Back to our roots

By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  February 13, 2013

• According to, a shovel, some straw, a trash can, and a tarp can be employed to fashion a mini-root-cellar of sorts: choose a dry spot in your backyard; dig a hole deep enough for the can; fill the can with roots such as potatoes, carrots, parsnips, kohlrabi, turnips, rutabagas and beets; cap it; cover with straw and tarp; and voila! notes that barrels and clay drainpipes could serve similar purposes.

Right around now, when the ground is hard as rock and abundant harvests exist only in the realm of imagination, you might be cursing your lack of root-cellaring foresight. Never fear, there's always next season. In the meantime, read up. These books are particularly comprehensive:

Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits and Vegetables, by Mike and Nancy Bubel (Storey Publishing, 1991)

Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables From Your Home Garden All Year Long by Eliot Coleman (Chelsea Green Publishing, 1999)

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