Package of Johnny's Selected Seeds
Package of Johnny's Selected Seeds

Extend the Selling Season — Grow the Best Storage Crops

Some vegetables can maintain freshness for months after harvest if you choose varieties specifically bred for long-term storage. Here are a few varieties we recommend for storage throughout fall and winter.

Beets of all varieties will keep for 3–5 months when stored at 32˚F/0˚C and 90–100% humidity. Remove tops and wash roots prior to storing.

Brussels Sprouts. Diablo and Nautic have good cold tolerance, and can be left in the field to harvest after frost. Once cut, they should be stored at 32˚F/0˚C and 90–100% humidity. Whole stalks can also be harvested and stored for up to 1½ months.

Cabbage. Storage No. 4 will keep until spring from a late fall harvest if held at 32˚F/0˚C and 90–100% humidity. Store with a few of the outside wrapper leaves; clean before selling.

Carrots. Bolero is the best variety for harvesting in late fall and will hold for up to 6 months at 32˚F/0˚C and 90–100% humidity. Remove tops and wash roots prior to storing.

Celeriac. Brilliant is an excellent choice for storing, and will hold nearly as long as a carrot under the same conditions. Store harvested celeriac with soil and roots intact. Clean before selling.

Kohlrabi. Kossak will keep for 2–3 months at 32˚F/0˚C and 90–100% humidity. Remove tops prior to storing.

Leeks: Tadorna is very cold-tolerant, and can be stored in the field into winter. Once harvested, store at 32˚F/0˚C and 90–100% humidity. Remove roots and trim tops prior to storing. Peel before selling.

Onion varieties classified as Hard Storage onions will keep up to six months when stored at 32˚F/0˚C and 65–70% humidity. After curing, rub onions in hands to remove excess skin and soil.

Potatoes will keep up to five months when stored at 40–50˚F/4–10°C and 90% humidity. Do not wash prior to storing.

Pumpkins: Long Island Cheese, Musque de Provence, and Baby Bear are all renowned for long storage as well as great eating qualities. They will keep up to 5 months at 50–60˚F and 50–70% humidity.

Rutabaga: Helenor and American Purple Top will keep for 4–6 months at 32˚F/0˚C and 90–100% humidity. Remove tops. May be waxed, but not necessary.

Sweet Potatoes should be cured in a warm (85°F/29°C) place for 5–7 days before storing. They will keep for 4–7 months at 60°F/16°C and 85% humidity. Do not wash, but brush off large clumps of soil prior to storing.

Turnip: Purple Top White Globe will keep 4–5 months at 32˚F/0˚C and 90–100% humidity.

Winter Squash: Queensland Blue and Waltham Butternut are the best keepers, but all winter squash can be stored for a month or longer. The ideal conditions are 50–55˚F/10–16°C, and 50–70% humidity, and good air circulation. Cure in the field to dry, and toughen skins by exposing fruits to sun for 5–7 days prior to storing.

Remember, it is important to inspect produce before putting it into storage and cull anything showing signs of disease or decay. Continue to monitor and cull while in storage (disease and decay spread fast).


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More Resources

Production Guide for Storage of Organic Fruits & Vegetables, from Cornell University Cooperative Extension, IPM; and New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets

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