The Closest Thing We Have To a Root Cellar

We have big plans for a proper root cellar. We know we could harvest all manner of delicious food in the summer and tuck it away in a proper root cellar for use weeks – or months – later when food choices become more constrained.

Big plans do not a root cellar make, though, so what do we do in the meantime? Root cellars make sense now and will make even more sense later, when we will be paying several times what we do now for electricity from the grid and will have long periods when we can’t get it at all. So I’ve been thinking a lot about how to design and build a root cellar.

While I pondered, the Farmer-in-Chief swung into action. Commandeering a bookcase with a painted cardboard back left over from our college days (read that a rather old bookcase), she positioned it just under the west-facing window of the storage room and used it to store our winter squash and sweet potatoes (in the basket in the lower right corner).

root-cellar-for-blogYou can probably see in this photo (taken in the morning) that whatever’s on the top shelf gets direct sun, never a good idea in a root cellar. So we have some adjusting to do. Even with this flawed, rudimentary, stopgap measure, though, we’ve acted – or rather, Amanda has acted – to prolong the storage of our food in a way that will increase our resiliency in a material way.

Our hope is to burrow our root cellar into the ground. Erosion is always an issue at Longleaf Breeze, so we will need to be attentive to disrupting the soil and natural vegetation as little as possible.

We’re planning to help our friend Steve George build his root cellar early next year, and I’m reading a book now called Root Cellaring by Mike and Nancy Bubel. When we’ve finished those two tasks we’ll know much more than we do now about how to build and use a root cellar. And as always, when we know more, so will you.

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