Over the past few years the gardens have been producing more and more vegetables. So, come fall we start to look for places to store the root crops for the winter.
Our main root crops are potatoes and carrots, which need a dark, cool space with a bit of humidity. We have been storing them in our water storage building under the stairs next to the water tank. The building is only 12’x12′ and the water tank is about 8′ in diameter, so there really isn’t much room for storage. And it is a bit of a squeeze to even get under the stairs. But it is insulated and the water tank helps to keep humidity in the air so they store fairly well there.
Last summer we had talked about extending the basement area of this building to allow for more root crop storage. But when the busy-ness of the summer eased off a bit we realized we could either finish harvesting the gardens or build the extended storage. We didn’t have time for both. So we harvested and stored things as best we could.
This year we planned it a bit better. We were able to borrow a backhoe from a friend. And Allan was able to dig the basement a little bit each day after the main work of the farm was done. It probably took him two weeks to dig the hole, but once he was done so were the Thursday markets and we had time for some construction. The weather wasn’t all that cooperative, though, and so the pressure was still on to clear off the garden before everything froze.
Thankfully, most of the potatoes had sold throughout the summer so we would only had to store seed potatoes and carrots.
Finally we had a day that was clear and dry. We also had the materials and our son, Ben. With three of us we set up an assembly line. I was kept busy on the saw cutting materials to be used. Ben and Allan were in the hole constructing the walls.
Because we were extending the basement we only had to build three walls and attach them to the existing basement.
It sounds easier than it is. Each wall had to be built flat on the ground. So once one was done it had to be set aside while the others were built. Once all three were built they had to be attached first to the building and then to each other. And they are heavy.
As we were attaching the last corner the sun was setting. The day was done and so were we. It had taken us about nine hours to construct the first part of the cold storage area. And we wouldn’t have been able to get that much done without Ben. We still have to finish the building, but because there are still vegetables out in the garden it will have to wait. And as we all know, winter is coming.