Storing Beets with Wood Chips in the Root Cellar

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Though I have used sand to store my beets in the root cellar for many years, this year I decided to use wood chips to keep the beets from rotting. Here's how to store your beets!

Storing Beets in Sand

Last year I had a problem getting dry sand to use on my beets for the winter. I used to wait for a particularly dry stretch in August and then take some buckets, a shovel, and a hard hat to a sand depot nearby. I would drive in and scoop the sand off the top of the many mountains where it was bone dry.

Last year there was a new system. The gravel owner had built a box outside of his fence. He had a backhoe put several buckets of sand in this new box and asked me to take it from there. It was sopping wet.

I put it out in the sunshine on tarps for several days, bringing it in at night. I raked it around. It seemed dry, but my carrots and beets didn’t think so when I checked on them just into the winter. They were rotting.

So this year, I took some advice from my neighbor, Nancy. She’s been putting her beets and carrots in damp wood chips for years. It was worth a try.

Storing Beets in Wood Chips


I got a bag of wood chips like the ones I use in the chicken coop. I harvested my beets, cut off the tops (leaving about an inch) and set them on the picnic table to dry. After an hour or so, I put a bunch of wood chips in a pan and added some water. Nancy said for it not to be sopping wet, but damp.


I covered the bottom of the bucket with some of these chips. Dusting off the beets, I set them in the bucket not touching one another.


This I covered with another layer of damp chips.

I continued this process until the entire bucket was full of beets.


Topping it off with some more damp chips and a lid, into the root cellar it went. It definitely weighed quite a lot less than the buckets with sand. That was a plus. I did my carrots the same way. So we shall see….

Find out more about how to grow and harvest beets.

About The Author

Celeste Longacre

Celeste is The Old Farmer's Almanac astrologer. She has also been growing virtually all of her family’s vegetables for the entire year for over 30 years. Read More from Celeste Longacre

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