With the harvest very much in full swing we turn of attention on how to store and keep our crops in a suitable order over the winter months. There is a clear understanding that we must maintain a cool and dry environment with good airflow to keep vegetables as these are the conditions which allow crops stay fresh, free from rot or fungal attacks.
One way in which you can store your vegetables over the winter months for use the following spring would be you bury them in clamps. Potatoes have been stored in clamps for many years where back in the 1940’s it was a commonly used method for storage.
The process for storing potatoes in clamps involves setting aside a track of ground in your garden, the clamp would need to be at least 1 M wide and the height should then be about 2ft.
So with this in mind you can see that a lot of vegetables would be needed to create a sufficiently large clamp. The length of the clamp would be determined by the amount of vegetables that you have.
To build the potato clamp start be placing a layer of straw on the ground, the straw would need to be about 2 inches deep. A perforated land drain should be run along the bottom of the straw bed before building up the stack of vegetables. This land drain use allow for air flow through the clamp and reduce the risk of rotting or fungal attacks.
Next start layering up your potatoes to form a pyramid, the potatoes should cover the straw bed and stack up to a height of 2ft or so
A fine layer of straw will then need to be layered over the potatoes stack and then cover this with a polythene or plastic sheet. This sheeting should completely cover the row right down to soil level. The amount of straw required to cover the potatoes will depend on the lowest winter temperatures that you are likely to experience. It is also importance not to let the potatoes get too warm or moisture will build up and they will start to sprout – so don’t over do the straw covering. The larger the pile the more heat that will be generated from it, also they covering of plastic or polythene will add to the insulation
For a smaller harvest you can also make a clamp which has been filled with a mixture of vegetables from your garden. Carrots, beetroot, potatoes can other root crops can all be stored together in a smaller clamp.