My grandfather did much the same but he did green tomatoes that he pulled vines and all. He put down a layer of wet straw on the basement floor of the summer house that he used as a work shop, then he would spread the plants over it, then another layer of straw, he continued to layer the plants and straw until he had all the plants covered. He told me that they had tomatoes well into December or until they had all ripened. The place wasn't heated nor did the tomatoes freeze. Straw tends to hold air in as an insulator much like fiber glass insulation does and the damp straw let the roots draw in the water to keep them green and nourishing the tomatoes.
I guess I should have mentioned that we grew our crop at our community garden plot, and we had to have everything out by Oct 31. I would have kept them in the ground if we grew them at our house, since we it usually doesn't get cold enough in the northwest to freeze the ground.
Many root vegetables do get sweeter/develop more sugar when left in the ground at least through the fiirst hard freeze and can be left on into the winter if mulched well so that the ground can still be worked enough to get them out. My parents stored potatos in adark unheated part of the basement in shallow bins and they kept most of the winter.
I still have all of my roots in the ground. I heard that carrots can stay there until you need them. Not sure what to do with the beets and the potatoes. I think temps for cold storage need to be under 50 degrees so a garage might not work if outside temps get higher than that. Birgit
I canned and froze most of my carrots and parsnips, but I wanted to try cold storage. Following instructions I saw online, I layered them in damp sawdust about 2 weeks ago. Now I noticed that the parsnips are getting mushy spots. Is my sawdust too damp? We lined a cardboard box with a plastic bag, since they need low circulation - too little circulation? I'm going to put them into the fridge, but I'd like to try cold storage again next year so any suggestions would be great.
They are in the garage, and we have had temperatures outside from 70 to 30 over the last few weeks.
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