The Root Cellar has Legs!


There is something going on in my root cellar…growing rather.  I was casually going to get a potato that I so lovingly stored last fall, out of the five gallon bucket that held them nestled in soft straw….I opened the lid and that came out!  All I wanted was some nice fried potatoes with green peppers and onions, their mouth watering scent waking up the house…but I got some kind of sea monster instead.

Nearly three feet long!

Nearly three feet long!

Now, this could be my fault (it rarely is), for I probably should not have skimmed the book on root cellaring.  I started out reading it but as it went on and on speaking of ventilations and temperatures and humidity levels for a hundred different items…well, pretty soon it just started saying blah, blah, blah.  As my eyes glazed over, I closed the book and figured I pretty well had it figured out.

My first problem is that my root cellar is probably not a root cellar,  more like a…basement.  It is dark and dank with spidery corners and a nice concave that was used to hold coal after it came down the coal chute into the basement nearly one hundred years ago and it looks like a root cellar, therefore it must be.  However, my trusty thermometer states that it is precisely ten degrees cooler down there than upstairs at all times.  That makes it a balmy sixty degrees right now.

The squash are happy as pie.  (mmm, pie) They may as well be sitting in the soil soaking their faces in the sun in September; they truly do not know that they are in the basement.  Except for the pumpkin I drop-kicked while tripping over it in the dark one time, all the other squashes are firm and ready to eat.  The potatoes are rioting and seeking a new garden.

My second problem may have been the straw that I packed them in.  The onions in their respective five gallon bucket are waterlogged and attempting desperately to find soil or to just annoy me because I cannot find a firm onion.  The straw might have been slightly damp when I packed the onions and potatoes into their bins last fall.  But I was in a dreadful hurry and was too lazy to dry the straw first.  I very well may have set up ideal Spring conditions in my basement.  Sixty degrees, thinks they’re underground, a bit of moisture.


The carrots were supposed to be in damp soil (I remember that chapter), and they are growing little hairy legs too.  I suppose that may be normal for January carrots?

I am a bit too chicken to open the lid to the beets.

Lastly, what is curing?  I probably shouldn’t have skimmed that chapter.  I think it means to let them sit out for two weeks accumulating cat hair and being in my way, but I am not sure.  I didn’t cure them though so perhaps that was the problem.  Your wisdom on this matter or just poking fun at me is welcome in your responses.

And as always, this year I will do better!