Storing potatoes, squash, onions w/o root cellar?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by sassy_mare, Oct 1, 2008.

  1. sassy_mare

    sassy_mare Well-Known Member

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    Can anyone offer suggestions as to best store onions, potatoes, and winter squash w/o a root cellar?

    I live in northern Minnesota, so winter temps get downright brutal - outside isn't really an option...

    Many thanks!
    sassy
     
  2. pookiethebear

    pookiethebear Well-Known Member

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    I know what not to do...do not store the squash next to the onions they will all rot real fast.

    I keep things in my unfinished basement for now.
     

  3. mare

    mare Well-Known Member Supporter

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    good question--i live in central mn and dont have a basement, any ideas would be doubley appreciated i'm sure
     
  4. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Outside really would be an option even in Northern Minnesota but inside storage is easier since no digging is involved. No basement? How about an unheated entryway/mudroom. Potatoes, regular and sweet, go to the basement here. Squash and onions go into what we call an entryway. It's the catch-all 4x8 back entry room. No heat duct and over a crawlspace rather than the basement. Squash last to Christmas or later while the storage onions last until spring.

    How about a room that you can live without during the winter. Oldtimers used to block off half the house anyway and center everything around the one room with the big wood stove. Always had a "back room" that really wasn't needed for living in.

    If all else fails, how about a simple crawlspace? My next door neighbor doesn't have a basement but I once had to crawl under the house to replace some wiring. I was surprised to find a number of old orange crates under there and remnants of perhaps potatoes or rutabagas from many years prior.

    Martin
     
  5. Seeria

    Seeria Well-Known Member

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    Same situation here. No closet to spare, no extra room, can't dig things.
    We do have a garage and it has been suggested I use an old freezer (unplugged) with added insulation (straybales, insulating blankets, etc). Don't have an old one to test it out but if I can find one before winter sets in!! :)
     
  6. sammyd

    sammyd Well-Known Member

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    You can stick squash anywhere and it will last pretty good. Squash likes lower temps but not root cellar conditions.
    Potatoes and squash are really different in needs.
    Potatoes like 32-40 degrees and 80-90% humidity.
    Winter squash likes 50-60 degrees and 60-70% humidity.
    Onions like 35-40 degrees and 60-70% humidity.

    We lived in a basementless house in central WI for a few years. My folks would keep blue hubbards in a closet and they kept fairly well.
    I don't remember how we kept the potatoes.
    Go to the library and find Rootcellaring by Mike and Nancy Bubel. Lots of info and ideas for places without cellars.
     
  7. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Build a potato storage bin in the garage from whatever lumber is handy. Pack potatoes in mesh bags. Six inches of straw or leaves all around the bags should be sufficient insulation to keep them from freezing.

    Martin