One big crop to harvest and store, or succession sowing?

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I built a small cold room. Insulated walls and ceiling. Size about 3x6 by 8 feet tall. Ran a 6 inch pipe to outdoors for a bit of cool air. Vent outlet in ceiling. It probably gets to10 -15 C, cooler in Winter. Light and door. Better than nothing. It keeps garlic, potatoes and onions reaonably well.
That's something I've been thinking about doing.

We have two options. We use one small bedroom as a food store. It is South West facing so would get very hot in the afternoon. But we've set up shelves in the window and enclosed it all in insulated silver fabric. So essentially it creates a nice sunny grow room in the window but the rest of the room stays cool. Our generators are in this room (which need to stay cool), as are our freezers - so that makes them more efficient to run. But it tends to hover around 17 degrees C all year.

We also have a big walk-in cupboard in our utility room that we could insulate. It has no windows and the only external wall is north facing.
 
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I would not say that a cool room is a specific problem. I am in Alabama USA along the 33 latitude and our house just has normal closets here we store some jars, like pickles or tomato jars. We do have air conditioning as it gets very hot and humid here.
It's not hot enough for air-con here. Houses are built to stay warm - not cool. But I'm sure there is a way to turn a room into a cool room - I need to put a bit more thought and research into this.
 

Meadowlark

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Here's my "cold" room Texas style. I just try to get the stored onions through the Texas summer ...and after that it really isn't a problem keeping them nice. This is a 200 plus pound crop of red/yellow onions harvested last mid-May. We have eaten about half of the crop and lost a few in storage but the remaining should carry us through to next harvest.

By the way, the "book" says you can't store sweet onions more than 2 months at most.... proof the "book" is wrong!

I also store potatoes this way, but I use them first out of open storage ahead of the canned potatoes. Out of a 200+ pound harvest of red potatoes, all of the open storage ones have been consumed and still have about 20 jars of canned of potatoes and a fall crop in the ground.

This storage is an open-air covered equipment shed and produce is stored up off the ground on woven wire where air can circulate around it. Works for me in a very difficult storage environment.


onion storage 2022.JPG
 
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Here's my "cold" room Texas style. I just try to get the stored onions through the Texas summer ...and after that it really isn't a problem keeping them nice. This is a 200 plus pound crop of red/yellow onions harvested last mid-May. We have eaten about half of the crop and lost a few in storage but the remaining should carry us through to next harvest.

By the way, the "book" says you can't store sweet onions more than 2 months at most.... proof the "book" is wrong!

I also store potatoes this way, but I use them first out of open storage ahead of the canned potatoes. Out of a 200+ pound harvest of red potatoes, all of the open storage ones have been consumed and still have about 20 jars of canned of potatoes and a fall crop in the ground.

This storage is an open-air covered equipment shed and produce is stored up off the ground on woven wire where air can circulate around it. Works for me in a very difficult storage environment.


View attachment 93091

What kind of temperatures does your store reach - in summer and winter?
 

Meadowlark

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In summer our air temps range from about 77 deg F at night to 95+ during the day...this from June through September. Humidity is also very high during this time period...often at or approaching 100%.

Winter is just not a problem with lows generally just above freezing to highs in the 70s and 80s.

If an onion makes it through the summer storage it generally will be very good through winter.

I might add, one can't just throw harvested onions into this storage. Water must be carefully managed at least a week before harvest and after harvest the onions must be allowed to dry in full sun for about 8 hours before moving them into storage. In storage, the onions must not touch other onions and any that go bad should be removed. Fortunately, not many go bad.
 
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I had a good onion harvest this year. I dried them in our shed. We had some cheap temporary greenhouses, the shelves of which are made of a wire grid. We popped the onions so the 'stalk/leaves' hung down through the wire grid and left them there for a couple of months. They've done very well (despite the summer heat) and are now in mesh bags in our utility room cupboard. So I think we can do OK with onions and garlic - although I didn't know about managing water prior to harvest so will do that next time.

I'm nervous about storing potatoes so ended up freezing most of them as par boiled chips and roasts. Although the ones we did store in our utility room seem fine. I'm concerned about storing large volumes in sacks as I won't be able to keep an eye on them and would be afraid of some rotting.

Carrots went soft within a week and ended up being fed to the horses. I think someone here advised me to keep them in sand, so I'll try that next time.

I think my main problem is one of confidence - once I've had one successful year I'll probably be OK.

I'm getting the impression from you guys that this cold store thing isn't as big a deal as I'd thought.
 
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When preparing to storing potatoes 2 things are paramount.
1) Letting the skins cure for at least two weeks after all growth has been cut away.
2) DO NOT wash them.
Brushing off dirt is fine.
 

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Regarding storing potatoes, I certainly agree it is paramount to NOT wash off the dirt. Second on my list would be "No Touching" each other in storage.

In my climate, when the potato tops start falling over, it is imperative that the spuds be removed from the soil immediately. Otherwise, with a good rain they can rot overnight.

I had a good onion harvest this year. I dried them in our shed. We had some cheap temporary greenhouses, the shelves of which are made of a wire grid. We popped the onions so the 'stalk/leaves' hung down through the wire grid and left them there for a couple of months. They've done very well (despite the summer heat) and are now in mesh bags in our utility room cupboard.

I have found through experience in my climate, that is important to store onions up right...that is with the stems pointed upward. Otherwise, they lose excessive moisture content during storage. Also, I remove the tops prior to storage and after they dry in sun post-harvest. Works for me.
 
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Regarding storing potatoes, I certainly agree it is paramount to NOT wash off the dirt. Second on my list would be "No Touching" each other in storage.

In my climate, when the potato tops start falling over, it is imperative that the spuds be removed from the soil immediately. Otherwise, with a good rain they can rot overnight.



I have found through experience in my climate, that is important to store onions up right...that is with the stems pointed upward. Otherwise, they lose excessive moisture content during storage. Also, I remove the tops prior to storage and after they dry in sun post-harvest. Works for me.
That's interesting. My neighbour told me to dry mine stems pointed downwards else the moisture would drain into the bulb and cause them to rot. She told me this too late last year and indeed many did rot as she predicted. This year, drying them stems down resulted in zero failures.

I've read that we should leave potatoes in the ground for at least two weeks after cutting tops down for the skins to thicken. I did it both ways this year and didn't notice any difference. The past two summers have been dry, but in Scotland the norm is wet. It's possible that my experience thus far will all go out the window when we get our first wet summer.

It's all very complex!
 

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That's interesting. My neighbour told me to dry mine stems pointed downwards else the moisture would drain into the bulb and cause them to rot. She told me this too late last year and indeed many did rot as she predicted. This year, drying them stems down resulted in zero failures.

I've read that we should leave potatoes in the ground for at least two weeks after cutting tops down for the skins to thicken. I did it both ways this year and didn't notice any difference. The past two summers have been dry, but in Scotland the norm is wet. It's possible that my experience thus far will all go out the window when we get our first wet summer.

It's all very complex!
One difference is I remove the tops after the bulbs have dried and prior to putting in storage. With the tops removed and hanging downward, all the moisture will drain out of the onion.... but maybe with the tops still on it would not. The other difference of course is climate. Finding what works for you is more than 1/2 the battle.
 
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I would imagine that we in the UK, especially those of us who grow long day onions, have, as result of the approaching autumn, more to worry about as regards rain, especially as the Wettest City in Europe (Greenock) is less than 100 miles up the coast.
 

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