Use your garden as a root cellar

What you’ll need

  • bales of straw or hay

step 1: Keep the ground from freezing with bales of hay

After a few good frosts, but before the ground freezes hard, place bales of hay or straw in the garden over carrots, turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, and other root crops. If you don’t have bales, just pile any mulching material two or three feet deep.

step 2: Dig up roots all winter

When you want some roots for dinner, go to the garden and roll back the bales. They have insulated the soil to keep it from freezing. Dig up the roots just as you do in the summer. Throw loose soil back in the hole to protect roots you exposed but didn’t harvest. Roll the bales back in place when you’re through.

step 3: In the spring

Harvest the remainder of the root crops before the ground warms up. Use the hay in the compost pile or as a mulch in the garden.