As I previously mentioned, my housemate grabbed this article on Saturday from the Seed Swap and was so inspired by it he made a root cellar in our yard. Turns out it’s fairly easy to do, and he told me it took him less than an hour. Granted, we had all the supplies on hand and he works as an archaeologist, which means he digs holes for a living. Still, the concept is very simple and the materials are not hard to come by. If you’re anything like me, having a visual aid definitely helps when learning something, so once I get home tonight I’ll take some pictures of it. I don’t have any pictures of the work-in-progress, but it’s pretty straightforward. I will also update throughout the winter.
Materials: trash can, shovel, tarp, straw, bushel baskets
1) Dig a hole slightly wider than your trash can, and dig it deep enough so the rim of the trash can sits on top of the dirt.
2) Put the trash can in the hole and tamp the dirt around the outside. (I don’t know about the rest of you, but I didn’t know what tamping was until pretty recently. All it means is that you pack in loose dirt with the handle of your shovel. VERY simple and VERY effective.)
3) Cover with about a foot of straw and cover the straw with a tarp.
4) Once you have your food, put it in bushel baskets and put the bushel baskets in the trash can underground. The dampness from the soil provides the humidity the food needs, and the warmth from the soil keeps the crops free from frost.
I’ll keep you updated once we start storing vegetables, and we’ll see how they last through the winter. If you can dig a hole (or have a friend who can dig you a hole), you can make a root cellar! If you have the space but your friends don’t, make one for yourself and one for them! Winter in Idaho doesn’t mean you can’t have garden produce all year long.
The second topic of this article is green tomatoes. I’ve heard almost everyone complain about the amount of green tomatoes they have because of our weather this year. Don’t despair!! There are a few things you can do with green tomatoes.
Eat them! This website is chock full of green tomato recipes, including well-known fried green tomatoes.
Pickle them! Here are some different methods to pickle and preserve your green tomatoes.
Or, if you prefer them red, this article from WikiHow tells you a few different methods on how to ripen them in your house. I’m planning to use the box method myself.
I’m going to add a little twist to this! Send me your green tomato stories. I’ll pick my favorite and the winner will get the book “Gardening for People (Who Think They Don’t Know How)” by Douglas Moon. I’ll accept answers for one week, until Wednesday, November 3rd at 5pm. Send those stories my way! firstname.lastname@example.org