How To Store Your Garden Harvest

Learn how to keep your crops fresh, long after they've been harvested

During the winter months, when the ground is covered by a thick blanket of snow, there's something particularly satisfying about still being able to eat food from your garden. There are many summer-grown crops including potatoes, onions, garlic, beets, carrots and winter squash, can be stored with relative ease to nourish you right through until the next growing season. Even a modest-size garden can yield a substantial crop of winter keepers.

To be successful storing these keeper crops at home, here are a couple factors to keep in mind:

  • Some varieties store better than others, so be sure to seek out the ones that are known to be good keepers.
  • Crops that are harvested at their prime - not before or after - store best. Time your plantings so they mature at the close of the season.
  • Only first quality, unblemished produce is suitable for storage.
  • Optimum temperature and humidity for storage varies by crop, so be sure that the crops you plan to store match the storage conditions you can provide.

Storing Apples

Nothing compares to a bite of crisp, just-picked apple. Unfortunately, left on a countertop or in a fruit bowl, apples will get mealy and begin to lose that fresh-from-the-tree taste. The good news is that by storing them properly, you can enjoy crisp, flavorful apples for months.

Read on and learn: How to Store Apples.

Storing Beets

To maintain good eating quality, beets need to be kept at a constant temperature between 32-40 degrees F, and at 90-95 percent humidity. There are three ways that home gardeners can provide these ideal storage conditions: in a refrigerator, in moist sand or right in the garden.

Read on and learn: How to Store Beets.

Storing Carrots

Root Storage Bin Carrots stored in the Root Storage Bin

Like beets and other root crops, carrots prefer to be stored under cool, moist conditions. For winter storage, choose carrot varieties known to be good keepers.

Read on and learn: How to Store Carrots.


Storing Garlic

Homegrown garlic is a valuable crop. It's easy to grow all you need for year-round use, and versus store-bought, well, the flavor just can't be beat! For the longest storage time, be sure to first cure your harvested garlic for 2-3 weeks, to ensure the papery outer skins have dried.

Read on and learn: How to Store Garlic.


Storing Onions

Onions in trugA harvest of several types of onions.

No kitchen is complete without onions! And when stored properly, an onion will retain its eating quality for 10 to 12 months. For best results, onions should be stored in a dark, cool space (35 to 40 degrees F) like a cellar, garage, or shed.

Read on and learn: How to Store Onions.


Storing Potatoes

Don't let your spuds see the light of day! Potatoes require cool, dry, and dark conditions for the longest storage life. Even a little light will cause potatoes to turn green and become inedible.

Root Storage Bin Potatoes in the Root Storage Bin
Read on and learn: How to Store Potatoes.


Storing Strawberries

Strawberries are a delicious addition to any garden. Sadly, these berries don't store well unless frozen — so take advantage of your garden crop and enjoy them FRESH. 

Read on and learn: How to Store Strawberries.


Storing Winter Squash

Winter squash are fun to grow and easy to store. There are dozens of varieties, from acorn to Hubbard, and butternut to spaghetti. When harvesting winter squash, it's important to leave some of the stem attached to the fruit. Breaking the stem off at the base of the fruit will put the squash at risk for disease.

Read on and learn: How to Store Winter Squash.

Types of Harvest Storage

  Storage Racks Lined Bins Baskets
How It Stores Slatted, sliding drawers provides easy access and plenty of rot-preventing airflow A jute liner maintains cool, humid storage conditions Woven bamboo or willow is loose enough to provide plenty of airflow but tight enough to block out light
Perfect For Organizing multiple crop types; keeping bruise-easy crops like squash separate Carrots, beets, other root veggies, and even dahlia tubers Potatoes and onions
Our Picks Orchard Rack, 6 Drawer
Orchard Rack, 9 Drawer
Root Storage Bin Potatoes and Onion Storage Basket
Stackable Bamboo Harvest Basket


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Last updated: 09/14/2023