Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Root Cellar... for Nan

We currently use the "dry side" of our basement as a root cellar.  This side of the basement includes a window, that we use in fall, before temperatures drop, to ventilate and facilitate airflow.  We store our vegetables in wire racks... again allow airflow.  Late in winter (around now) we need to start cooking our squash and eating or freezing, as some varieties will not hold until spring in our space.

This year, we are storing several hundred potatoes, several hundred onions, dozens of butternut and delicata squash, and a few spaghetti squash.  We also have a few dozen heads of garlic.  Of these, the butternut are the only item that are beginning to deteriorate, so we have been using those first. These days, on our table you will find generous servings of squash soup, cornbread with squash puree as an ingredient, and roasted squash as a frequent side dish.

We are planning to add a more traditional root cellar to the farm, perhaps this spring.  I will be chronicling the progress of that project.

These photos are excerpted from my recently published book, Cultivating Success: In the Garden.


Nan said...

It is great!! Thanks. I bought your book, by the way! It is wonderful.

Aisling said...


Thank you for coming by. I cant wait for the new improved root cellar, but I think we will still use this space for some of the items that store really well in this environment. The onions, for example, just hold and hold... so why mess with success?! Thank you also for buying my book. I am so thrilled that you did! :)

Out on the prairie said...

At a recent garden club meeting a fellow plants his taters late and has better storage.We potluck each meeting with veggie dishes and compare results.

Aisling said...

That is an interesting idea about planting the potatoes later. I wonder what it is about the later planting that results in a potato with longer storage potential. We are going to do some potato sampling this year with various cultivars. Maybe we should try late and early planting too to determine best results. Food for thought!

magnoliasntea said...

Hi Marcie! Lucky you getting a new root cellar! I do love the photos of the one you already have, though, which reminds me of my own. (Btw, your book is in my cart at amazon...can't wait to click that order.) One of the reasons we bought this formerly drafty, old place is the unfinished basement that works over time as a storage cave and as a root cellar. The ceiling is too low to ever be a finished basement which is fine by me.

I'm struck by Steve's comment about the potatoes. It just occurred to me that our best ever potato crop was planted in June, of all months. Something to consider for sure.

Have a lovely weekend!

Marcie said...

Toni, Thank you for ordering my book! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

What month would you ordinarily plant potatoes in your location? Early June would be about normal up here. :)

magnoliasntea said...

Marcie, here in Tenn. we plant potatoes in April. We have a long growing season.
I'm sure I'll love the book. :)

My Journey To Mindfulness said...

You are doing all the things
that 40 years ago
I was interested in
Good luck to you
my special girl.

Proud of you....

Pom Pom said...

You, sweet M, are CLOSE to the earth. I love it. Happy Valentine's Day!