Fall is the time to store your harvested garden in preparation of the coming winter. An easy and inexpensive way to store your produce or canned goods is to put them in a root cellar. A good root cellar can be in a basement or dug into the earth. All that is needed is darkness, humidity, ventilation, and a shelter. You can even build your own above ground if you are handy!
Produce should have dirt shaken off of it instead of washed. This will help store the fruits and veggies better. Wash produce when it is brought up from the root cellar to be eaten. Since certain fruits give off ethylene gas, which shortens plant life, keep them separate from vegetables and store in brown paper bags.
When storing produce, handle with care to prevent bruising. Once bruised, the decomposition process will start. Try not to pile up vegetables as it is better to give them some breathing room to keep them cool and not weighing on each other. Some vegetables give off an odor that can be absorbed by other produce (like cabbage) that affects the taste of other vegetables. It is best to store these potent produce a safe distance from other items in the root cellar.
Know where to store your items in the cellar and how long they will last. The higher up items are, the warmer the temperature. Unsure of how long items will last? Click here for a handy chart.
Neverman, Laurie. “Root Cellars 101 – Root Cellar Design, Use, and Mistakes to Avoid.” Common Sense Homesteading
Newton, Sandy. “Root Cellars: Handle Your Harvest With Care.” The Old Farmer’s Almanac
“What To Store in a Root Cellar.” Rodale’s Organic Life