Store Extra Produce
With any success, you will probably produce more vegetables than can be
used. Consider storing excess produce that is not immediately used or preserved
in some manner.
Remember that good quality produce is necessary. Overripe, rough, hard vegetables
do not improve in quality during storage. Store only vegetables that are
mature and at the best stage for eating.
Consider the following general guidelines for harvesting vegetables from
your garden for immediate use as well as storing:
Factors for successful storage include quality of the original product,
preparation or handling before being placed in storage, control of spoilage
organisms and proper storage conditions (temperature, humidity and, in some
- Harvest garden vegetables at the proper stage of maturity, not before
or not after.
- Harvest when foliage is dry. Moving through the garden when the foliage
is wet helps spread diseases.
- Don't damage plant foliage by stepping on vines or breaking stems. This
creates areas where disease organisms can enter and cause severe problems.
- Don't harvest when the plant is wilted or under any form of stress.
This can result in damage to the plant.
- Immediately place fresh harvested vegetables in the shade and keep them
cool. Use harvested vegetables as soon as possible, whether they are to
be eaten fresh, processed or stored.
Temperature control is the most important factor in vegetable storage. Generally
avoid high temperatures because of rapid growth of decay organisms.
The second factor in good storage is humidity. A moist atmosphere prevents
water-loss from stored vegetables and helps root and leafy crops stay fresh
longer. You may need to make sure that humidity remains fairly high in the
storage area. Moist sand, wet burlap bags or a layer of wet sphagnum moss
helps increase the humidity if the storage area is relatively dry. However,
do not let excess moisture collect on stored produce.
Ventilation is also important. Avoid excessive ventilation but keep sufficient
air movement in the storage area to keep the temperature down, the humidity
correct and foul odors out.
Another hint to successful storage of garden products is to keep the storage
area clean and sanitary at all times.
The type of storage structure may be as varied as your imagination just
as long as it fits the requirements of space, convenience, temperature,
humidity and ventilation.