Jay Angler wrote: A couple of questions:
Sounds like excellent results. I'm sure the mycelium inoculated straw will make good mulch or compost, so I see this as a double win! Better mycelium than some molds.
Jan White wrote:This year, I didn't open my potato bin once all winter. I finally got to it in May. When I opened it, there was quite a bit of mycelium through the straw and covering the potatoes. Other than a few potatoes that probably would have rotted anyway, they were all sound. They just needed a wash.
So, I learned a bit more about the limitations of the system without losing any potatoes. Another excellent year with my mini root cellar!
Yeah - no point growing and storing stuff one doesn't want to eat, or one's family doesn't want to eat. (Although I've discovered a couple of dishes that I *really* like my blackberry ketchup on, so I get to eat it ALL!!)
I also learned I don't like Amarosa potatoes. They have a very wet flesh and the flavour is meh.
With those temps, you might need to consider a double row of earth bags with insulation in between. With "dirt" the number of feet of it is what does the insulating when above ground. The ground of the slope you're against should have a more stable warm temperature, but you need a way to "capture" that stability. I don't have the extreme cold to worry about, but I do have the high winter water table that Barbary Kocham mentions *and* I've got my age against me - I just don't bend as well as I used to. I've got my eye on the north side of a small bank which is conveniently beside a path, but like you, I would need to build something around it that will give me easier access, but still preserve the temperature. Earth bags are probably too heavy for me to manage, but maybe not if I can use the tractor to do enough of the lifting and fill and tamp in place.
M Wilcox wrote:I'd like to try a root cellar like this, but I have a unique situation: I live on a shale shelf and can't dig more than a few inches. However, there's a somewhat steep slope near the house and I wondered if I could dig out a shelf for the can to sit on and then berm it with sand bags or earth bags against the side of the slope? We get many winter days below zero F (up to -28 C) so I don't know if that would work.
This is one of the reasons I'm thinking terms of several garbage cans/plastic barrels in the side of the slope. I figure I can put apples in one and potatoes in another and have them each have a separate air input and output. I believe I read somewhere that certain fruit/veg shouldn't be stored together as they'd pick up the other's flavor! Can't remember where and not sure the source was reliable. Anyone have experience with that?
Thekla McDaniels wrote:One thing about storing apples is the ethylene gas they emit, ...
Dunno about apple’s effect on potatoes and other root vegetables.
I watched a period "how to" about an English farm and they used dried Bracken as the first layer of a thatched shed roof. I wonder if that would work as an insulating layer? We get used coffee sacks locally, and maybe I could stuff them with the Bracken and lay it over the lid?
Michelle Heath wrote: Just wondering if anyone has tried this using hay instead of straw? With so many stories of contaminated straw I don't really feel safe using it and I don't know of anyone growing it locally.
This is *exactly* why I've not yet done it! I keep mulling over the possibilities and I do think I'm getting closer to something that will work well enough and be easy enough to use that I won't avoid the task of accessing the food until it's gone off! It needs to be close enough to the house to be functional, it needs to be easy enough to "uncover" the bin I want, AND I need to be able to easily reach the food, preferably without kneeling in mud (which is what our winters are all about)!
I tried the trashcan method many years ago and getting into it was a pain.
Michelle Heath wrote:. Just wondering if anyone has tried this using hay instead of straw?