Root Cellaring: A Complete Unit Study
- Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Make the building and organizing of your root cellar a fun event. Perhaps you want to plan what you'll put in your root cellar before you decide to build it. Gather recipes that you and your family enjoy in the winter and find out what fruits or vegetables you'll need. Look through seed catalogs and find vegetables that store well. Try a few fun varieties like the purple carrot. Have fun at garage sales and flea markets, looking for wooden crates and baskets for storage.
God gave us everything we need to eat when He created the world. Copy these verses in your notebook to remind yourself of God's sovereignty.
"And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day." Genesis 1:29-31
"He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth . . ." Psalm 104:14
Storing our food is a useful idea. However, we must be careful. God wants us to be wise in how we think about and store our food. Include this verse in your notebook as a reminder to be a good steward.
"And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I d I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?" Luke 12:16-24
Can you find more verses?
Unfortunately there are only a few books out there that teach about root cellars. One of my favorites is Root Cellaring by Mike and Nancy Bubel. This book tells all about the natural cold storage of fruits and vegetables. The pencil-drawings and photographs of root cellars are sure to spark your own building plans. Also try Build Your Own Underground Root Cellar by Phyllis Hobson and Diary of an Early American Boy: Noah Blake 1805 by Eric Sloane.
Some helpful Web sites include:
- http://www.organicgardening.com (Type "root cellar" into their search engine)
- Part of planning a root cellar is planning your garden. Begin by making a list of the vegetables and fruits you want to include in your root cellar. Find out what each vegetable needs to promote healthy growth. Most vegetables can be planted several times or planted in the same area another vegetable was harvested from. For example, the nitrogen left in the soil from peas and beans is beneficial to cabbages and kale. Parsnips and brussels sprouts have the best flavor after a light frost. Each vegetable has its own needs, and each has a peak harvesting period.
- Don't forget the flowers during the growing season! Flowers? Yep. If you are growing cucumber, pumpkins, or strawberries, you'll need bees to pollinate. Plant nectar-producing flowers like borage, sunflowers, and clover around them. Chrysanthemums help reduce nematodes, especially when planted with tomatoes. Geraniums are known to deter cabbageworms, corn earworms, and Japanese beetles. What a wonderful way for God to take care of our vegetables and give us a thing of beauty at the same time!
- Once you've harvested, you'll have to plan where to store your vegetables in your root cellar. For example, you'll want to keep your apples and potatoes away from each other as the apples give off a gas which encourages potatoes to sprout.
- You can also study why the lower temperatures and higher humidity of a root cellar preserves fruits and vegetables. What happens if the food gets too cold or hot, or too wet or dry?
- Although root cellars are for fruits and vegetables, are there methods that can be used to preserve other foods? Are there some foods that don't require any preservation?
Do some research to see if you can learn about different food preservation and storage techniques that have been used throughout history.
There is a little bit of lingo that goes along with root cellars. Do you know some of these words? Biodiversity, interplant, decay, mulch, ventilation, compost, humidity, bushel, frost, circulation, condensation, ripe, temperature.
God takes care of all our needs. Springtime and harvest, summer and winter.
Paula Miller is a children's author, freelance writer, and homeschooling mom. She and her husband Travis live in south central Minnesota with their 4 sons. You can read more about Paula's Faces in History Series for children 7 and up by visiting www.paulajmiller.com
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