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Root Cellar / Food Storage Report

 
Posts: 131
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After a couple of years away, I've gotten back to blogging.

One of the things that I really enjoyed with blogging was the ability to keep track of things that did and didn't work for me.  I used to do monthly root cellar reports, and I've decided to get back into that.  Here's my post for March:

http://ruraldreams.ca/march-2019-food-storage-report

The short version is that as of March 1, I still have several types of squash, carrots, potatoes, onions, and apples that are edible from my pantry and root cellar.  I am really pleased with the apples and carrots, as we have never managed to keep them in edible condition this long before.  Unfortunately, the thing that seems to be working is ziploc-type perforated vegetable bags...which I am not terribly happy about, as I would prefer not to introduce more plastic here.  I guess the consolation here is that I'm not dragging potatoes or onions home in plastic bags, and the veggie bags can be washed out and re-used.  Not ideal, but a step in the right direction.
 
gardener
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I, unfortunately, lost my crop of delicatas to frost and neglect on my part (BAD MANDY) , my saved potatoes for planting to mice (BAD MICE) but have just pulled the last of my purple carrots from the tubs in which they were planted and the last of the leeks from my raised bed and they are fine! GO ME!! I was given some eco grocery bags for buying vegetables without using plastic and thought they might be useful for storing veg in then hanging them from a beam to deter rodents?
Wish I had a cellar!
 
pollinator
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A root cellar is on my big list. I had one years ago in the corner of an unheated basement. I miss having one so much! I hear you about not wanting to use plastic. We’ve been trying to avoid it wherever possible. But there are things which it does so well. If you can sterilize and reuse it, it may be worth doing, since it has extended storage life so much. Thanks for sharing!
 
Jess Dee
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Amanda Launchbury-Rainey wrote:I, unfortunately, lost my crop of delicatas to frost and neglect on my part (BAD MANDY) , my saved potatoes for planting to mice (BAD MICE) but have just pulled the last of my purple carrots from the tubs in which they were planted and the last of the leeks from my raised bed and they are fine! GO ME!! I was given some eco grocery bags for buying vegetables without using plastic and thought they might be useful for storing veg in then hanging them from a beam to deter rodents?
Wish I had a cellar!



How do you store your carrots, Amanda?  I keep reading about carrots in tubs of sand or sawdust, but have never managed to make that work, here.  

Myrth Gardener wrote:A root cellar is on my big list. I had one years ago in the corner of an unheard basement. I miss having one so much! I hear you about not wanting to use plastic. We’ve been trying to avoid it wherever possible. But there are things which it does so well. If you can sterilize and reuse it, it may be worth doing, since it has extended storage life so much. Thanks for sharing!



You're welcome!  I think we will just wash the bags with soap for re-use...it'll probably turn up in a future root cellar report.  I agree that there are things where plastic seems to be the best option, but I definitely chafe at it.

 
pollinator
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I have no problems with carrots/parsnips/beetroot keeping until march if I keep them in damp sand and it really does have to be damp and kept damp, just like the soil is outside, but without the voles/worms/weather to contend with!
 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
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I grew them in tubs because we flooded out last spring and just left them and pulled as needed.  
 
steward
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We've switched from storing carrots and beets in damp sand in 5 gallon buckets over to using damp planer shavings in 5 gallon buckets.  Much easier to move around and if you get some shavings on the kitchen floor it isn't as big a deal as sand grinding into the floor.  We happen to use pine but I'm not sure it matters for the root crops.

Last year we had enough apples to try storing.  We used dry planer shavings but that made the apples taste a bit woody.  So maybe the type of sawdust matters for apples.  Once they were cooked I didn't notice the flavor/aroma of wood.
 
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Jess,

I love the concept of a monthly root cellar report. Its an ongoing best practices evaluation of modern root cellaring. Hopefully others will also contribute an ongoing report. Will be totally neat to see what comes of it all.

Cheers
Bryan
 
Jess Dee
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Bryan C Aldeghi wrote:Jess,

I love the concept of a monthly root cellar report. Its an ongoing best practices evaluation of modern root cellaring. Hopefully others will also contribute an ongoing report. Will be totally neat to see what comes of it all.

Cheers
Bryan



I also would love to hear what others are doing.  I don't know if what I'm doing amounts to 'best practice' or not, but we've done some experimenting, and it's kind of interesting to see what has worked as advertised, and what has not.
 
pollinator
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While we do not have a root cellar, I have been able to store potato's and carrots from late September (our first frosts) until planting time the next year ( end of May, first of June).  I layer them in coolers with shavings and keep them in my minimally heated shop.  I only turn the heat up to a comfortable work level when I am down there and then back down to just above freezing when I am not working.  I tried sand with the carrots a couple of years and have had much better luck with the damp shavings.  I've always used the shavings (dry) to layer the spuds with.  If you don't have an ample supply of shavings the white shavings sold for pet bedding work really well.  I wouldn't suggest using cedar shavings nor pine, but will say that the pine would be my choice over cedar if the white shavings weren't available.  The cedar shavings will impart the cedar "taste" to your veggies.  Pine might as well.
 
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