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How to store root cellar type crops through the summer

 
pollinator
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Location: Denver, CO
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I don't currently have a root cellar. I was in the process of building one, and then I realized that in my climate the soil never freezes deeply; so a combination of a high tunnel, low tunnels, and various "clamps" (straw or leaf piles) would get me through the winter.

However, my irrigated backyard garden is small. I have been gardening on various remote plots. Irrigation on these plots has always been a hassle. I've been considering various possibilities for dryfarming vegetables.

Which brings me to this topic. Many root cellar crops (turnips, cabbage, beets, carrots) could be grown in the spring before things dry out. Most of the precipitation here comes between March and June, with September through February being very dry. So a crop of early turnips would be ready to harvest just when things start drying out. Remaining in hot dry soil until the weather cools down in late October would ruin them.

How could I store a good many bushels of root crops until the soil cooled down and I could put them in a standard clamp, buried bucket, or low tunnel bed?

If I dug down far enough would a pit keep them from sprouting? I could dig a deep hole into subsoil, put them in, throw some buckets of water in it (the subsoil here is generally dry in late summer) and bury them, and then pull them out for more accessible storage in the Fall?

I could also dry them for storage, but I'd rather avoid that.
 
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Depending on how cold the air is in winter in Denver, a Freezer Wofati could be an option.  While it may not be a freezer in the summer it could still be a root cellar.  I don't know if anyone has built one of these yet...
 
Gilbert Fritz
pollinator
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Depending on how cold the air is in winter in Denver, a Freezer Wofati could be an option.  While it may not be a freezer in the summer it could still be a root cellar.  I don't know if anyone has built one of these yet...



Denver can be cold in the winter, but it is not predictable. The whole ten day forecast is above freezing right now. I've seen it hit 75 degrees in February. On the other hand, it can get down to zero and below. Just random. The top few inches of the ground freezes, but in sunny areas it thaws again during the warm spells. And there is never consistent snow cover, so albedo is low.
 
Gilbert Fritz
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Just bumping this up. I'm still thinking about it. I think it could be key to gardening without irrigation here.
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