October 31, 2020

Storing Garden Carrots In Fresh Moss





Cold weather is coming. We harvested all our carrots today, so have been looking for a long term carrot storage method.

Formerly we have kept garden carrots in the fridge, which worked well. This year we had more carrots than fridge space, so had to try something else.

The easiest method is leaving carrots in the ground with mulch on top. We have done that before because I am inherently lazy.

However, going outside midwinter to dig carrots can be bracing, so this year we opted for storing them in our unheated garage in a bin. 

We don't have sand on hand, and did not want to buy any. Same with other materials we have seen recommended like potting soil or peat moss. 

Then we read about using fresh forest moss for packing carrots for winter storage. 

Moss is something we have in abundance in our back yard, and pretty much everywhere else around here. Our humid maritime climate means that the Acadian forest often has large, rich, thick matts of green, green moss on the forest floor.




First, we researched (we do a lot of research in this house) how to properly harvest wild forest moss, having never done it before.

We learned that moss is a terribly fascinating and delicate life form. It has no roots - the leaves absorb moisture directly from the air.

Most importantly, mosses are very slow growing. Once harvested, they can take anywhere from 5 to 20 years to grow back to their former green glory.

If too much is taken, or taken in the wrong way, it may never grow back. 

I went to the woods and approached the moss carefully, respectfully, and gratefully. After thanking the forest for its bounty, I filled a bag with chunks of deep, puffy, fresh moss. 

I harvested this precious resource by taking smaller pieces over a large area instead of a big piece from one area.

It was a beautiful moment with my hands in the richness of the moss matts. The smell was a clean smelling mix of the freshness of the green parts mixed with the decay of the lowest brown layer. 

I made an offering, and headed home to my carrots.




Supervised by the ever watchful Linda, I took a bin and started with a layer of moss at the bottom. Then we placed a layer of carrots down on this moist, comfy bed. 

Then moss, then carrots. We repeated this until all the carrots were in the bin. 

The last layer was moss, then a plastic bag went on top of that to allow the bin to breathe. Done.

We had the perfect amount of moss, which was great because I did not want to harvest any more than we required.

It is the first time we have tried this method. It will be nicer to be able to go to the garage and take carrots from the moss bin, rather than liberating them from cold soil in the middle of winter. 

Once again we didn't have to buy anything, although I see that one can buy a box of fresh sheet moss online for about $70.00. 

Wow. The moss in our bin may be more valuable than the carrots nestled among it.

Moss is so in demand that poaching is a problem in some areas. 

We will report on our experiment as we (and our carrots) slide into winter. I hear it's coming... again. 

What is your favourite long term storage method for carrots?


To learn about forest moss, and about sustainably harvesting it, see here.











3 comments:

  1. Anonymous11/01/2020

    I'll be interested in hearing how this goes.
    Linda

    ReplyDelete
  2. I suspect you can return it to the forest one sheet at a time in order not to waste it. Have you check this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought of exactly that - putting it back when I am done with it. We have not yet checked it out, but it makes sense.

      It is quite moist, and probably will remain that way. It could even be misted if it dries out, and that might keep it living. Moss loves shade and humidity, and the bin has both. No sun, though.

      It would be great if I could return the moss to the forest. I like your idea.

      Delete


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