Root Cellaring Carrots
This is just a really quick note about the carrots I put down yesterday. I used to think that the stone basement in this old house would be perfect for storing vegetables over the winter, but a few years ago I tired putting carrots in a bin in the south end of our basement, and they all shriveled up to nothing within a couple of months. I've since done a bit of reading on root-cellaring and discovered that you actually need 90% to 95% humidity in your root cellar! Wow!
The north end of our house - under the kitchen - is just a crawl space with a dirt floor, and I think it may actually be ideal for root cellaring if only there were better access to it. The further north you crawl, the cooler it gets - going right down to very cold in mid winter. And it's also extremely humid in there because of the dirt floor. But it's not very accessible. It's really dirty to be crawling around in there - not something I'd want to have to do when I need veggies. I've actually seriously considered cutting a trap door in the kitchen floor - but I know that Melissa won't go for it for one thing.
So on to Plan B.
I've been doing more reading on root cellaring, and it seems that a popular technique to use with carrots in particular is to pack them in wet sand or sawdust. So a quick trip to Canadian Tire and I came back with 2 bags of sand box sand. Off to the market (at the end of the street) and I picked up 3 x 10 lb bags of carrots for 10 bucks! Nice!
So I spent about a half hour going through the carrots yesterday, cutting off any remnants of the greenery and tossing them into a bin. I took the bin to the basement along with a big cardboard box and the 2 bags of sand. I set the box onto a piece of wood in the same corner where I had the bins of carrots a few years ago. I did this on purpose because I want to see if the sand will make the difference - all other factors being equal. I'm figuring I may have to add water to the sand over the course of the winter, but we shall see how it goes.
Basically all I did was put in a layer of carrots, then cover with sand and shake the box to shake it all into place. I repeated this 5 or 6 times until the box was full. I'll go down in a bit to measure the box for posterity's sake. It came to about 4/5 full.
If this works then I'll step it up next near and try to figure out a way to store potatoes. Though I'm thinking wet sand may not work so well for them - as they will likely start growing.