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This book is a vast resource of information about root cellars, how to build them, and how to use them. The Bubels contend that even city apartments dwellers can arrange some sort of cold food storage area with a little imagination and a few suggestions from those who have done it before. The book has 6 parts: choosing good storage vegetable varieties, harvesting for keeping quality, storing crops in the root cellar, root cellar ideas for those who don't currently have a root cellar, root cellaring experiences, and recipes. At the end of the book is a bibliography for further reading, a list of plant sources, and an index. The book is amply illustrated with diagrams and black-and-white photographs.

I didn't expect to find much in this book that I haven't read elsewhere. Since my house didn't come with a root cellar, I wasn't very optimistic about finding anything in the book that I could use. Fortunately, I was way off-base in these assumptions. I was amazed at the variety and detail of information that the Bubels provide. The sections on choosing seed varieties and determining when to harvest are extremely useful, even if you're only going to put your harvest in the refrigerator. They also explain the different types of storage conditions required for different crops- -some like it cool and moist, and others warmer and dry. But what gave me real hope was all the ideas about un-root cellars that people have constructed and made good use of for storing vegetables. Their examples include everything from insolated window baskets for apartment dwellers to buried package trucks. One idea that might work well for my situation at least for the time being is a buried refrigerator. Down the line, if I have extra time on my hands, I could trade up for a real dug root cellar, following the plans in the book. If you're a gardener, you'll find something of use for sure in this book.
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on September 24, 2002
This is a great book for (food) gardeners and for people who have some land available to them. Although there are suggestions for "nooks and crannies" in your house, most of those ideas sound like ideas for older (draftier) homes.
The suggestions for building your own working root cellar are clear, with illustrations to help you plan. There are lists of things that keep well and under what conditions to keep them. The authors even list certain varieties of (for instance) apples that keep better than others. There's a month-by-month plan of what could be coming out of your garden, going into the root cellar, and what could be canned or frozen. If you have a large garden, this is an incredibly useful book.
However, those of us with smaller modern homes, smaller yards, and smaller, less heavily-producing gardens will be a little disappointed. As I read this, I came to the conclusion that it would be pretty darned difficult to have a root cellar on our property, because we don't have a useable cool north corner to put one in. Not impossible, mind you, it would just take a lot more effort, planning, and money to build it.
I recommend this book highly for people who raise substantial amounts of their own produce. This book will really extend your harvest. With imagination and a little time and effort, you can have a root cellar that keeps your family in fresh food you grew all year long.
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on January 17, 1999
We're fortunate to have bought a property with a well designed root cellar already in place. Until I read this book, I had no idea how a root cellar 'worked'. This book suggests what foods are best for root cellaring, how long to expect to store them, and what temperatures should be maintained. Had I not read this book I would have wasted time and enery, and lost the nutrients in some foods by canning them rather than root cellaring them. A city dweller friend of mine borrowed my book and has decided to buy it. There are variety of good root cellar plans complete with illustrations and drawings for nearly any situation.
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on January 8, 2001
Outstanding book! The amount of information included makes this book well worth its price. The month-to-month calendar of what one can eat from their root cellar is especially helpful. The pictures, and descriptions, of several existing root cellars in various parts of the country was especially appreciated, and will definitely be utilized when I build my own root cellar. If you are interested in being self-sufficient, this book will be of great assistance.
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on October 3, 1999
A must buy for country-wise, self sufficient individuals. I initially borrowed it from the library, but it's worth the expense. Stretch your garden further than ever with this in-depth gem of a book.
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on February 28, 2006
No matter what your location or how much space you have, the Bubels are likely to have a root cellar option that will work for you. I've got the first edition, but I'm sure the second edition is just as good if not better. Detailed explanations of how to store vegetables and fruits without electricity with specific temperature and humidity recommendations for each variety. Many different cold storage designs. Good photos and diagrams. Well worth the money.
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on June 28, 2002
This book is an excellent guide if you're interested in self-sufficiency. It gives the exact storage recommendations for a good number of fruits and vegetables, including which fruits and vegetables shouldn't be stored too close together.
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on August 24, 2005
The book goes into great detail about what plants will thrive in root gardens. A small ammount of technical details: temperature, planting months, germination techniques are presented. As with many books of this genre (natural/organic in my view), repeating the same idea is prevalent. Many chapters cover the same topics as to which plants will thrive. A more compact book would suit the same purpose and reduce the number of pages. The author tries to cover a wide geographic area in the reviews, but most are tailored to specifice areas of the north where they have had experience (I did not see to much about the south and southwest). The last few chapter involve constructing your own root cellar. Many ideas and techniques for root cellar construciton are presented, but are no way an exhaustive exploration of all possibilities. The plans for construction give the spark for which you will have to provide the rest.
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There is tremendous value to this book because you learn how to prolong the life of produce, purchased or otherwise, even if you don't have a root cellar. While the gardening and storage tips are great, I don't have unheated spaces in my house or even a basement, to say nothing of a root cellar, but as I read, I learned great storage tips that would work in my normal modern house and mistakes I was making that were causing my produce to spoil sooner than it should. I was buying those green bags in an effort to make things last longer, but I learned some simple--and free--ways to store items that work as well or better.

For example, some produce lasts longest in the fridge with high humidity, so group those items together in one crisper drawer and set the humidity higher (if you have that ability), or add a dampened towel to that drawer. Apples and potatoes should never be stored near one another. Squash likes it warmer (i.e. not in the fridge) and is happy in the mudroom. Apples like it cold and can be stored in a garage if, like me, you bought a case at a discount. My laser thermometer has allowed me to check the temperature of various places so the apples are cold but won't freeze. Mastercool MSC52224A Infrared Thermometer in Case with FREE MSC52220 Analog Thermometer

There are dozens of tips in this book about every kind of storable produce and while it's great if you have lots of homegrown items and can manage the solutions they offer, the information also really helps those of us who buy our produce and have limited options for storage. We also want things to last as long as possible. I learned a lot from this book and don't need the green bags anymore.
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on February 10, 2012
Please put this in your library soon! The authors have written a priceless book that not only provides numerous examples of root cellars, but excellent, easy-to-red diagrams and instructions on how to build them. Everything from in-the-row, using holes, barrels, stacks to much more elaborate basement cellars and those separate from the home and others are covered in detail. They take into account that many have limited funds and offer alternatives and tips on recycling materials for use to keep costs lower. They also give vital info on exactly how to use your cellar and what has worked for them. There is even a section on different varieties of fruits/vegetables, which ones store well, which they have grown and how to get the most from your garden by timing it so that your produce is ready to store at the appropriate time so that it lasts the best. If you are a "Prepper" you will find this one of your most important books on storing fresh food for your family to have in the winter. If you aren't a "Prepper", you will still appreciate the fact that you will be saving electricity this way and providing your family with home-grown, nutritious fruits and vegetables without having to depend on the "big-box" stores. You also will be saving the fuel to go to the stores in the winter to get those heavily sprayed, gassed and imported from Lord-knows-where foods. This is a book that everyone will appreciate and I highly recommend it.(and please don't yell/comment at the 4 stars, I deliberately did it because many don't even read 5 star reviews, but this certainly deserves it)
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