Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Growing Storage Crops, or, How to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck in a Garden

Some of the winter squash seeds

Storage Crops.... what do i mean by that?
These are the vegetables that your great grandmother kept down in the root cellar, and they stayed good all the way through till spring.  They store, or keep, on their own without having to otherwise preserve them.

Interestingly, many of these vegetables have sort of fallen out of favor, as folks can buy the flashier summer crops of tomatoes, peppers,  and others year round due to the ability to transport them great distances from the warmer climes where they are grown.  How many of you have turnips, parsnips, winter squash or a bushel of potatoes or carrots stowed away in a dark cool corner?  I thought not.

To develop resiliancy in the homestead, I will focus on planting as many of these storage crops as possible.  They provide wonderful eating in the dark dreary days of winter when the garden sleeps under a blanket of snow.  They also provide calories, and thus energy, along with a vast array of nutrients and vitamins that our winter diet would otherwise lack.

I love being able to walk down to my cellar and grab some winter squash, a few carrots, potatoes, and onions, and make a nice big pan of roasted vegetables on a cold winter day. Yum!

Some of the main storage crops I will plant are:
winter squash

Did you notice something about most of these vegetables?  They are all, with the exception of cabbage and winter squash, root vegetables.  These plants produce tubers or storage roots as a means of storing nutrients and minerals for their own growth ... we can take advantage of that convenient package of goodness and keep them under conditions that mimic nature, for a long lasting supply of food ... that means cool, somewhat damp, and dark.(with the exception of onions and garlic, which do better in dark, but dry, conditions)

I dont know yet how much garden space will be devoted to these long keepers, but you can bet they will be a big part of it!

Weather:sunny and cold again! I forgot to look at the thermometer this morning, but the high today was barely  32, and we are supposed to get down close to zero tonight.
Wildlife: all the usuals. Lots of deer sign, but havent seen one lately.
Training: 45 min. Easy jog/walk

Thought for the Day
Proverbs 21:20
The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.

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