A week and a half I ago, my overwintered brassica roots came out of the cold room for inspection. Let’s look at
- Storage conditions
- Roots that stored best
- Roots that stored less than perfect
- Curing roots before planting.
These roots were harvested last September. I selected the best individuals to bear seed. The roots were stored in our cold room. During the summer, an evaporator and compressor keep the cold room around 4C. During the winter we use a little heater to keep the room from freezing.
The roots are stored in plastic bags with holes. This maintains good humidity levels for the roots. I always identify root bags that are for seed.
And I also add ‘for seed’ labels. This keeps important roots out of winter salads and snacks.
Some Roots Look Great: Black Radishes & Turnips
A bit of sprouting.
And some rooting.
These turnips want to get planted.
Some Roots Need Some Work: Watermelon Radishes
I’ve had more of a problem getting these guys through the winter. Last year I planted out a bunch of roots but within a month they’d all rotted in the field.
So this year I took more time to inspect the roots.
Many of these radishes have rotten taproot tips.
I trimmed the rotten portions from the taproot.
Other radishes have blemishes on the actual roots. I consider composting these radishes but I also want to plant out as many roots as possible so …
I cut off the rotten portion of the root.
In some radishes the rot runs a little deep. These root were not saved.
Radishes post surgery. These gaping wounds will be let to cure before planting them in the ground.
I use a sharp knife to operate on these radishes. I disinfect the blade after each root with rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle. This minimizes spreading disease.
Now I let the roots sit at ambient temperatures for a week or so.
They are placed in clean flats with a lot of space for air circulation.
This should help wounds cure and might make the transition from cold room to ground smoother.
I’ve since planted the roots. Now I wait …