Squash Storage

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John English
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Last seen: 3 months 2 days ago
Joined: Sunday, 6 May, 2012 - 11:37
Squash Storage

Interested to compare notes on how you store your winter squash as we're gettting close to harvest time.  

With a 4 to 5 tonne crop (10 to 12 different varieties) and not ideal conditions for long term storage we've tended to rely on selling through them quickly before any rot problems start. Get the thinner skinned varieties sold and out the door first. Problem is our new modern concrete and steel barn is uninsulated, air circulation isn't great, and I've always struggled to keep Crown Prince and Uchiki Kuri and other hubbards (prob 2.5 tonnes of those this year) much past Christmas due to rot and mould problems. We improvise racking for those with pallets and bricks, cover them with fleece if it gets too cold but it's not ideal. Most of the other varieties, Celebration, Sweet Dumpling, the butternuts etc get boxed or netted and sold a.s.a.p, usually all sold by mid Nov.. 

Curing, best advice as I can find is in Tolly's Growing Green which recommends 7 to 10 days in a protected structure. "If this is not possible then they should be stored in chitting trays stacked up in an insulated building at a temperature of around 15C for 10 to 14 days and then reduced to 12C. Regular ventilation is essential during the first two weeks. " Don't have the tunnel space for the first one unfortunately. Maybe now's the time to look at buying and running portable electric heaters if we can afford it. We have some big propane space heaters already but I think they increase humidity too much.   

tolhurstorganic
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Last seen: 2 days 16 hours ago
Joined: Monday, 7 June, 2010 - 21:56
Squash storage

Hi John also take a look at the article I did in OG several years back, carefull harvest is important don't hold them by the handles! Handle like eggs any skin damage can lead to rots. Ultimately the best solution is a warm sunny September/October to fully ripen, failing that plenty artificial heat and venting for a week or two works well. 2016 was a fantastic year we had butternut until March and others up until we sold out in May. This year we have a staggering yield but ripening is slower. In my experience big yields of any crop often leads to problems of storage onions a great example.

 

 

 

mattbeanie
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Last seen: 1 month 1 week ago
Joined: Wednesday, 19 December, 2012 - 20:25
Squash storage

I grow quite a lot of Crown Prince, and although the curing is important, it's being unable to store them at a suitable temperature in barns that causes most problems, with rot setting in around Christmas time. They've got to be around 12 degrees or above, so much to the annoyance of my family we end up with tall columns of them in the corners of our quite small terrace house ... they store very well right through winter and I make sure I charge a bit extra for them!  My main customer is a shop and box scheme, and they help me out  too, by letting fill up spare corners in their cellar as they appreciate what a great product it is to have in late winter. I'm just wondering if it's worth you investigating options for storing them off the site. A farmer friend of mine used to store his in an old refrigeration container, but didn't use extra heating so they rotted anyway.... I wonder if running a dehumidifyer in such a space would work, as they kick out a bit of warmth too.

 

Phelim Knifton
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Last seen: 5 hours 24 min ago
Joined: Tuesday, 23 March, 2010 - 11:21
Dehumidifier

I'll vouch for a dehumidifier, since I started using one in my squash store I've managed to store them well into spring, prior to that the combination of cold and the damp winter air encouraged spoilage even thouigh they were in a very well insulated shed.

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