I usually store my carrots in my root cellar in a box of sawdust. However, my source for sawdust that doesn’t contain pressure treated or pressed/glued/laminated wood has moved. Any alternative suggestions? I have heard sand works, but I am hesitant because of tracking sand around and washing it down the garbage disposal. I have also heard peat moss can work. Any one have any suggestions, experience?
PS- ground freezes hard no matter the insulation, so leaving them in the ground isn’t an option for long.
I have a underground root cellar and I use large Tupperware bins filled with sand. I keep carrots, onions, beets and apples well into March. If the sand is dry, I don’t have problems with it sticking to the carrots or beets. I tried sawdust, but like the sand better. Sawdust is a good insulator, but I found that the sawdust tends to draw moisture out of vegetables. I would think peat would be even worse about moisture, plus that stuff would be tough to clean off the roots. Since you’re in Alaska, you may need that extra insulation. In that case, I would probably line the inside of the bin with R13 insulation, then use a large plastic bag or liner and fill it with sand.
Do either of you ever have mouse problems? They finished off my potatoes last year before I realized what was happening. Maybe digging through sand would deter them. What temperature is your root cellars?
I don’t have mice problems because my root cellar is completely underground with concrete walls, floor. and ceiling, and 24" of soil on top. There’s a cinder block hallway from my cellar and two steel insulated doors. My root cellar stays at 45F in February and 55F in August. I use 40 gallon Tupperware Bins with locking tops, so if mice got into the room they couldn’t get in the plastic bins.
Hmmm… So I need a backhoe & a good dangling carrot for my dear husband to build me a rootcellar. Oh, who’s kidding – the promise of a backhoe & he would dig me a hole to China! Maybe I should invest in the locking tupperware bins instead!
thanks for the advice (: Your place sounds like my version of heaven!
That is really good information to know about sand vs sawdust. I start out with damp sawdust and my carrots only get shrively around March (if there are any left). My “root cellar” is an area in my garage near the fresh air intake vent (read GIANT HOLE IN MY HOUSE) that I have sectioned off with 1.5inch insulation board. It is about 2ftW x 2ftH x 4ftL. It is more like a cold storage chest. I adjust the airflow based on the outside temp, keeping it about 45 from Oct to April. No mice or voles yet, but I think that has more to do with my cat. The insulating factor is a big one. There have been mornings when a front has come through and the water tray is frozen solid. The sawdust keeps the carrots cold, but not frozen.
Sometimes I wish I had a real root cellar, but my “lightly heated” garage seems to work well for pantry and root cellar items and is more convenient than where a root cellar would be (garage is attached to the kitchen)
I was able to “re-dampen” my sawdust this year and that seems be working (just pulled the carrots this past weekend)