Root/Cold Cellars : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I've purchased a rural property with a big one of these & have never had one...does anyone have any tips on the proper use? Specifically how to keep rodents out, ideal temp, what keeps well & what doesn't...I think I heard once not to store apples & potatoes together as the apples emit a gas that ruins spuds.

-- Jeff Brown (, September 18, 1998



I don't have a root cellar, but I recall reading that apples emit phosgene gas. I had read that it was carrots that absorb this gas and become bitter. I think I read this in the book by Eric Sloane, "A Reverence for Wood", regarding the pioneers' use of various woods, but also including various bits of folk wisdom from earlier centuries. <<<<<>>>>>.

-- Dan Hunt (, September 18, 1998.

This is the book, "Root Cellaring":

Can save you a lot of grief if you're new to it.


-- E. Coli (, September 18, 1998.

I believe the current issue of Mother Earth News has a good article on root cellars.

-- beckie (, September 19, 1998.

Jeff- Make sure there is an oulet pointing above ground to ventilate the cellar. You may want to put up those insulating panels in the ceiling. We wrap our tomatoes in newspaper individually, store the carrots in a box of their own (put down a layer of sand, put in a layer of carrots, cover them with a layer of sand, etc). We keep our potatoes in a big burlap bag - they last all winter at about 40 degrees down there. Apples - I am always drying them or making applesauce so I don't think we kept them long enough to cause a problem. The Reader's Digest "Back to Basics" book has a good section on cellars - so does "Preserving the Fruits of the Earth".

-- Melissa (, September 20, 1998.

Good suggestions...thank you one & all...Jeff

-- Jeff Brown (, September 23, 1998.

Jeff, found the explanation on why you shouldn't store apples with potatoes at Walton Feed's Root Cellar Basics:
Air circulation: The best root cellars have vents (although none of the old cellars here in Southern Alberta I have seen have them). This is because the vegetables in your cellar give off gasses that often are conducive to either spoilage or sprouting. For example, apples naturally give off ethylene gas which makes potatoes sprout prematurely. (This can be used to your advantage if you have potatoes that are slow sprouting. Putem both in a plastic bag.) Good venting fundamentals include:

o Have an inlet vent and an outlet vent. o The outlet must always be at the highest level in the cellar with the outlet tube flush with the inner wall. o The inlet should come into the cellar at the bottom. This is easily done if your cellar is built into a hill, but nearly as easy if it is buried in flat ground. With your inlet vent opening on top of the ground near your outlet vent, your inlet vent pipe must go all the way to the floor before opening into your cellar. o Keep shelves a couple of inches away from the walls of the cellar. This will greatly promote circulation around the vegetables stored on these shelves. o To prevent your potatoes from sprouting prematurely, keep your apples above them so the circulating air moves away from your potatoes. o Have a system in place to close your vents in freezing weather. Something as simple as a big sponge can work for this. If you have very cold winters, you may wish to block off both ends of each vent pipe.

Phosgene gas, indeed!

-- Max Dixon (Ogden, UT) (, September 24, 1998.

Good link, now I feel educated. Thanks, Matt

-- Jeff Brown (, September 25, 1998.

Oops..sorry Max...Maybe I should move up that appointment with the optometrist!

-- Jeff Brown (, September 25, 1998.

If you want the low-down on all manner of cellars and storage, hit this site

Select a state that you think would normally have cellars and plunder around in their publication sections.

I've found that cooperative extension offices have EXACTLY the type of non- or low-power solutions that one would need in the upcoming event. Besides, 98% of the info is free and downloadable...

-- j (, September 28, 1998.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