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Overwintering carrots?

 
Jennie Little
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First I don't have a proper root cellar or any way to make one. I have used wooden crates and wood baskets. I have tried newspaper strips, wood shavings, and also sand. None of them seem to work. All of them the carrots either rot or dry into rope fibers.

So, how do you overwinter your carrots?

TIA
 
Jan White
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How many carrots are we talking? For smaller amounts, I've kept them in my fridge for months at a time. One year I packed all the drawers in my fridge with carrots. I put a damp towel on the bottom, filled the drawer with carrots, and put another damp towel on top. The towels slowly dried out,  so from time to time I'd spray the top towel with water. The last of the carrots were a little hairy, but still crisp.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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We scrub our carrots very thoroughly, tip and tail them, and store in plastic bags in the fridge with paper towels to sop up excess moisture. The paper towels need to be changed a couple of times, but the old ones dry out and are usable for cleaning. Our carrots keep for a whole year -- we're using the last of them for soup while eating new ones fresh from the garden.

That may not be perfectly permie, but the quality is incomparible. It's way better than relying on taste-free carrots ("tent pegs") trucked in from 1,500 miles away.
 
Mike Haasl
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Another way is to leave them in the ground, mulched heavily with hay/straw.  

Homesteaders I know will dig half their carrots for use in the late fall and early winter.  They'll do this by going down their long bed of carrots and digging up blocks of them.  So in a 40' bed they might leave the first 4', dig the next 3', leave the next 4', dig the next 3' and so on.  Cover it with lots of insulation and put a flag so they can find it in the snow.  When they need more carrots in January, dig up the first 4' section of carrots.  By disturbing the straw, frost will be able to get into the ground (even if they perfectly reinsulate it).  But that frost won't cross the 3' area where they dug in the fall.  So the next 4' section of carrots is safe till they need another batch in Feb.
 
craig howard
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I put mine in a bucket of sand/dirt and in a cold room. That seems to be working for both carrots and beets.

I piled mulch high on one of my garden beds and can still dig dirt from under the mulch.
So maybe I could leave more in the ground over winter.
I think what has destroyed them before when leaving them in the ground with a bunch of mulch,
was freezing then thawing a few times during the winter.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Mike Haasl wrote:Another way is to leave them in the ground, mulched heavily with hay/straw.  


I've hear of that. I believe it would work well in areas with milder winters than ours.
 
Bethany Brown
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What’s your climate like? You may be able to leave them in the ground.
 
Mike Haasl
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:

Mike Haasl wrote:Another way is to leave them in the ground, mulched heavily with hay/straw.  


I've hear of that. I believe it would work well in areas with milder winters than ours.


It's here in zone 4a.  -30F usually once a winter...
 
craig howard
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We get a couple -20s, or -25 or a rare -30Fs per winter.
I've left a small patch in the ground, covered in mulch, for the last couple years.
Just so I'd have some fresh ones in the spring.
One winter I didn't cover them with mulch and they rotted.
Haven't thought about harvesting them through the winter, until recently.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Bethany Brown wrote:What’s your climate like? You may be able to leave them in the ground.


I doubt it, though I suppose I could experiment with a small patch. It would take a helluva deep and wide insulation pile. We get sustained periods of -20C, dipping down to -30C or even -40C. Nominal frost line is 6 ft /2m deep. The ground is frozen solid from November through the end of March.
 
Rebecca Norman
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Where I live in the Indian Himalayas, with pretty cold winters (6 weeks of pond hockey), the traditional root storage method was to dig a hole in the garden every year, deep enough so the sacks of roots could be kept below the frost line, which at my location is about 3 feet. So you lower in sacks of potatoes, carrots, radishes or rutabagas, and cover them back over with soil. Or use sacks of sawdust for part of the covering so that it will be easier to lift out. They keep very well this way. Beets would also keep fine, but the yummiest local root veg, turnips, sadly don't last past about New Years in most cases.

The soil under the garden stays at a good humidity, and well... roots like being in soil, don't they? Of course this won't work into springtime when the ground warms up and the garden is needed for growing new things.
 
Kaarina Kreus
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Rebecca Norman wrote:Where I live in the Indian Himalayas, with pretty cold winters (6 weeks of pond hockey), the traditional root storage method was to dig a hole in the garden every year, deep enough so the sacks of roots could be kept below the frost line, which at my location is about 3 feet. So you lower in sacks of potatoes, carrots, radishes or rutabagas, and cover them back over with soil. .



Rebecca, how do you manage to fetch root vegetables from that pit? Dig it open every two weeks???
 
Rebecca Norman
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Yes, I guess so. Pull some root veggies out and then keep and use them for a few weeks. I also realized after I posted, that because this is a desert, the topsoil doesn't freeze hard unless you water it (a mistake I made the first time I tried this method).
 
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