Thursday, June 6, 2013

How to Store and Care for Potatoes and Onions; Our CSA 2nd Basket of Produce

What a great CSA basket our members received yesterday.  In the basket were freshly dug up potatoes; fresh onions; 3 variety of squash; lettuce; cucumbers; peppers; beets; turnips; Swiss Chard; kale; dill; Chives (for the potatoes); Basil; strawberries; apricots; peaches; snow peas.  Eggs and Flowers upon request.

I was reading about how to store and care for potatoes since we dug a batch of the red and Yukons up.  I wanted to wash them because they had dirt on them but the skins started coming off.  The information stated that you need to "Harden off" potatoes after they have been dug up.  The potatoes are placed on newspaper, covered with newspaper and stored in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks.  The darkness will stop the potato from wanting to sprout.  Then when you bring them out, the outer skin will be hard so they can be washed, like the ones you purchase in the grocery stores.  That doesn't mean you have to wait, you can take these new potatoes, wash them and cook away.  They just can't be washed and then stored, they will rot or sprout.
Similar process for newly dug up onions.  I leave the stem on them when I pull them up, braid them and hang them where it is dark and cool.  After a few weeks, cut off stem, peel off the dead outer layers to reveal a nice clean union, then wash.  The onions we put in our CSA basket this week were dug up just a few days ago, so I did not have a chance to dry them out so my CSA members received dirty potatoes and dirty onions!!!  If you wash an onion then it would need to be used or it will also start to rot.
I am constantly amazed with the soil and weather here in Gridley, Butte County, California.  For those that have read my blogs before, sorry but I have to repeat my marvel at how fabulous it is to grow anything you can imagine in this soil.  It has very few rocks, if at all; it has a great PH factor, mine is 6.5; it has enough clay and sand into it that it retains water, yet not too much clay to keep it wet.  My amazement is that last week, we started to pick cucumbers and TODAY Frank and I each ate a tomato.  Now we spent 35 years growing vegetables in Nevada City, Nevada County, California.  I put in my garden between May 15-31st.  That means I would put seeds in the ground or buy small plants and plant tomatoes and peppers.  Last week here was May 30-31 and we had a salad with fresh lettuce, fresh pepper, just picked cucumbers.  We are like 60 days minimum sooner than Nevada County unless you grow your vegetables in a tunnel!!!  Simply marvelous.
Gardening brings me so much pleasure I am so happy to hear more and more people are deciding to put a tomato or pepper plant in a pot in their yard or actually planting a vegetable garden.  They really don't take that much trouble or work, but they do need consistent watering, some fertilizing, and weeding if they are in the ground.  The rewards outweigh the work.  Still not too late to grow something now!!
Until next time -

No comments: