The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Storing root vegetables in a closet

Storing food in a closet

Since I'm assuming you've all been following our fridge root cellar adventures here on the blog, the excerpts from $10 Root Cellar that I plan to share this week are going to cover other options for root storage.  The simplest and cheapest suggestion came from Aimee Leforte, who uses plastic storage bins and sand to emulate root-cellar conditions.  I'll let her tell you about closet root storage in her own words:

"Even though my house was built in 1918, there is no formal root cellar or even the remnants of one.  Instead I have experimented, with fantastic results, using a downstairs closet and totes of sand. 

"This particular closet has two walls that are also outer walls, and two walls that are inner walls.  I have found in the late fall and winter that this closet is fairly cold, but definitely above freezing.  If I had to guess I would say its in the 40-45 degree range; I haven't actually measured it. 

Storing carrots in

$10 Root Cellar"With carrots, parsnips, and turnips, I have taken each and topped them.  Then I will take a tote and layer the bottom with slightly-dampened sand.  Layer in a layer of veggies so that they are not touching.  Add sand to build up a layer, mist lightly with water, then add veggies again.  I do this several times until the tote is 3/4-of-the-way full.  I add the lid and store in the bottom of the closet.

"Every once in awhile, I'll check to see how they are doing.  I've never had any go bad until at least late March, and have had farmer's market carrots from October clear until mid April. 

"I think that this method, and a little experimentation, would work well for anyone who has a crawlspace, closet, or attached garage.  Very simple to do.  And I already had both the sand and totes, so for me it was free.  But to buy these items you may have less that $15 to 20 dollars to set up one fair-size tote."

This post is part of our $10 Root Cellar lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I think you all would very much enjoy watching the Victorian Kitchen Garden for their ingenious methods for prolonging harvests. They packed carrots and such with sand, too. :-)
Comment by Brandy Tue Jul 30 13:10:41 2013
Brandy --- You were the second person to mention it, so when I saw it on your blog this week (last week? week before?), I packed that thought away, and I started dipping into it this week. You're right --- it's a very nice series! More interesting than the permaculture series I've been watching while making chicken waterers, actually, so I think I'm going to change my background attention to that.
Comment by anna Tue Jul 30 13:54:55 2013
Glad you are enjoying it! It's a wonderful motivation for me to be more deliberate in my gardening.
Comment by Brandy Tue Jul 30 14:09:23 2013
Your information really helped me in a difficult situation. My 5 year old daughter wanted to incubate some of our eggs, so we did. What I did not count on was a cute little spitfire who could not figure out how to stand up. Like you described it was more than splay legs, although I tried desperately to fix her up with bandaids. It became apparent that I needed to put her out of her misery, but I was paralyzed at the thought of having to do it. It's amazing how such a little life can grab ahold of your heart so quickly. I decided to use the carbon dioxide and it went just like you said it would. Thank you so much for posting that information. It allowed me to be able to do the deed and be merciful about it, to let go of her and the hope that she would get better, and now I can enjoy with my children the other 16 chicks we hatched that are healthy! One of them being one that I helped "unzip", who is doing wonderful. Thanks again! Cindy
Comment by Anonymous Thu Aug 1 00:03:37 2013

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