September 16, 2012

Maine Gardener: So many ways to preserve harvest, barely the space to store it


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click image to enlarge

But if you want, you can create tomato sauce or even spaghetti sauce and can that.

If you are going to can other vegetables, McCarty said, you need to use a pressure canner to make sure the vegetables are safe -- and almost no one does that anymore.

McCarty noted that root cellars are growing in popularity because people are beginning to realize that you do not need an old stone cellar with almost no heat.

"People are beginning to realize they can adapt areas they have in their own home," she said.

For example, I use an insulated bulkhead to store potatoes -- which we have a lot of -- leeks and carrots. They like to be kept at temperatures just above freezing and in a fairly moist environment.

I have a place in one corner of the cellar that is cool but fairly dry, where I keep onions. The place for winter squash is about 50 degrees, and not too damp. And we will have a lot of winter squash this year.

If you want a chart for the ideal storage conditions for each vegetable, go to for a pamphlet.

McCarty said she will be teaching a lot of classes on storing vegetables this fall, so if you want more information, attend one of her classes. Call 781-6099, email her at or see if the adult education program in your town is offering a food-preservation workshop.

Tom Atwell has been writing the Maine Gardener column since 2004. He is a freelance writer who gardens in Cape Elizabeth and can be contacted at 767-2297 or at:


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