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Mon Jul 12, 2021, 05:34 AM

Constructing a root cellar to store produce from the garden.

Decided to replace the floating slab that the back basement entry room was on, and which shifted during spring, and put in a regular foundation.

I've been thinking for some time that I'll have to come up with some kind of cold storage space for some of the produce from the garden and kicked around a number of ideas. When my FIL and I jacked up the wall, busted out the slap and poured the footing, I saw that the inside of the basement entry could be dug out and made into a root cellar.

After we laid the block on the footing and removed the jack, I dug out the space in the basement entry. The cellar will be 7' long X 4' wide and about 32" deep. The basement entry will have a wood floor with sections that I can easily remove to gain access to the cellar below. The cellar itself will have a dirt floor and the cement block walls will have pink board on the inside and outside so to help keep the cellar cool in the summer and above freezing in the winter.

I plan on storing rutabaga, onions, carrots, parsley, winter squash, potatoes in there along with fermented tomatoes, sauerkraut and homemade kimchi. With a total capacity of 74 cubic feet, I ought to be able to store quite a bit.

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Response to Kaleva (Original post)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 05:52 AM

1. The magazine Mother Earth News

used to have articles on building a cold cellar. Library might have some copies.

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Response to multigraincracker (Reply #1)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 06:29 AM

2. Remember when Mother Earth was a lefty sort of hippie community before it went prepper?

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Response to marble falls (Reply #2)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 06:41 AM

3. Back then I had a

subscription. Dreamed of living up north in the woods. Now I do.

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Response to multigraincracker (Reply #3)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 06:46 AM

4. I filled a notebook with pages cut from ME for my place. Never got there.

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Response to marble falls (Reply #4)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 06:59 AM

5. I'm not big on gardens and farming, but

more of a hunter/gather type. My hunting has turned into looking for fresh road kill. I use to find road kill for an animal rehabber and learned how to find the fresh stuff, butcher and preserve it. Love to take fall walks in the woods, picking an eating plants as I go. Eat a lot of fresh fish too.

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Response to multigraincracker (Reply #5)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 07:02 AM

6. I'm a gleaner, too. There's a lot of food out there hiding in plain sight. But I do garden tomatos

greens and herbs.

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Response to marble falls (Reply #2)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 07:45 AM

7. The Last Whole Earth Catalog

Still have mine.

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Response to twodogsbarking (Reply #7)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 09:46 AM

13. Me too, my Anarchist Cookbook, and Government Works, too.

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Response to multigraincracker (Reply #1)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 05:49 PM

19. I've been browsing the internet and watching YouTube vids.

I subscribed to Mother Earth News back in the 80's and had quite a collection of magazines which were lost in a house fire some 15 years ago.

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Response to Kaleva (Original post)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 08:16 AM

8. We had a root cellar in the house

that my family had when I was a child. It was an older home that my parents had bought from a family friend of my grandparents. The basement had 4 sections: two large, open areas, and two small rooms with doors. One of the small rooms had no windows and was the root cellar where we stored potatoes, onions, and various home canned fruits and vegetables from our yard.

My father grew up on a farm, but moved into the city when he married my mother. He used half of our back yard as a garden and grew a little of everything, including 4 rows of cornstalks - in the middle of the city. There was an old peach tree, too, that produced a LOT of fruit.

As my mother said, you could take the boy off the farm, but not the farm out of the boy. We had corn, peas, beans, lettuce, cabbage, beets, potatoes, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, rhubarb, celery and radishes.

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Response to wnylib (Reply #8)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 08:39 AM

9. My mom was another country person who moved to the city.

We always had a big veggie garden to go with our flowerbeds. Mom was still growing veggies up until she broke her hip at 87 and couldn't live by herself anymore.

We live in FL, so no root cellars here, lol. However, we canned some every year. We also gave away a lot of fresh food, the neighbor kids would come over with sacks for us to fill with veggies during the summer and for oranges in the winter.

We tried a larger garden in the yard this year, but the ground wasn't good and was killing the plants so we just went with a container garden of a variety of heirloom tomatoes and assorted hot peppers . Now we know the issue, we just have to rent a rototiller and add lots of mulch and black cow. If that still doesn't work, we will do a raised garden with potting soil and that will absolutely do the job if necessary, but really hope it's not needed.

We've also planted a fig tree, but no fruit yet and are looking for a good pecan tree to plant. Guess some of mom's country upbringing got into my bones as well.

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Response to lark (Reply #9)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 09:48 AM

10. Lucky you with pecan trees. Much too cold

up here for them, but there was a big old black walnut tree on my grandparents' farm. We used to take home a bag of them when they were ripe. They have VERY hard shells that we broke open with a hammer. They are richer tasting than regular walnuts, but are not very common.

