Year-round veggies from root cellar.

Discussion in 'Gardening and Agriculture' started by BasecampUSA, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. BasecampUSA

    BasecampUSA Sr. Homesteader

    I just now got another bucket of carrots and a few potatoes out of the root cellar for the pot-luck at church Sunday.... they have been in there since mid - October.


    The carrots were laid in layers on damp sand in 5 gallon buckets (at left, showing them laying in sand).. They are still as crisp as they were when they were put there 7 months ago, and will probably hold another 2 months.

    The potatoes were just put in bushel baskets and they are also just as crisp as they were last October.

    I just washed the sand off some carrots, and rinsed the taters to show how nice they kept. A Bic lighter shows the relative size.

    The root cellar is kept right at 36 degrees and 60% humidity during the winter, if the temperature dips below that (usually February), there is a little coal stove that will take the chill off by firing it up twice a week for 2-3 hours (about a shovel full of coal each time).


    We keep all our filled canning jars in there after harvest time too, as well as the long-term storage of bulk grains and legumes and some cases of store-bought canned meats and chicken. Cool dark and dry will keep everything good a long time.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2011
  2. nj_m715


    GO POUND SAND!! My stinking carrots were the size of my little finger last year. We'll try more nitro this year. We don't have enough compost yet so we cheat.

  3. goshengirl

    goshengirl Supporting Member

    Thanks for the post/photos, Basey. I especially appreciate the detail - temp and humidity and all. This is something I hope to work on this summer, although for us it will be a separate room in the basement with a venting system.

    The potatoes - when you put them in the bushel basket, did you pack anything else in there, or just keep the dirt (from when they were grown) on them?
  4. worldengineer

    worldengineer Well-Known Member

    The carrots look really good. Very colorful. Like NJ said, they embarrass my puny ones.
  5. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

    My Aunt used to store carrots/beets/parsnips in bins in sand just like that!
    She also used to leave all three in the garden and put a tarp over the plots where they were grown and then putting bales of straw over them in the fall, when the ones in the root cellar(the dirt floor room off the main basement) ran out then the fellas would have to go and dig them when she needed them.
    I think that, that would be a good way to go after TSHTF, I mean who is gonna look under bales of straw(or big piles of leaves maybe) in the winter for food(well other than us that is ;):D).
    Most city folk wouldn't know that carrots/beets/parsnips grew under the ground or what to look for even in summer!
  6. BasecampUSA

    BasecampUSA Sr. Homesteader

    I just put them unwashed in the baskets and observed them this year. There are no varmints in the root cellar, so I didn't have to use a screened box to keep them out. Yukon gold and red potatoes. I was pretty surprised myself as to how well they all kept. I'll use some of them as seed potatoes this year for another crop.

    @Emerald, I keep them in sand too, ran out of 'em in mid-march - the beets were a bit soft, the parsnips, turnips and kohlrabi were crisp as the carrots. Much more next year.

    Oh yeah I forgot... SQUASH! We had butternut, buttercup, acorn and blue hubbard in there till we ran out end of February... all held well except the blue hubbard. The blue hubbard got "black pox" all over the skins mid January and we had to peel it quickly, cook and freeze it for making "pumpkin-pie pudding" deserts ("diet pumpkin pie" -without crusts :D ).

    Heh... Those are the biggest I've had yet... this time in a raised bed of 50/50 sand and compost, thinned out well after the tops were about 4" long... Lotsa work, though!
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2011
  7. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

    I've noticed that on years that are dry in the late summer early fall the squash bugs will take a tiny "bite" on the squashes and later that winter even tho we give them a quick dip in bleach water they will start to get the black spots early in winter. Nasty little critters they are... A neighbor used to take an old shop vac and suck them off the plants.. I was thinking that after my vines set fruit I might cover them with remay cloth to keep down the squash bugs like I do for my Brussels sprouts.