A root cellar can prolong the life of your vegetables and a trash can style model is cheap and easy to do. Here's the nitty gritty...
🛠A trash can (galvanized steel) cellar can be placed into the ground. Dig hole. Line with gravel. Drill holes in can. Place can in hole leaving opening 4 inches above ground. Fill can with produce (vegetables) by type in layers, separate layers with straw. Top with lid. Cover lid with 1ft of straw. Cover straw with weighted tarp.
👌TIP: Equip your root cellar with a hygrometer and thermometer to track humidity and temperature. Check both daily.
To work properly, a root cellar should stay between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Harmful bacteria thrive in the warmth, so keeping your cellar cool helps crops stay fresh and safe for longer. A good root cellar is designed to borrow cold from the cool ground or soil, but it will also not freeze your produce in winter weather.
Humidity levels inside your cellar should be between 85 and 95% to prevent the cellar from losing moisture through evaporation and to keep produce from withering. If your cellar is above ground, you can achieve the right humidity level by simply having a dirt floor, since soil naturally has a good amount of moisture. If your cellar is below ground, you shouldn’t have to take special measures to maintain the proper humidity.
Since warm air rises, you’ll need to ensure proper ventilation to prevent moisture build-up, which can lead to moldy produce.
Light can cause freshly picked crops to continue sprouting. So, you’ll want to keep the cellar as dim as possible.
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