I forgot to mention that my father also planted watermelon and cantelope. It was not a large yard, but he planned the space carefully for what ripened first and what took the most space. He planted later growing and smaller plants in the spaces between larger ones.

In the other half of our back yard and in the front yard, we had lawn and flowers: a climbing rose bush up the side of the garage; blue, pink, and white hydrangeas along the fence that blended into purple ones; a lilac tree; pansies; violets; snap dragons; marigolds; geraniums; tiger lilies; irises; gladioli; and lilies of the valley. A wild honey suckle vine grew on our fence in back and a wild grape vine grew up the other side of our garage, on the side that belonged to our next door neighbor, who was my father's sister.

We shared tomatoes, peppers, and peaches with neighbors. My mother and her aunt, who lived with us, did a lot of canning.

I used to enjoy sitting on the lawn under the lilac tree in spring, reading and soaking in the scent.

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Response to wnylib (Reply #10)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 11:21 AM

11. What a wonderful yard your dad made, sounds absolutely perfect for reading under a tree.

The country and its reverence for life never left either of our folks, it seems.

I too love to read and have a little table/chairs set up on the shady part of the deck. I love to sit out there and reading and watching the birds flitting around. It's also really cool sitting out there and watching the rain clouds scooting before a brisk breeze and marching up to my yard.

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Response to lark (Reply #11)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 05:47 PM

12. I've grown some veggies and flowers

at most places where I've lived, even when we rented. My husband's job required us to relocate a number of times. But I never gardened on the scale that my father did. Usually it was tomatoes and green peppers, sometimes also broccoli and cauliflower. For flowers, I planted marigolds and zinnias along the borders between lawn and sidewalk.

Can't do it any more in a 6 story city apartment building. I tried raising indoor tomatoes one year, with no success. Ended up with beautiful plants that never flowered or produced fruit. But I have several indoor plants. I've learned that, for flowering plants, petunias work best in my apartment. I had one that lasted from spring well into December and had to be moved to make room for Christmas decorations. Too bad that it was purple and not red.

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Response to wnylib (Reply #12)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 10:24 AM

14. Plants definitely get in your blood.

When I was renting, I had quite a few potted plants that made the trips with me. I didn't try flowering plants inside then, except for spider plants and begonias in the sunny laundry room.

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Response to lark (Reply #14)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 10:45 AM

15. I have west-facing windows that get plenty

of afternoon sun. So plants thst need a lot of direct sunlight go on the windowsill, which has enough depth to hold them. The others get placed at varying distances from the window, depending on how much sun they require, and whether it is direct or indirect.

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Response to wnylib (Reply #15)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 11:09 AM

16. Yes that how one plays the growing game.

I had the spiders and aloe (not flowering) right by the windows so they got the early am sun and then bright light all day. The begonias, which were not hot sun tolerant were placed back a bit so they only got the really early sunlight, then good filtered light all day.

These days I have a yard and also there the balance between light and water and trees is critical. We had a giant live oak that was so gorgeous and shaded the deck and a lot of the yard. I had plant shelves on it where I kept the orchids during the spring/summer/fall. The tree failed, started tilting and kept leaning more and tree guys said it was rotting inside and would come down in a storm - and probably on top of our house! Once it came down (we were so sad) it totally changed our back yard. I had to bring the phalaenopsis inside and the cymbidiums aren't blooming - dont have the right conditions now. However the crepe myrtle has come back strong and we did find a good place to move the variegated ginger. We've moved the deck plants around and just don't sit in the sunny sitting area much - there's a shade side where we now chill.

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Response to lark (Reply #16)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 11:18 AM

17. So sad about the live oak.

It reminded me of a maple in our front yard when I was a kid. The grass underneath it had a softer, finer texture than the rest of the grass. It was a midsized tree that gave shade in summer and beautiful leaves in autumn. My siblings and I used to sit under it in summer, along with neighborhhood friends on hot days.

Then our next door neighbor's plumbing system developed problems that were traced to our maple tree's roots. It had to be cut down. We went into mourning for our favorite tree and summer gathering spot.

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Response to wnylib (Reply #17)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 11:34 AM

18. What a great tree and such good memories.

I also remember climbing the pecan trees as a kid, I loved them. They were great for climbing, and they formed such delicious nuts. During harvest time, mom let me climb to near the tops of the trees (normally not allowed) to shake them and get the nuts down. I loved that! She even let me get on the roof to gather the nuts that had fallen there!

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