From the back cover
Root cellaring, as many people remember but only a few people still practice, is a way of using the earth's naturally cool, stable temperature to store perishable fruits and vegetables. Root cellaring, as Mike and Nancy Bubel explain here, is a no-cost, simple, low-technology, energy-saving way to keep the harvest fresh all year long.
In Root Cellaring, the Bubels tell how to successfully use this natural storage approach. It's the first book devoted entirely to the subject, and it covers the subject with a thoroughness that makes it the only book you'll ever need on root cellaring.
Root Cellaring will tell you:
* How to choose vegetable and fruit varieties that will store best
* Specific individual storage requirements for nearly 100 home garden crops
* How to use root cellars in the country, in the city, and in any environment
* How to build root cellars, indoors and out, big and small, plain and fancy
* Case histories -- reports on the root cellaring techniques and experiences of many households all over North America
Root cellaring need not be strictly a country concept. Though it's often thought of as an adjunct to a large garden, a root cellar can in fact considerably stretch the resources of a small garden, making it easy to grow late succession crops for storage instead of many rows for canning and freezing. Best of all, root cellars can easily fit anywhere. Not everyone can live in the country, but everyone can benefit from natural cold storage.
Even though I gave it a neutral rating, I am not recommending against this book. It goes into a lot of detail about how to build root cellars, either smaller ones that are basically well-built holes in the ground, or fancier ones either as stand alone cellars or remodeled parts of houses.
But early on in the book, they claim that harvested vegetables and fruits breathe. This is true. I accept this. But then they go on to say that plants take in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide, just like we do.
NO! Plants are plants. They are not animals. They TAKE IN carbon dioxide and outgas oxygen as a byproduct. If it weren't for plants putting out oxygen, we, the animals, couldn't exist.
This is something like third-grade level science, and there is no excuse for missing something this simple and obvious. That in itself lost a positive rating for this book.
And almost all of the root cellars detailed in the book require a lot of work. A lot of digging, a lot of materials. Back hoes are useful. So is the ability to build molds into which to pour concrete. In short, these require a lot of heavy construction work, most of which should be, if not done professionally, at least at a professional level.
Personally, I'm not up for constructing buildings or remodeling parts of my house. I have a basement, a garage, and a separate small shed. I wanted to know how to use these to store produce without making it a home improvement project. Even after reading this book, I'm still at something of a loss as to what I could do.
If you want to remodel or build, ignore the "science" and read this book. If you're not that ambitious, it may not be a lot of help.