Alternatives to a root cellar.....

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by michelleIL, Jul 29, 2006.

  1. michelleIL

    michelleIL tryna be His

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    I'm looking for ideas on how to store root veggies and other things without refrigeration. I may or may not have access to a root cellar, but I'm hoping to get access to a yard where I could dig something up if need be. Could I bury a plastic tote? Anyone have any ideas?
    Thanks a bunch!
    Michelle
     
  2. michelleIL

    michelleIL tryna be His

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    ps...I'm in the midwest, so hot summers are standard.
     

  3. insanity

    insanity Well-Known Member

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    I may need a way to store my sweet taters myself.If i get enough to fool with.(First time Ive tried growing them.) And some apples would really be cool.
    I was thinking a cooler buried down in the ground would work fine.Just leave the drain plug open so it doesn't collect ground water.I figured on using a cooler as the temp would not fluctuate so much,so i wouldn't have to bury it so deep.And because i have some old ones laying around.
    Although around here it doesn't get cold enough for our pipes to freeze under the house.So i thought about simply covering them with straw under the house.Or simply setting a cooler under there. :shrug: I gotta read up more on it myself.Just thought id toss out some more ideas.
     
  4. kitaye

    kitaye Well-Known Member

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    I don't think anything but a cellar will work in hot weather but you could easily store stuff through winter in a pit lined with straw and a perforated metal tub(washer tub). Fill with veggies and sand in layers. Cover with plastic and more straw.
     
  5. bnlfan

    bnlfan Well-Known Member

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    You have a few options. Try this link for a root cellar made from pallets and strong plastic. http://theepicenter.com/tow1102.html

    Another option is to bury a refrigerator or freezer on its back. Then, cover the top with with a sheet of plastic. Make sure that the plastic extends as one sheet beyond the door seals. This will keep water out. You can even cover it with straw.
     
  6. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The proper storage for sweet potatoes is no cooler than 55 degrees, and not warmer than 75 degrees. In the heated part of your house is the best place to keep them all winter. We put them in paper lined plastic boxes without a lid. They keep really well until late spring. Leave them in the ground until the first killing frost warning. I'm told the frosted vines will cause ill effects to the potatoes if they are left attached to vine.

    Old timers used to bury a wooden barrel into a slope, with the removable lid sticking just out of the ground at an angle. Apples were packed in them with layers of straw around them. A piece of canvas (or plastic) was laid over the lid and buried in straw, hay, or leaves. They needed to be watched carefully. That's where the saying, "One rotten apple will spoil the whole barrel" came from.
     
  7. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Folks used to make what was called a "potato clamp". I don't exactly remember how it was made, but it was esentially a hole and a pile of straw.
     
  8. blufford

    blufford Well-Known Member Supporter

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  9. labrat

    labrat Well-Known Member

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    I ran across this some time ago, it's too small for my needs but this may be what you are looking for.

    http://permapak.net/rootcellar1.htm
     
  10. Bruce in NE

    Bruce in NE Well-Known Member

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    When I lived in Idaho, a place I rented once had a building that was used for food storage in the back yard. It looked like a normal storage shed, about 6x10', by 8' high; but it was actually a super well insulated above ground storehouse for canned goods/roots. Wood walls were insulated with sawdust, about 1+ ft. thick. It had double doors; you walked in one door and then thru a second insulated door. A light bulb in the inner room was all that was needed to keep the temp above freezing in winter, I was told. Pretty slick.
     
  11. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When I was a kid my folks would hang a bucket with a lid on it down in the well pit to keep the butter from melting in this kind of weather.
     
  12. RedTartan

    RedTartan Icelandic Sheep Supporter

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    The book "Root Cellaring" has ideas for using an unheated garage or basement as a root cellar.

    :) RedTartan
     
  13. wvpeach1963

    wvpeach1963 WVPEACH (Paula)

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    The root cellar from pallets link was great!

    Carla Emery stored all her stuff in pit wholes lined with straw as many have suggested.

    But she warned to make sure you brought a good supply in before a freeze!
     
  14. michelleIL

    michelleIL tryna be His

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    I'll have to look at the link for the pallet typee root cellar.
    Thanks everyone!
    Michelle