Posted by & filed under Permaculture.

Fall Season, Time to Prepare Sustainable Living Storage for your Harvest of fresh organic gardening bounty.

Harvest can be seen in the Garden and in the Fields. The time is getting closer and now we prepare for that harvest as well as storage of the fruits of your labor. As with any fruits and vegetables, there are preparations to be make to keep them fresh and great tasting without the pitfalls of storing items together that will make the entire cellar reek and your produce taste bitter.

What can be the problems you ask?

  • Temperature requirements for different crops for optimum shelf life.
  • Humidity problems that cause rot
  • Repulsive odors that ruin the palatability of the food
  • Too much light that starts produce sprouting
  • Produce containers that fall apart or leech taste and odor into food
  • Shelving that falls over and spills contents on the floor
  • Rodents and other cellar raiders (human?) that may want some of your goodies

There are alternatives to below ground cellars, but I am going to refer you to an article by Debbie Moors, a fellow Coloradan who wrote a great article titled “Above and Beyond, Root Cellar Alternatives. She is a great source of information and I appreciate her roots of information regarding cellars! (yes, pun intended)

Root Cellers were named that in the beginning due to their ability to keep root vegetables healthy and lasting for long periods of time once harvested. That was of course if they were set up carefully and that the vegetables were properly stored.

As you will discover, not every climate is perfect for a cellar. If the water table where you live does not allow for a basement, due to flooding, that is not the best place to dig a root cellar. Even if you live in a relatively dry climate, but you live close to a wetlands or get occasional flooding, that is also not a great place to dig a root cellar!

No matter where you live thought,to build the sustainable living lifestyle, there will always be  non-digging root cellars that you can prepare and build yourself that will accomplish the same thing. I am only going to talk about one type, because I do not like to work that hard.

With some ingenuity, and a little bit of money or a bit of time, you can create your own above ground root cellar.
One of the easiest solutions is to purchase an old metal shipping container that use to be used on either trains or ocean ships. This will be fast and relatively easy. If you do not have the skills, maybe you can barter or “trade” some of your food for the work.

To build your sustainable living storage area,  follow the steps below:

  • Locate where you will be placing your shipping container.
  • Level the site, plus add 4 feet in front of the container to allow for ease of access
  • Set the container on site
  • Install power and low level light ( I prefer LED’s) I do not like flourescents due to the mercury content in case one accidentally breaks.
  • Install ventilation ports that are properly screened to prevent rodent incursion
  • Insulate the outside of the container by stacking bales of straw around the container, then add dirt and compost and allow the grass to grow. You can leave the top uncovered depending upon your climate. I prefer to cover the top, ensuring that there is ventilation and a light source that come in from above or from the side as well. It does not have to be much, just enough for light to come in and proper ventilation.
  • Build sturdy shelved inside the container, and if you want a cooler or warmer storage climate, as well as humidity, you may do so by adding a wall and preparing that section also.

The Options are pretty much endless. Create the storage that you need, but make sure to follow up on your plan, and build to meet your needs.

There is abundance everywhere we see, our neighbors, our children the earth as a whole is all of our responsibility.  Choose wisely the words you speak today, share abundance in every conversation today.

One great way to share in abundance, is to create a Garden that saves time and increases the health of the land that are living on and taking care of.

Turning Your Dreams into the Life of Your Dreams

Chris Downs, the Caretaker

Founder and Ambassador of Natural News and Sustainable Living on How to Live on