What Is A Root Cellar And Why Should I Want One?


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Apples: I don’t foresee growing these, but they’re considered the ‘queen’ of storage fruits.
  • Beets: good keepers. The ‘Long Keeper’ variety is just that -- a great keeper. The leaves are vitamin-rich. Can last 4 to 5 months in storage.
  • Brussels sprouts: might keep 4 to 5 weeks if kept in perforated plastic bags. This reminds us we might want to stock up on plastic grocery bags for this purpose.
  • Cabbage: if it splits, it won’t keep.
  • Chinese cabbage: can last up to three months. You can even replant them in a box of soil in the root cellar.
  • Carrots: a summer planting is best for winter keeping. They are the backbone of any food-storage plan. The roots are rich in vitamin A and they can last several months in storage. With adequate mulching, you can even keep them right in the garden row for the winter.
  • Cauliflower: keeps only a short time at best, two to four weeks.
  • Celeriac: a good keeper.
  • Celery: see how late you can keep this in the garden, and then maybe you can get a month or two of storage out of it.
  • Garlic: needs lower humidity than root vegetables. If you can find a cool, dry place, it can last seven or eight months.
  • Horseradish: very hard and a good keeper.
  • Jerusalem artichoke (sunchoke): can last several weeks in plastic bags or in damp sand.
  • Kale: high in vitamin content, easy to grow, extremely cold-hardy.
  • Kohlrabi: the leaves are good to eat. Packed in damp sand or sawdust, it can keep well into the winter.

  • Leeks: especially cold-hardy. Can make it through a winter outdoors if well mulched, or you can plant some in your root cellar in tubs of sand or soil.
  • Lettuce: has a short storage life.
  • Onions: seed-grown onions are especially good for storage.
  • Parsnips: these are perhaps the hardiest of all root vegetables. Be sure to dig them out. If you pull them, you can lose half the root. If you nick the roots with the shovel, don’t store them. Nicks and blemishes invite spoilage, and this applies to all root vegetables. For longer storage, pack them in damp sawdust. Leaves, moss, or sand will work well too. The leaves are edible.
  • Sweet Potatoes: the roots are vitamin-rich, and they can keep several months if stored well. Must be cured.
  • White Potatoes: beware of planting the kind you buy in the store -- they may contain disease. Cool nights promote storage of starch, making for a longer-keeping potato, so the later-maturing ones are best for storage. Must be cured and kept in a dark spot. They can last four to six months.
  • Pumpkins: those that have lost their stems won’t keep well.
  • Winter radishes: they’ll last until February if well stored.
  • Rutabagas (Swedish turnip): will last two to four months in storage.
  • Squash: if it’s well stored, it will keep for up to six months. Cure them for 10 to 14 days. Like pumpkins, keep them dry and moderately warm.
  • Tomatoes: late-planted tomatoes are best for storage.
  • Turnips: these are among the hardiest of vegetables. In storage they might put out pale, leafy tops, good for stews.
  •  This incredibly ambitious buried school bus cellar inspires thoughts of all kinds of buried junk; An old car, van, cargo container, or:
     An old non-working refrigerator. A chest freezer would be great as well.
     
     
     Beets and carrots store best buried in sand.
    Cabbages hanging upside-down by their taproots. I love the cans, but stop stacking your home canned goods people! Safety first!
     

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