Monday, March 02, 2009

Winter Garden Chores

While I was enjoying the solitude up at the cabin, I took some time to get my floating garden ready for spring. Before leaving town I purchased several bags of peat moss and manure. But before I could start working up the soil, I needed to clean things up a bit.

Each year I leave my root crops (potatoes, carrots and beets) in the ground throughout the winter. That way I can go out and harvest them as needed. So far they've survived freezing temperatures and snow on the ground. I pulled the last of them and discarded any that were damaged by the elements or insects. I still had more than my refrigerator could handle.

A really helpful book on preserving crops is Stocking Up: How to Preserve the Foods You Grow, Naturally by the Editors of Organic Gardening and Farming. Yes, this was another of my used bookstore treasures. It's a great reference for harvesting, storing, drying, freezing and canning fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products, and nuts, seeds and grains. They gave me the hint to leave my root crops in the ground through the winter. Now that I have them out of the soil, I'm going to use their directions for storage (well, sort of).

They suggest placing root crops in boxes covered with straw or in wet sand. I didn't have either of those, so I used newspaper to wrap my carrots and beets. The best storage place is a root cellar (they even have directions on how to build them) with temperatures just above freezing and 95% humidity. Not having a root cellar, I placed a moist paper towel over the newspaper to increase the humidity and then put the container under the bed in the downstairs bedroom. The floor there stays cool because of the cold water under the cabin's float. Until my new garden starts producing, they will be welcome additions to our meals.

Do you store or preserve crops from your garden? I'd love to hear about your experiences. - Margy


  1. You know I just love your floating garden. I wish we had more sun at our house so we could put in more stuff. Charlie always has tomatoes and zuck. some times they do ok sometimes they don't.

  2. Your floating garden is amazing, hard to believe it stored your root veggies through winter. Were you at the cabin without Wayne? you boat up (not sure of the term)on your own?


  3. Each time I read about your floating garden I'm gobsmacked. It's incredible!