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Carrot cold storage questions

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GWN
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Post  larkspur55 10/8/2012, 7:29 pm

I'm wondering if anyone has overwintered their carrots in the SFG boxes. I have a 4x8 of carrots and I'm trying to figure out how to store them for winter. I definitely don't have space in my refrigerator for all of them! Last year I tried storing in half of a 4x8, but eventually the ground froze. The box is approximately 18" deep. The other half was potatoes last year. I covered the carrots last year with plastic and straw, but I think the open sides were the problem with freezing. In a normal year we would have snow coverage; last year we had very little snow. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! I don't have a root cellar, and my basement gets too warm. Thanks!!
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Post  plantoid 10/8/2012, 8:00 pm

Mine were left growing overwinter in MM in a bed .
Sown last year in early August , the last ones were harvested in late March this year . Variety :- Autumn King 2

We had frost in February of minus 8 centigrade for four days , the beds froze to a depth of just over 8 inches deep ( my MM in my beds is around 18 inches deep )
It took the beds just a mere three days to thaw out once the frost had broken .

PS welcome to the site .
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Post  GWN 10/9/2012, 10:17 am

Last year I dug them up and buried them in sand, but for a variety of reasons they all rotted (we we not finished building our cold room so they got left outside for awhile)
However the odd carrot that I had left in the garden were are fine when I dug the garden up in the spring.
Only problem is that it drops down to minus 20 celcius here and it is hard to GET to them during winter when the ground is frozen.
So I have read about it and this year am going to leave them in the ground and fill large garbage bags with leaves and situate them over the carrot beds, hoping I will be able to just lift them up and pull carrots in the middle of winter. How cold does it get where you are?
welcome
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Post  plantoid 10/9/2012, 5:46 pm

Sand being cold stone soon give up any possibility of retaing heat , so the minus 20 oC cold would have killed them off within hours of getting hit as the cells would have split up with the ice crystals that are formed and the subsequent thawing would make then rot PDQ.

The soil does have a residual heat of 15 oC trying to seep out up wards .
. If the beds are peat or coir based MM it will help no end .
I reckon it's well worth trialing a square of carrots with a sacking layer over nine inches or so of clean straw.
I'd steer clear of plastic bags filled with leaves for the is may encourage too much condenstaion on the plastic that will drain down onto the tops.
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Post  larkspur55 10/9/2012, 5:58 pm

Last year I covered the carrots with plastic, then straw. The carrots in the middle did fairly well, but the ones along the edges froze and split. Some were usable, others not at all. We can get to -20F or lower here. So it is easy for the ground to freeze. Thanks for the welcome!
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Post  camprn 10/9/2012, 6:06 pm

I have seen folks post on the web about storing them in sand in plastic boxes.
http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/carrotstorage.html

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Post  mollyhespra 10/9/2012, 7:18 pm

Hi, all & welcome Larkspur!

(WARNING: huge run-on sentence to follow--)
I've never over-wintered carrots in the ground, but I've been reading up on the subject of overwintering veggies, extending the season, etc. and somewhere--I can't remember where--I recall reading that if you're going to try to prevent the ground where your carrots (or parsnips, etc.) are growing from freezing in order to harvest during the winter, that you want to make sure you lay some hardware cloth on the ground over the veggies such that when you lay your haybales or whatever thick mulch you're going to use on top of the veggies, any mice or other creatures can't get into your root crop from above (finding the hay a nice warm nest perhaps). Maybe if the ground is frozen this would naturally deter the critters, but if the mulch is successful at preventing the ground from freezing the critters may thank you for a nice snack.

Like I said, I've never done this but I thought I'd share as it made an impression on me.
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Post  GWN 10/9/2012, 10:05 pm

Well I had not planned on leaving the carrots outside at 20 below in sand.
I just was in the middle of building a house and somehow the carrots got forgotten.
I was thrilled to find out that they overwintered in the garden raised beds.
Plantoid... the underground temperature is VERY VERY important to me, I have geothermal heating, so heat our house with pipes 8 feet down in the ground.
So when it is minus 20 degrees outside, we are toasty thanks to the warmth of the ground.

