How to collect and store beets until spring
As soon as the beet harvest is finally harvested, another concern immediately arises - how to keep the root crops dug up for as long as possible, and under fairly well-formed storage conditions - the entire winter period. In this article we will try to tell as much as possible about how to properly collect beet root crops, how to prepare them for storage, and talk about common and most reliable ways to store beets. You should be aware that the storage of beets will only be successful if all the root crops stored in the storage are intact and removed from the earth at the most appropriate time for this.
- Causes of damage to beets during storage
- Rules for harvesting beets before laying in the store
- Methods for storing beets
Causes of damage to beets during storage
Sometimes beet root crops begin to rot during storage. Why is this happening? The most common causes of rotten beet root crops during storage are the placement of deliberately corrupted root crops for storage, strong temperature fluctuations in the store, humidity exceeding 90%, as well as the generally incorrect storage technology for root crops. To avoid all this, you need to carry out all the steps from digging to laying the beets for storage correctly: in no case damage the root crops, shake the soil from them by hitting the root crops against each other or the soil surface, do not drop them, do not allow temperature fluctuations and humidity in the storage, prevent condensation, freezing of root crops and so on. If there is a lack of moisture, you can make buckets in the storage or place basins and fill them with water, and if there is an excess of moisture, you can expand the containers with salt or try to ventilate the room.
Rules for harvesting beets before laying in the store
Timely harvesting of root crops is the first condition for their long-term preservation. Of course, the weather can make significant adjustments to the time of harvesting beets: they can charge the rains, the soil will become wet and sticky, then you should not rush and you should wait for the optimal conditions - a warm day without rain.
Before harvesting the beets, inspect its stems, as soon as they begin to change color towards yellowing and begin to dry out, you can begin to harvest the beets.
As for the calendar terms of beet harvesting, they strongly depend on the region of vegetable cultivation and on the variety, given that varieties are of early, medium and late ripening. If you live in the middle zone of Russia and planted an early variety, then it can be harvested approximately 50-80 days after emergence - usually in the first half of August, mid-ripening varieties are usually harvested 80-100 days after emergence - late August-early September , and later varieties are harvested 100-135 days after emergence, that is, in September-October.
Beets need to be dug from the site to the first minimal frosts, since even a temperature near zero can already cause damage to the root crop, and the beets will be stored worse, and if the root crop freezes, you will not be able to save the crop at all.
The ideal time for harvesting beets is clear, sunny weather, when the soil is not overmoistened with moisture, does not stick, but crumbles and easily crumbles from the root surface immediately after removing it from the soil.
Approximately 20 days before digging, irrigation should be stopped. It is best to dig out beet root crops using forks, but you can gently dig them out with a shovel, without even causing the slightest damage to root crops. After digging, it is necessary to trim the tops of the root crops, leaving the petiole about a centimeter long, no more. The soil from root crops needs to be shaken off or gently cleaned with a soft glove, it is impossible to wash off the soil, as many do, this can drastically reduce the shelf life of beet root crops and lead to rot during storage.
Immediately prior to storing the root crops, the beets should be sorted, large ones should be put aside, small ones should be checked in the other direction and be sure to inspect them for rot, the latter are unacceptable - such roots should be recycled, after removing the foci of rot or discarded if most root vegetable.
Do not forget that large root crops are stored, as a rule, less than small ones, and small ones can begin to dry out, so beets of different sizes should be stored separately.
After removing the tops of the root beets should be dried. In good weather, you can do this right on the bed, after laying ordinary potato bags under the roots and spreading the roots in one layer so that they do not touch. You can dry the beets for six hours, three hours on one side, then turn over and let the root crops lie down for another three hours. By the way, root crops can be dried both after trimming the tops and before removing them, there is nothing wrong with this, but usually the tops are cut first and then the root crops are dried so that they can be stored immediately after drying.
After drying the beet root crops before storing them, it is advisable to conduct a second, more thorough audit, sometimes you can skip the damage on the roots you just dug, after drying the soil, as a rule, completely lags the root crops, then you can see previously unnoticed damage. Such root crops need to be recycled or put in a separate place and in the future more often to carry out an audit, because damaged root crops will begin to deteriorate faster.
Methods for storing beets
Beets can be placed for permanent storage - for the whole winter - or for temporary - when periodically they will take the required amount of beets. It should be borne in mind that if the temperature in the store rises above seven degrees Celsius, then the root crops can begin to grow. The optimal conditions for storing beets are a temperature of 1-2 degrees above zero and humidity of about 90%, these conditions are suitable for all methods of storing beets.
The most common way to store beets is in the basement, right on the potato, because it is usually stored much more for winter than beets. In this case, beets can be laid in a couple of layers, thus covering the potatoes. Such storage is especially appropriate in basements where there is low humidity, then the beets can lie longer, due to the fact that the potato will give part of its moisture to the beets.
An equally popular way of storing beets is in river sand or in sawdust. To do this, you will need boxes with dense walls, with a capacity of up to two tens of kilograms, no more. Boxes should not be placed directly on the basement floor, it is better to place them on a small elevation, for example, on bricks laid on the flat side. A layer of river sand or sawdust should be poured into the base of the drawer, then a layer of root crops should be laid, again poured with a layer of sand or sawdust, and so on to the very top. It is permissible that the sand or sawdust be slightly moist.
Quite often, beets are stored in ordinary plastic bags, in which ten or a little more kilograms of root crops are placed. After placing the root crops in the package, it must be tightly tied. So that moisture does not accumulate in the bag, which can ruin the beets, make holes in it through which excess condensate will go away.Afterwards, an inspection should be carried out, and if you notice condensation inside the bag, it should be completely untied to eliminate accumulated moisture.
For long-term storage, which is usually designed for the whole winter, beets can be stored in piles in the area where it was grown. Usually, for this, they dig a hole about half a meter deep and lay root crops with a pyramid usually a meter high. After laying on top, the root crops are wrapped with straw for another meter, and brushwood or fir spruce are placed on top so that the wind does not blow the straw across the territory. As soon as it gets colder, you should pour on top of the earth leveling it so that there are no cracks.
Sometimes beets are sprinkled with chalk before being stored in shelves, the chalk consumption is usually about 150-250 g per ten kilograms of root crops.
In the event that you do not have a cellar and you don’t intend to store beets because of its use during the winter, then it is permissible to store it on a cold veranda or balcony, where the temperature does not drop below one degree of heat even in severe frosts. For safety reasons and additional warming, wooden crates can be lined with thin foam, one centimeter thick, from the inside. Next, lay a layer of river sand or sawdust in the base of the drawer and, laying them with layers of beets, lay the root crops.
This preservation option can be used as a last resort - it does not guarantee long-term preservation of beets, because it is difficult to maintain optimal temperature on the balcony for a long period of time.
For maximum long-term storage, we recommend using such beet varieties: Pronto, Bravo, Detroit, Larca, Valenta, Rocket, Bona, Bonnel, Mulatto and others.
We talked about ways to properly store beets. We hope they will help you keep the beetroot harvest until spring and use fresh root crops throughout the winter period.