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Storing Beets in the Root Cellar: Using Wood Chips to Store Beets | The Old Farmer's Almanac

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

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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.

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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.

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This I covered with another layer of damp chips.

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

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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, or watch our video on growing beets.

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