Greener BeeGreen TipsNature’s larder: Alan Titchmarsh’s tips on harvesting your own crops

The whole point of growing your own is to be able to enjoy a selection of fresh crops on tap throughout most of the year, but if you grow the sort of veg that is stored to eat in winter, there’s a definite feeling of harvest festival in the air now.

Onions should be ready for storing by now – if yours are still in the ground, lift them carefully with a fork and leave them lying on top of the soil in the sun until the skins are firm and papery and the remains of the foliage is like straw. If the weather is wet, place them where they can be kept dry, cool and in bright light – a cold frame 

if you have one. Once they are thoroughly dry, twist off any remaining roots and soil at the base. Then either plait the raffia-like tops together then hang them up in the kitchen, or just cut off the dead leaves and spread the onions out in slatted trays, which can be stacked up in a dry, airy shed or garage. 

Main crop potatoes should be left in the ground all the time their foliage stays green, and even after it’s died down. Spuds store very well in the ground as long as conditions stay dry. If there’s a spell of rainy weather, the dormant tubers soon start to grow again, which ruins their quality and means they don’t keep – so when in doubt, dig them out.

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