ROOT CELLARING CARROTS

posted in: Gardening | 0

Something terrible happened to my garden. I got the carrot fly AND bacterial soft rot. For some reason, I thought I was immune in here in New England. After all, I’ve never had issues (which are related, by the way) and neither has anyone else I know. But sure enough, half my carrots started getting brown leaves, turning mushy, and smelling foul.

The solution? Well, there really isn’t one once the flies have already laid maggots in half your crop and the disease is spreading like wildfire. So I decided to salvage what I could by harvesting early.

Normally, I pull my carrots after a few frosts to sweeten them up. And you can usually store them right in the ground fairly well so long as it doesn’t get too cold. But if I waited, I wouldn’t have a single carrot left. So to store my carrots this year, I’m giving the old root cellar another go.

 

Tools & Materials

  • Hand spade
  • Plastic bin
  • Root cellar
  • Sawdust, leaves, wood chips, etc.
  • Water

 

Method

    1. Gather your storing medium. Sawdust or sand work best, but leaves or wood chips will also work. Line the bottom of your bin with it and pour in a little water–just enough to damped it.
    1. While that soaks, pull up your carrots. You might need to dig them out if they’re massive (which they should be, because clearly you built some deep beds for them).
    2. Pull the tops off your carrots and dust them off. Don’t wash them and take care not to bruise or break them. Compost any that have blemishes already, or use them up immediately. One bad carrot spoils the lot.

 

    1. Lay your carrots over the storing medium in the bin. They can touch a little bit, but don’t pack them in too much. You can always add another layer of wood chips, then another layer of carrots.

 

    1. Top off your final layer (in my case I had a whopping one thanks to my fly friends) with a last layer of damp medium.
    2. Put a cover on the bin and place it in the root cellar. The cover shouldn’t be air tight, by the way. You want a little flow to prevent rot.

       

 

    1. Cover your bin with some insulation like fresh pine boughs. I figured out how to weave them together to make a nifty mat that I can just pull up whenever I need to get in the bin.

       

  1. Close the door to your root cellar. The carrots should keep until next spring, but keep going out to check on them, and for Heaven’s sake, use them.

Know any other good ways to store carrots (or get rid of carrot fly)? Share in the comments!