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Vegetable Gardening: Storing food for Winter

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CricketsGarden
Nauvoo, AL
(Zone 7a)

August 8, 2012
3:00 PM

Post #9234721

I never grow a bunch of root crop veggies cause I don't have a way to store them so they don't ruin , except carrots and they store in the ground where they grew all winter.
What does a person do if they don't have a cellar or a basement?
I came across a bunch of ways to store a large amount of potatoes without a cellar.
This link is one of them.
http://www.saveourskills.com/4-simple-root-cellar-ideas
and I love it. I already knew that storing food in the ground is how it was done way back when...but I never gave it much thought until I really wanted to grow lots and lots of food.

I also saw that people were storing food under their house that only has crawl space. My crawl space is 2 ft but I cant see me crawling under there all the time but I would if I had no other choice.

What I haven't found yet is a chart or something that tells you what the temperature should be at certain footage below the ground.

NicoleC

NicoleC
Madison, AL
(Zone 7b)

August 8, 2012
6:51 PM

Post #9234986

CricketsGarden wrote:I never grow a bunch of root crop veggies cause I don't have a way to store them so they don't ruin , except carrots and they store in the ground where they grew all winter.


I'm nearby. I have good luck with cabbage, kale, collards and spinach in the garden all winter. I haven't tried kohlrabi yet but it will probably work, too. You are at a higher elevation, I think, so you probably get more frost than me but I would think cabbage and collards would work for you at least.

Waltham Butternut, if cured and unblemished keeps for me from fall until February or March in my heated basement -- it's 65F down there in the winter. Sweet potatoes last until December or so, but they dehydrate well -- I slice up the blemished ones and dehydrate them to use as dog treats. I can't keep apples at all, though, which i find frustrating because I have two nearby orchards that have great apples. I have pondered altering a chest freezer to maintain a steady "root cellar" temp but it sort of defeats the point to power it by electricity. :)

Quoting:What I haven't found yet is a chart or something that tells you what the temperature should be at certain footage below the ground.


This link (PDF file) http://www.geokiss.com/res-design/GSHPDesignRec2.pdf has a graph on page 7 which shows you how to measure it. For example, in our region, the normal ground temp at 30' (where the temp stabilizes) is about 65F (page 6, figure 5), so at 5' deep the ground temperature on Jan 1st is about 60F, and Sept 1st it's about 75F. I haven't tried a clamp myself -- I just think it would be too warm here for them to work very well. I almost think that an unheated room that is well insulated would work better. You could open it up on cool nights and then close it up when it's going to be warm. It would be a lot of effort, but would simulate cool cellar conditions better.

The UN FAO site has a lot online about food storage without energy (mostly aimed at very poor countries), and the book "Root Cellaring" by Mike and Nancy Bubel covers more than just traditional root cellars -- it's a really good book.
CricketsGarden
Nauvoo, AL
(Zone 7a)

August 11, 2012
10:46 AM

Post #9237821

Thank you Nicole for the pdf link and book information.

I ordered a book called "The Homesteading Handbook" Back to the basics of growing, canning and storing food. It should be here by Tuesday. It includes constructing , digging and maintaining a cellar and underground storage.

I only have a problem storing Potatoes over winter...or at least I think it would be a problem. I grow the cole crops like broccoli, cabbage, turnips, and cauliflower in sessions until it gets too cold.
But the other day I read that I can keep my potatoes in the ground through the winter just like I do carrots and harvest As I needed them in our Zone 7.

Someone else had a bug issues while keeping their potatoes in the ground over winter. Then you have the issue of different opinions on pest control.
Just when you think you have a good idea, you don't.

I did not grow potatoes this year but potatoes are on sale this time of the year. I have been watching the temps under my house during the hot days and it is 20 degrees cooler under there. 100 outside and 80 under the house. How come we don't live under there?

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

August 20, 2012
1:36 PM

Post #9247937

Cricket, it's not quite as simple as just the temp under the house. Certain veggies need warmer and dry temps, some need warmer and moist temps, some need colder but dry... and some need colder but moist. For example, I have found I can keep winter squash better and longer in the bottom of a closet in an unheated room than in my root cellar.
http://tinyurl.com/dykcx8j

kittriana

kittriana
Magnolia, TX
(Zone 8b)

August 21, 2012
5:33 AM

Post #9248640

Homes weren't built with money saving ecological factors - they were mass produced cheap and fast with baby boomers busting out the seams. No one cared for anything but getting their own place away from the folx. Texas has more heat than the areas where root cellars are still dug. It is 56* this morning in Catlettsburg, Ky- fall is moving in fast this year
CricketsGarden
Nauvoo, AL
(Zone 7a)

August 21, 2012
7:07 AM

Post #9248736

Spring was early and fall will be early...almanac. Almanac is not exact but its close.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

August 21, 2012
7:43 AM

Post #9248774

We're still at 96 over here. Although, I detect a slight change in the morning air. Not much longer, and I suspect it's gonna come in fast when it does.

NicoleC

NicoleC
Madison, AL
(Zone 7b)

August 21, 2012
10:11 AM

Post #9248950

Fall is already here as far as I can tell.

I should have salad turnips in another week or two.

kittriana

kittriana
Magnolia, TX
(Zone 8b)

August 21, 2012
12:58 PM

Post #9249123

My DH says he's expecting the leaves to not turn this year it is so hot- they'll be green and dry when they hit the ground in Tennessee, chuckl
Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

August 23, 2012
9:40 AM

Post #9251213

Maples and birch are turning here in MN.

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

August 23, 2012
1:49 PM

Post #9251435

Here in the mid-central Appalachians we have had lows of 47-50F for over a week or more now. I'm already doing the Fall clean-up of the beds I usually do in late September to early October. Now thinking I may need more firewood than I have on hand.

I do expect an early Fall, but I'm also considering we could have a harsher winter than the last several years.

kittriana

kittriana
Magnolia, TX
(Zone 8b)

August 23, 2012
4:48 PM

Post #9251600

Yup, I'd set in more wood too! Even in just chilly norms that little fire feels good, sigh, been daydreamin of a little open face stove a burnin to sip a coffee close to.

NicoleC

NicoleC
Madison, AL
(Zone 7b)

August 23, 2012
5:24 PM

Post #9251635

darius wrote:Here in the mid-central Appalachians we have had lows of 47-50F for over a week or more now. I'm already doing the Fall clean-up of the beds I usually do in late September to early October. Now thinking I may need more firewood than I have on hand.

I do expect an early Fall, but I'm also considering we could have a harsher winter than the last several years.


We had an early winter last year. My elderly cat, who has never been wrong, put in a massive fur coat.

It was the second warmest winter on record here. :-/

I'd put up more firewood just in case, especially if you depend on it for heat, but at the moment, most of the science guys are suggesting a weak El Nino peaking in December, which in our region likely means more stormy weather but not necessarily cold -- and quite possibly some colder temps late in the winter than normal. So maybe long and snowy, but not really cold. I could go for some snow. The whole city here shuts down. I work at home so it won't get me any days off work, but I rather like it when the city is quiet and my neighborhood has some bodacious sledding hills.

Of course there are experts predicting a terribly frigid winter -- and some saying warmer. The Farmer's Almanac is saying colder than normal, on the east coast and warmer on the west coast, snowier in the southern regions and less snow in the northern regions.

I think I'll know for sure when I let the dog out in the AM. :)

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