Last year I had several loads of straw over my raised beds and still had too much ice to be able to access the carrots. So that is why I read more about how to do this. I thought if we somehow put a large piece of wood over...... and then just lifted, but I think that the wood would just freeze to the ground.
The leaves we have been gathering are very very dry, they have been in the very dry forest for a long time. BTW we have had NO rain for at least 2 months here.
So I am going to at least try the bags of leaves, perhaps I will put holes in the bags.
Thing is that when it is cold here it is extremely dry, likely very different from England.
We will have to see how it turns out and then report back to SFG rock on
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Post  landarch 10/10/2012, 12:24 am

My wife's grandmother told me that they wintered carrots by sticking them down into a bucket of sand.
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Post  plantoid 10/10/2012, 11:58 am

@landarch wrote:My wife's grandmother told me that they wintered carrots by sticking them down into a bucket of sand.
I suspect that the bucket of sand & carrots was then taken indoors they still freeze in minus 20 oC if it is left outside.



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Post  GWN 10/10/2012, 12:02 pm

The carrots in the sand are supposed to be kept at around freezing, not much colder, not much warmer.
That was my goal last year, but ran out of space to put them in the cold room
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Post  plantoid 10/10/2012, 12:15 pm

GWN , that's made me think ! Laughing

Now I've got my mad professors hat on and a couple of hundered dollars to thrash around with ......

Perhaps ...think underfloor root cellars , like wot yer grannie might have had .
where the crop is buried in the ground in a permafrost lined with hay a foot thick hole.

Turn that on its head ........ imagine a four wide by four high by six foot long box of plywood or wood plank/boards with hinged lid , fully lined with a foot of building insulation foam .....the high spec stuff that has foil on one side perhaps .

All foil to be on the inside and stripped off at the joints so there is no cold bridge for a path of cold all joints glues together to prevent leakage of heat in or out.

If one was on the sun side of a wall and on the ground on a sunken 1 foot deep platform of the same foam it might work. Tthough it depends on how many continious days of minus 20 oC you get .

Wire in a photo voltaic panel operated 12 volt bulb say 20 watt max & shade it so no light gets to the crops as a heater , add a small sealed lead acid battery so you get a few degrees warmth in day light hours absorbed by the box contents. Add a small wind genny to get even more heatwhen it's dark and windy ?????
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Post  greenhome 10/11/2012, 6:16 pm

Our grandparents had cold cellars, that's where they kept the carrots, apples, etc. in boxes of sand. Our basements are just too warm.

I have overwintered carrots here in Canada by surrounding the bed with bales of straw, throwing a foot of loose straw on top of the bed, then a tarp. The snow that fell on top provided extra insulation. Didn't lose a single one.
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Post  camprn 10/11/2012, 8:27 pm

The only way I would be able to get carrots out of the garden in January was if I had an hour to futz with the pickaxe, after shoveling snow, and remove a bunch of frozen carrot chips. I think I am going to wait until it gets cold and the carrots sweet then harvest, can, freeze and dehydrate them.
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Post  GWN 10/12/2012, 11:50 am

Thanks for the suggestions.
Getting carrots out in the winter will be a challenge,
HOWEVER in the mean time perhaps the problem has been solved.
the DEAR DEER.... have gotten into the carrot bed, dug them all up and left them all over the place.

Camprn, have you not had frost yet?
My carrots are incredibly sweet, I am so glad I waited until now to taste them.
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Post  GWN 10/12/2012, 11:53 am

Mine were left growing overwinter in MM in a bed .
Sown last year in early August , the last ones were harvested in late March this year . Variety :- Autumn King 2
Plantoid, how WERE you carrots....
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Post  plantoid 10/12/2012, 3:38 pm

@ GWN ever thought of a simple tent flysheet over the stack of straw covered carrots with a nylon fly wall to help keep snow out ?
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