You might find that you have quite a lot of carrots and beetroots to harvest at this time of year. If this is the case, you may be wondering what on earth to do with them all. These are our thoughts.
Beetroots can be picked very early to use in salads, when they are no bigger than a ping pong ball. By picking a few at this stage you will give the others a little extra space to grow, and their roots will swell quite quickly. Continue to lift them as you want to eat them through early Autumn. As Winter approaches you can decide whether to leave them in the ground to overwinter or pull them up and store them in sand boxes (see below). If you decide to overwinter them, you will have lots of lovely beet leaves to eat in the colder months, but you won’t be eating the roots.
Carrots are a little easier than beetroot as they keep better, so you can pull them up, cut off the foliage and stalks and keep them in a cool, dry place for a week or so before eating (although we obviously would advocate you eat them fresh!) You can leave them in the ground for about 4-6 weeks once they’re ready but you don’t want the frosty hard ground to get them when the weather turns. Like beetroots, and other root veg, you can pull them up and store them in a sandbox.
Storing in a sandbox
This is a good way of storing root vegetables at the end of Autumn and can be used for beetroot, celeriac, carrots, parsnips, swedes and turnips. Not potatoes, which are not actually a root vegetable.
- Pull the veg up and cut foliage down to leave just an inch or two of stalk.
- Get a box (an old wine crate or similar) and cover the base with a layer of moist sand, two inches thick will do the trick.
- Lay the vegetables side by side on top of the sand.
- Cover with another two inches of moist sand.
- Add more layers of veg and sand as above until the box is full.
- Store the box in cool, dry, dark place.
- The veg will keep a few months like this and you can just root around and grab them at will. Excuse the pun.