We went to a book launch in Tamworth on Tuesday March 30th for
“All You Can Eat Gardening Handbook” by Cam Mather. He gave a good talk on the book and put in some highlights about root cellars, another topic near and dear to us.
The more we look at the large scale commercial/retail food industry, the more disgusted we get with it. Over the years the amount of our yard devoted to veg gardening has gone from 0 to 800 square feet.
The problem of course is storing the harvest over the fall, winter and into spring. Having a 20 year old house with no cold room and no way to add one on, we have attempted various places in the house (closed off bedrooms, shed, garage, etc) but none have worked well.
Invariably it is too hot and too dry in the winter.
To our amazement, Cam’s recommended storage environment is 5 degrees C at 90% relative humidity (RH)! Our best was normally 14 deg C an 30% in the winter in the house.
So.. time to draw up plans to build an insulated root cellar out of wood, and put it in the (insulated) garage. That should keep it cooler than house room temperatures and yet not let it freeze (maybe a small heater will be needed). The cooler temps will also give us a higher RH and we can alway add in buckets of water to boot.
IT will need ventilation (maybe a small powered muffin fan at the top to remove hotter air, and a controllable cool air intake near the bottom, and maybe a circulation fan inside.
IT must be mouse proof, have ventilated shelving and places to hang more. We’ll see how it goes when construction starts late this summer.