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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Root Cellar

An interesting story of building a root cellar!
http://historicaltextarchive.com/sections.php?op=viewarticle&artid=741

Root cellars are for keeping food supplies at a low temperature and steady humidity to keep from freezing during the winter, and keeping food supplies cool during the summer months. They take advantage of the insulating power of dirt. A root cellar is often in a basement of a house or dug as a pit or into the side of a hill. A dirt floor helped keep humidity right. Typically, a variety of vegetables would be placed in the root cellar in the autumn, after the harvesting of the vegetable gardens had been completed.

http://www.floydcountyinview.com/rcbasics.html#storage
Cold and Moist areas usually stored potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips, rutabagas, greens, cabbage

Dry and cool is where you stored garlic, onions, pumpkins, winter squash, sweet potatoes, green tomatoes

Separate cellars stored fruits like apples, oranges, pears.
http://www.wisebread.com/going-back-to-the-root-cellar
http://www.ehow.com/how_2085550_make-basement-root-cellar.html

I found some photos on the Internet of old root cellars

















And some not-so-old root cellars that are used today.




Root Cellar
by Theodore Roethke

Nothing would sleep in that cellar, dank as a ditch,
Bulbs broke out of boxes hunting for chinks in the dark,
Shoots dangled and drooped,
Lolling obscenely from mildewed crates,
Hung down long yellow evil necks, like tropical snakes.
And what a congress of stinks!
Roots ripe as old bait,
Pulpy stems, rank, silo-rich,
Leaf-mold, manure, lime, piled against slippery planks.
Nothing would give up life:
Even the dirt kept breathing a small breath.

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