored in unheated areas need 6-8” (15–20 cm) of insulation on the bottom, sides and top. Drawing credit WSU Storing Vegetables and Fruits at Home
  103. 103. Root Cellars • A sustainable alternative to refrigeration for crops needing cool, damp conditions. • Potatoes do best in a dark cellar, at 40° - 50°F (5° - 10°C). With a good in-ground root cellar, potatoes store for 5-8 months. Ventilate as needed, to maintain the cellar in the ideal range. • Below 40°F (5°C) the starches convert to sugars, giving potatoes an unpleasant flavor and causing them to blacken if fried. • Root cellars can also be used for apples, cabbage, or root vegetables, but be careful what you mix. • Some people pack the unwashed roots in boxes of sand, wood ash, sawdust or wood chips. Perforated plastic bags or crates are easier. • Pepper plants can be hung upside down in a cellar to ripen, or store. Cabbage can also be hung upside down. • Cabbage, celery, leeks can be replanted side by side in boxes or tubs of soil. Twin Oaks root cellar. Photo McCune Porter
  104. 104. Ethylene Ethylene is generally associated with ripening, sprouting and rotting. Some crops produce ethylene gas while in storage — apples, cantaloupes and ripening tomatoes all produce higher than average amounts. Environmental stresses such as chilling, wounding and pathogen attack can all induce ethylene formation in damaged crops. Some crops, including most cut greens, are not very sensitive to ethylene and so can be stored in the same space as ethylene-producing crops. Other vegetables, however, are very sensitive to the gas and will deteriorate in a high-ethylene environment. Potatoes will sprout, ripe fruits will go over the top, carrots lose their sweetness and become bitter.
  105. 105. Resources – books and articles  Root Cellaring, Nancy and Mike Bubel (for construction details and advice)  The New Seed Starter’s Handbook, Nancy Bubel, Rodale Books  Knott’s Handbook for Vegetable Growers, Maynard and Hochmuth  The Complete Know and Grow Vegetables, J K A Bleasdale, P J Salter et al.  The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook, Richard Wiswall, Chelsea Green  Sustainable Vegetable Production from Start-up to Market, Vern Grubinger,  The New Organic Grower, Eliot Coleman, Chelsea Green  Gardening When it Counts, Steve Solomon  The Market Gardener, Jean-Martin Fortier, New Society Publishers  Crop Planning for Organic Vegetable Growers, Daniel Brisebois & Frédéric Thériault (Canadian Organic Growers  Growing Great Garlic, Ron Engeland, 1991, Filaree  Wholesale Success, Atina Diffley, Jim Slama  Growing for Market Nov/Dec 2016 “How to grow heading chicories” Josh Volk
  106. 106. Resources – websites  ATTRA Scheduling Vegetable Plantings for a Continuous Harvest, Season Extension Techniques for Market Farmers. Organic Pumpkin and Winter Squash Production.  SARE A searchable database of research findings. Season Extension Topic Room  The organic agriculture community with eXtension. Publications, webinars, videos, trainings and support. An expanding, accessible source of reliable information.  Growing Small Farms: Debbie Roos keeps this site up to the minute. Click Farmer Resources  2012 Production Guide for Storage of Organic Fruits and Vegetables, Cornell stored-fruit-veg-NYSIPM.pdf?sequence=1
  107. 107. Resources - season extension   Penn State Center for Plasticulture  U of MN High Tunnel Production  The Hoophouse Handbook, Lynn Byczinski  Extending the Season: Six Strategies for Improving Cash Flow Year-Round on the Market Farm a free e-book for online subscribers to Growing for Market magazine  The Winter Harvest Manual, Eliot Coleman  Walking to Spring, Paul & Alison Weidiger  The Northlands Winter Greenhouse Manual, Carol Ford & Chuck Waibe  Cold Climate Greenhouse Resource resources/docs/cold-climate-greenhouse-resource.pdf
  108. 108. Resources - post-harvest, storage engineering  NCSU Guide to Postharvest Handling and Cooling of Fresh Fruits, Vegetables, and Flowers for Small Farms.  Part I: Quality Maintenance,  Part II: Cooling,  Part III: Handling,  Part IV: Mixed Loads, Packaging Requirements For Fresh Fruits and Vegetables  ATTRA Postharvest Handling of Fruits and Vegetables pub/download.php?id=378  University of California Post-Harvest Handling for Organic Crops  Center for Environmental Farming Systems Resources for Small Farm Post-Harvest Handling  Small-Scale Postharvest Handling Practices: A Manual - UC Davis  Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture Winter Crop Storage Resources 2010  Walk-in Cooler: New Construction, Stand-alone Cold Storage with Free Air Case Study  Walk-in Cooler & Squash Storage: Existing Structure Retrofit Case Study
  109. 109. Resources - storage Johnnys Storage Recommendations  Washington State University Extension, Storing Vegetables and Fruits at Home  USDA Agriculture Handbook 66: The Commercial Storage of Fruits, Vegetables, and Florist and Nursery Stocks. Revised Feb 2016  UMass Extension Post-harvest and Storage Resources  UMass Extension Harvest, curing and storage conditions for fall and winter vegetables. ppt/harvest_and_storage_chart_winter_sare_project.pdf  Vegetable Harvest and Storage.  Garlic Harvest, Curing and Storage curing-storage  Onion Harvest and Storage  Alliums, Post Harvest and Storage Diseases post-harvest-storage-diseases  Potato Harvest and Storage  Sweet Potato Harvest and Storage harvest-storage  Pumpkin and Winter Squash Harvest and Storage sheets/pumpkin-winter-squash-harvest-storage  UMass Carrot Storage Trials storage/storage/2010-2011-storage-carrot-trials and storage-carrot-trials
  110. 110. Resources - slideshows Many of my presentations are available at Search: Pam Dawling.  Cold-hardy Winter Vegetables  Crop Planning for Sustainable Vegetable Production  Crop Rotations  Fall and Winter Hoophouses  Fall Vegetable Production  Growing Great Garlic  Growing Sweet Potatoes from Start to Finish  Producing Asian Greens  Succession Planting for Continuous Vegetable Harvests Other slide shows I recommend:  Mark Cain Planning for Your CSA: (search for Crop Planning)  Tom Peterson Farm Planning for a Full Market Season season.pdf  Brad Burgefurd, Cultural Practices And Cultivar Selections for Commercial Vegetable Growers. practices-and-variety-selection
  111. 111. Here’s the information to succeed - tables of cold-hardiness, details of four ranges of storable crops; weather prediction and protection; hoophouse growing; vegetable storage. ©Pam Dawling 2016 Twin Oaks Community, Virginia Author of Sustainable Market Farming Published by New Society Publishers Storage Vegetables for Off-Season Sales