Root Cellars Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Root Cellars

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If you have a large garden, or even an estate, you will probably have a vegetable garden, or perhaps you've got an allotment, with lots of fruit trees and bushes. Growing your own stuff is a very rewarding thing, but you may have a problem when it comes to storing the produce.

Some people believe that freezers are a great invention. But consider the problems you will face if there is a power cut. After a long power cut, the stored produce turns to mush and goes mouldy, instead, a root cellar is the perfect alternative.

Dig a biggish hole in the ground and build a room inside the hole. Remember that the floor must be left as a dirt floor. Cover the whole thing with the dug up earth and - hey presto - you have a root cellar. If you remembered to put in a door in one end, you can now start using it to store your produce.

The dirt floor will make sure the humidity stays high, and the earth insulation will keep the cellar cool, thus preserving the produce. Remember that high humidity will instantly start working on the door and any shelves you make: this can be fatal to inferior wood products like chipwood, so use wood with a high content of natural preservatives. In the words of Monty Python, 'Number one... the larch'.

Root cellars give you far more space that a freezer. You do not have to wait for food to thaw, and not freezing it will preserve the taste.

As an added bonus the root cellar can be used as a convenient guest room for people you're not terribly fond of.

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