Monday, April 20, 2009

Garbage can root cellar

I know that many of my readers dream, and some have solid plans, of living off grid someday and thought this information may be useful to you. It's cheap and it will help you keep your food storage in good order. This plan is great for the do it yourself 'er and would be great weekend project.

Click on the picture for a better view.

Consider burying a galvanized garbage can in the ground to create your own "root cellar." The root cellar keeps potatoes, carrots, beets, turnips, and apples through the winter. Bury the can upright with 4 in. or so of the top protruding above ground level.

Place the garbage can on a well-drained site, and make a ditch so surface water will be diverted and not run into the container. Make sure the can has a good lid, and cover the lid with straw. Over the straw put a waterproof cover of canvas or plastic.

Put veggies and fruits in perforated polyethylene bags. Root crops like beets, carrots, and turnips should not be put into storage until late fall. Don't store carrots near apples because the apples give off gases that make the carrots bitter. Avoid bruising veggies to prevent rot. Also, I don't recommend sweet potatoes for the "root cellar" because the dampness causes them to decay.

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This is Bullseye...OUT !!!


Catman said...

Great idea! I'd coat the exterior of the can with something like Henry Wet Patch or similar to help it stand up to multiple years of use.

HermitJim said...

Pretty good idea...may have to try it when I get to the country! Thanks....

Bitmap said...

Don't forget that old refrigerator or freezer that just quit working. It can do the same job. Just make sure that if it has a latch you disable it.

One problem with these is ants and bugs. If you live in fire ant country then you may have a big problem. I've pulled potatoes right out of my garden that the fire ants worked over and they came out of the ground looking like sponges.

Sprinkling food grade DE in the container and on the veggies can help, but is more effective in dry climates.

TEAM HALL said...

I'm liking that! I should have enough food to feed 2 armies with the garden this year. I'm also going to try carrots in sand in my freebie buckets...see how they keep over the winter.

John Wesley said...

I agree that this is a pretty cool idea.

As for fire ants, I've read that they don't like molasses, though I don't know what is the best form for it--liquid or powdered. I know that a couple tablespoons per gallon of water makes a good solution for mixing with soil to encourage growth of beneficial bacteria.


erniesjourney said...

Excellent - thx Bull! I will be posting soon on a really dorky thing we did with a root cellar LOL!

Bullseye said...

Thank you all for your great comments and suggestions. You all have some really good ideas.