Monday, March 5, 2018

Sorting in the Root Cellar

Last Saturday was time to do one of our routine sorting jobs in the root cellar.  We knew it was needed since our 30+ degree weather is causing the temp in the cellar to rise degree by degree.  Not good for keeping the environment cool for as long into spring as we can.

Papa Pea hit on a great idea for trying to keep the cellar a little cooler and at the same time add moisture/humidity which we're usually lacking in our cellar.


He filled pails with snow which we carried down.  I thought we were just going to let the pails full of the snow sit on the gravel floor, but as he explained, if we dumped the snow onto the ground, it would still give off cold air, the melted snow would seep down into the gravel (and ground) and add some needed moisture.


I wanted to build little snow people to play among the apples, beets, potatoes, etc., but for some reason he didn't want to take the time to do that.  (He's such a spoil sport.)


Sorting the apples was first on the agenda.  Yes, we did find quite a few that had started to spoil, but still have several remaining boxes of them that look really good.


We even have a few of the sweeter eating apples left (the rest are for cooking/baking) like these we brought into the kitchen.  They've developed a few blemishes but are still firm.  We have maybe twenty more of them left.  (Funny how the tastier apples are always the first to disappear.)

Nearly everything else in the cellar looked good considering the time of year.  


The cabbages we stored hanging from their roots have lasted longer than with any other method we've tried.  The remaining green ones are looking better than the red.  (Drat.  I prefer red cabbage.)  The outer leaves are wrinkled and soft and not nice, but the bulk of the heads of the green cabbages are still firm.  The red ones, not so much.  Most of them are on their way to the poultry.

We did pull out and toss the pail of kohlrabi we thought we would cook up and feed to the poultry over winter.  Even though Papa Pea simmered the chunked up kohlrabi over night on the stove in the garage, the . . . um, uh, . . . aroma . . . okay, AWFUL SMELL was too much for us to tolerate.  I guess an old kohlrabi is not a good kohlrabi.

It will be interesting to see how long the clumps of snow last in the root cellar.  We strive to keep the temperature about 35-37 degrees, but it's already in the low 40s.  Another sign spring really is approaching.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

The snow idea and hanging the cabbage upside down is BRILLANT!!! You guys are amazing! And, as always, thanks for sharing your tips. Lots of hugs.-M

Mama Pea said...

M - No, not amazing (but thank you!). We're just stubborn enough to keep trying things until we find what works in our particular situation. (Now if I just had a live-in cook, and a maid, too, I'd have so much more time for "experiments!") ;o}

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

What an incredibly brilliant idea!! Well done you two! :) And as we just purchased a "new" dwelling on Friday - I am hoping with the bit of land that comes with it I will, one day, be just as self sufficient as you! All in good time me thinks. We are leaving the big city for the quiet of the country!

wisps of words said...

Awwww, little snow people would have looked sooooo cute! ,-)

You are so lucky to have a dry root cellar. Here, we are on rock. And all run off water, goes around and "through" the cellar. It was built with a edge drain and sump pump, which works. But we can not use the cellar.

We knew it would be this way, but we wanted this area, across from a little woods. So.... give and take.

wisps of words said...

Thinking that sounds awful. LOL But it is really livable and we have been here 50 years.

Another house, "a ways down", has a running spring coming up in its cellar. So the sump pump pumps it out, and into the road to drain. Looks "interesting" in spring.

We learn to live with and around, the area conditions. :-) It is a city of springs.

Athanasia said...

Hmmm, we've never saved kohlrabi. I see that as one of those vegetables to enjoy fresh from the garden in season and then look forward to the rest of the year. The smaller ones we just slice and eat fresh with dip; bigger tougher ones get cooked in butter then add a white sauce and peas. Usually Thanksgiving is the last time we eat them.

I saw them at the grocer last week and they wanted 3 something for a bunch of 3 globes. That is, wow, overpriced? Who knows how long they have been sitting there, also.

Mama Pea said...

MrsDM - OMGosh, OMGosh! You are really doing it! Congratulations on the big move ahead. Let the fun and self-sufficiency begin. What an accomplishment you have made! Hip-hip-hooray!

Mama Pea said...

wisps of words - You speak the truth in that no place is perfect. We all make our choices according to our needs and desires and then make the best of it we can. Aren't we both lucky to be living where we want despite the little "quirks?"

Mama Pea said...

Athanasia - I've never even cooked kohlrabi fresh out of the garden! The way we enjoy it is as you mentioned . . . fresh, sliced with dip.

I would be very cautious in purchasing ones in the store this time of year. They might be just like the ones we were trying to cook for the poultry!

I'll not grow them again for anything other than our fresh, raw eating!

Kristina said...

I keep dreaming of my root cellar. I'm just glad the sweet potatoes lasted this long in the house, and we have just a few more.

Lisa said...

You always find such delight in seemingly mundane chores!!! Little snow peoples playing among the fruits and vegetables sound utterly delightful! Catching up a little today..... the spaghetti recipe looked yummy, particularly using the spinach linquine noodles.... the kitchen chairs have clearly been lovingly taken care of for 100+ years and is a testament to 'they sure don't make things like they used to'!! And your raised beds..... hard to believe such beauty is beneath the snow right now. Look forward to seeing them in full garden growth this summer! :)

tpals said...

You must be doing something right for the apples to keep so well. (Can you sneak back down to build the mini-snowpeople?)

Susan said...

I can't believe how well your apples stored! They look delicious! I am going to mention your cabbage-storing-method to my neighbor. It's brilliant!!!

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - At least you can grow sweet potatoes in your zone! Hmmmm, I wonder if I could succeed with them if I planted a short row of them and covered them with some kind of a mini-greenhouse/grow tunnel?

Your root cellar will come, friend. It's just that there are so many priorities that come first!

Mama Pea said...

Lisa - Such a supportive person you are!

When I look out on my gardening area right now, it's like a different world from the way it looks in the summer. Talk about having different seasons!

Mama Pea said...

tpals - At first I couldn't figure out why we have so many apples still at this time of year, but then I realized that I didn't make any applesauce from this crop. I (apparently) over-did the applesauce making the year before and we still have a good supply from then.

Wouldn't it have been fun to sneak down and make those snow people. Then have Papa Pea go to the root cellar to get something and wait for his surprise?! Hee-hee.

Mama Pea said...

Susan - Yep, really good luck with the apples this year. Now, how 'bout some apple pie? And apple pie. And more apple pie. (There are worse things!)

When I cut the old root off the heads of cabbages, it's like wood. We've been burning them in the wood stove in the garage 'cause I don't think they would ever decompose in the compost heap!

Athanasia said...

I'm going to try the hanging cabbage heads next season.

Mama Pea said...

Athanasia - I hope it works for you! It's sure worth a try . . .

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

Thank you Mama Pea! It is going to be a HUGE learning curve for this city gal.

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,
What a great idea with bringing snow in to your cellar. Oh man......I would of made a few characters with the snow and veggies. Papa Pea needs to stop being a spoiled sport. HA!!!!!!!! Maybe he was afraid one of snow characters would scare him when he went in the cellar by himself.....LOL!!!!

I must remember to store cabbage by their roots. Maybe this year I'll have actual full cabbage heads.

Hugs,
Sandy

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - The little piles of snow didn't last very long, but that was no doubt the temp in the root cellar was above freezing. Oh well, I'm sure it did a little good.

Can't wait to see your gardening efforts this coming season!

Rain said...

Your apples look so great, are they all from your orchard? I would have made the snow people with you lol! :)

tasha moore said...
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