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.
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!