Root Cellaring – Part II

In the previous post about root cellaring, I only briefly touched on many of the topics involved with root cellars.

Some other considerations to take into account is your local climate. Are you near the sound and without many snow covered days, or are you further toward the mountains and have intermittent frozen precipitation events (snow)?

If you are closer to the Puget Sound, you will find that many of our root crops (potatoes and carrots) will last far into the winter, and maybe even spring without leaving the garden beds. I was still pulling carrots last winter after the January storm. This just spring I saw some potato sprouts coming up where the potatoes were last year and I dug those up, they were still very firm and edible. They were delicious in fact!

If you are further towards the mountains you may have a hard time getting your harvest out of the frozen ground in mid-January, but if you were to cover those potatoes and carrots with straw, you would be able to pull that straw back and have pull-able carrots and potatoes.

Other options for cool storage is your garage (unless its a heated garage). I stored all of our harvested potatoes in the garage last year between two burlap bags. They were used coffee bags I found at the Towne Center Ace Hardware in Lake Forest Park. There are other locations listed here. The potatoes started to sprout throughout the winter, but taking off the eyes as they grow will extend the storage of the potatoes.

I have seen carrots put away for cool storage by placing the carrots, without the tops, in cool damp sand, sawdust, or coconut fiber. Potatoes do not need a damp covering material for storage, mine did just fine under the burlap sack and in the garage.

As with all storage foods, checking on them periodically to remove perishing crops. These recommendations apply to both a traditional root cellar and making do with what you have available. Will you be storing some of your fall harvest for winter eating? It would be well worth it, I promise you.

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