Goods, Bad and the Ugly

We felt pretty lucky heading into this winter season with lots of stores (goods) in our above ground root closet. It is a stick frame place inside our back barn that is surrounded by hay bales. It works great … to a point!

We kept it simple this year and decided to store only squash, leeks and potatoes. The squash and potatoes are in bins and the leeks are in light soil with roots and greens intact.

Well … the leeks are doing great. Onions, btw, didn’t make it into the closet. They are still on the green house benches where they were curing. They have frozen and thawed and froze again, but they currently are very edible! Potatoes are a disaster. We used to keep them in our bedroom in the winter, and they often sprouted early, but this plan didn’t work at all. Just mush. The negative temperatures got the best of us. Today, for example, we woke up to -7. Don’t get me started on windchill … that just makes it feel worse! Same with the acorn squash 😦  Some of the Delicata seems like it might be OK, but we’ll see. So, a lot of work growing stuff and storing it in the closet just to make compost. Arrrgh.

We know that all we need to do is put a tiny heat source in there, like a light bulb or a heat tape, but the extension cord to get it in there scares us completely. So our fear of fire has kept us from proactively keeping the space from freezing. Last year we tried putting warm water bottles in there (literally soda bottles filled with hot water), and I think it helped, but that nightly chore was rigorous (no door … take down some bales, remove a panel, restore bales) and one missed night was the end of it. Since we travel during winter, there was inevitably that one night.

OK, next year, we try again. Maybe it is back to the bedroom. Or, maybe we don’t store anything and pack ourselves off to Florida!

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