This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. But Skippy always stood by me and was a great friend. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps and garden with me. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot and a backyard vegetable garden. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Friday, October 23, 2009

taking stock of my larder

baskets
© Skippy's Vegetable Garden

I've been mostly just stuffing vegetables from my garden into my larder this fall. Thought I'd take stock.

My larder (Merriam-Webster "a place where food is stored") is mostly in the basement. It consists of a root cellar (a small 'fridge), a deep freezer, a couple big baskets, some hanging small baskets, and shelves for jars.

(Wikipedia "Very few modern houses have larders since the convenience of modern grocery stores obviate the need to store food for long periods." Love that word "obviate" - to make unnecessary.)

My "root cellar" is a small refrigerator we bought a few months ago. I thought seriously about digging a real root cellar out back. I tried keeping roots in bags in the coolest spot in the basement. But in the end, an extra 'fridge is easiest.

Contents of my 'fridge: 11 lbs carrots, 12 lbs beets, a few winter radish, 4 heads of cabbage. I'll soon add the dozen parsnips and several celeriac that are still in the garden.

Contents of my freezer: 2 gallons red sauce, 2 gallons pesto

Baskets: 25 lbs potatoes, lots of squash and pumpkins (~40 lbs), only ~2 lb onions left

Popcorn: 4 pints

How long do vegetables last?

In plastic bags in 'fridge: (These vegetables will desiccate unless in sealed containers. Check every couple weeks and remove any bad vegetables. Leave bag open a while if there's too much moisture inside.)
beets: Chiogga 2 months, Lutz and Detroit 3-4 months
cabbage: 3 months
carrots: 3-4 months
celeriac: 6 months
parsnips:3 months
winter radish: 6 months

In cool dry location:
potatoes: Red Gold 2 months, Russet: 6 months
winter squash: 3-6 months
onions: Frontier 3 months
garlic: 3 months

In sealed jars:
popcorn: until its eaten

One reason to take stock now is to get an idea of whether I can use everything before it goes bad. I brought a bunch of squash down to the food pantry last weekend, and may need to bring more. I can't imagine we can eat all those beets! Better to do it sooner, while its fresh. There was a long line of people picking up food at the pantry last week. Nice to provide them fresh organic produce.

(Back to that word "obviate". Supermarkets obviate home vegetable gardening. Cheap prepared foods obviate cooking. Cars obviate biking/walking. Modern conveniences obviate just about everything.... )

squash basket fridge
washing root veggies potato basket

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13 Comments:

Blogger Susie said...

What a GORGEOUS harvest! I am in awe!

October 23, 2009 1:45 PM

 
Blogger kathy said...

I makes me feel very accomplished. Like a little chipmunk ready for winter with all my acorns hidden in a hole.

October 23, 2009 1:49 PM

 
Blogger pjkobulnicky said...

We're in about the same position you are Cathy but with a LOT of stuff still in the garden ... mostly carrots, parsnips, leeks, mustards, radicchios, and a ton of greens ... napa, arugula, collards, kale and other brassicas. I figure that in normal conditions we are good in the garden until mid-late december depending on the snow cover we get and the low temps.

We just turned all of our beet surplus into pickled beets ... a family favorite. We still have a couple of braids of nice red onions ... they'll keep about 3 more months.

October 23, 2009 2:39 PM

 
Blogger Garden Dreamer said...

Loved your post today. I didnt know potatoes could store that long. Have to plant potatoes next year.
I guess your harvest obviates the supermarket.

October 23, 2009 2:42 PM

 
Blogger kathy said...

Paul, Do you have a recipe for the pickled beets that you can share? I'd like to try.

October 23, 2009 3:07 PM

 
Blogger The Mom said...

That looks wonderful! I'm hoping that my garden will obviate the grocery store eventually.

October 23, 2009 3:37 PM

 
Blogger kathy said...

I went to the grocery store yesterday, because I couldn't find the energy to cook dinner. I got some prepared food (and potato vodka). But I think I could count on one hand (OK maybe two) the number if times I've been to the grocery store since spring.

October 23, 2009 4:18 PM

 
Blogger LoveMeKnot Creations said...

your post makes me want to REALLY have a real garden next year, thanks so much for sharing, and i did not know some veggies kept so long either!

October 23, 2009 5:07 PM

 
Anonymous Anarchy in the Garden said...

Truly inspiring. I haven't bought onions in about a year. I want to grow more squash next year. I didn't really try hard enough this year. Yours are beautiful!

-Adriana

October 23, 2009 5:10 PM

 
Blogger kathy said...

I wish my onions lasted longer. Next year I'll grow more. I've been thinking that next year I'll try to grow more onions. And more lettuce and tomatoes too. Oh and popcorn.

October 23, 2009 9:32 PM

 
Anonymous Chiot's Run said...

Looks great! I love keeping track and figuring up how much makes it into our winter food supply. I'm super jealous of your carrots, I'll have to do a lot of soil prep before I can grow those (and thawrt some rabbits & groundhogs).

Many of my potatoes get stored in the basement. I've considered turning my bilco (outdoor basement stair area) into a root cellar.

October 24, 2009 8:45 AM

 
Blogger Jackie said...

Amen on the "obviate" discussion! You have a fantastic harvest. I'm planning to grow beets next year for the first time and it's nice to see that some can last up to 4 months in storage. Cheers, Jackie

October 29, 2009 4:52 PM

 
Blogger lkw said...

Kathy,
I'm both impressed and inspired.

I finally bought a freezer in late spring for capturing summer's bounty this year, and it's down in our basement, which could also house a small root cellar (even in warm SC).

Cheers,
Lisa

October 31, 2009 9:24 PM

 

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