Anyone who has been able to harvest plentiful yields from their beds by the end of the gardening season has the advantage of getting through the winter healthy and inexpensively with the potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery bulbs they have grown themselves. Appropriate storage allows you to enjoy crunchy vitamins well into the new year without fearing any loss of quality or taste.
It is relatively easy to stock up on potatoes if you harvest them late and take into account that they should be stored as darkly as possible. Too much light not only causes the bulbs to germinate prematurely but also causes green spots on the skin and produces the toxin solanine, typical of most nightshade plants.
Such areas should then be cut out generously before cooking, otherwise, the potatoes can have an unpleasantly bitter taste.
Only store undamaged tubers!
The best way to remove potatoes is to use a digging fork without damaging them. They should then remain on the ground for a few hours in order to then rub off the now-dry soil. They are not washed off, because the remaining soil residues are the best protection against later rotting. Potato trays made of wood are suitable for storage, which you can easily assemble yourself to the required size from a few slats or boards. It is important that there are sufficient slits on all sides to ensure constant air circulation. Then all you have to do is find a frost-free, airy place in the basement where it is never warmer than 5 °C. Checking a little more thoroughly once a month and rearranging the tubers helps to prevent rot from spreading.
Root and tuber vegetables as well as carrots need a lot of sand
These types of vegetables are easier to store the later they are harvested. Again, it is important that they are fully mature and without external damage. If you estimate that the harvest will not be used up in the next eight to ten weeks, all you have to do is store these vegetables in wooden boxes filled with damp sand, which are then placed in a basement room that is as dry as possible. Temperatures between 3 and 5 °C with a humidity of 70 to 80 percent are optimal. However, the basements of newer houses are too warm for winter storage and, due to their concrete walls, usually too dry. A heap of earth in the garden dug about 50 cm deep, would be the far better alternative for tuber and root vegetables in this case. A layer of straw about 20 cm thick is laid directly over the harvested crops and the entire pit is finally protected against extreme frost with plastic fleece.
Special case store onions over winter
If the bulbs are thoroughly air-dried for two to three weeks immediately after harvest, they will survive the winter without any problems. It is important that you cut off the withered leaves about five to eight centimeters above the neck after digging them out, which noticeably reduces the risk of rotting. The loose-fitting shells should be removed from time to time during checks. Onions have the longest shelf life if they are stored in cool clay pots with the opening covered with a linen cloth.