First major root cellared crop of the 2010 harvest has finally bit the dust: the allium family. Kept fine, we simply consumed more than we produced. I had cellared Copra & Red Long of Tropea onions, shallots, a garlic of unknown variety [purply, strong cultivar], and Giant of Musselburgh and Pandora leeks. The onions, shallots and garlic stored just fine a few layers deep in a shallow box. The leeks I dug up soil-and-all and plopped them into a plastic pail. I’ll store both the same way next year, as perishability was not my problem, eat-too-many was my problem. Solution: grow more. In fact, had they simply grown to even a medium size last year, we likely would have been good for another couple months – but they were all pretty small. So I suppose that really leaves me with two solutions: grow more, or grow them bigger…somehow.
Sadly, the next major crop to fall from inventory will be our potatoes. Hence my recent interest in local grains. Still, they’ll make it to mid-February, and may even see the light of March – the month where robust herbs and the allium family start to show the first green of the year around here.
Make no mistake, this story is in fact a happy one. Last I checked, it’s February next week. So in year one of root cellaring our garden veg, with a good portion of the gardens yet to be productive, we’re going to make it to spring. That’s a 25-meter-diet of organically raised veg requiring negligible cash-output stored passively for months with zero energy input costs. That’s pretty darn cool.
Some interesting math: Our lot size is 115x48ft. 5520 sq ft. There are 43560 sq ft to an acre, which puts our city lot at 12.7% of an acre – extremely close to 1/8th. Take out about 1300 sq feet for the footprints of our home and garage, and we’re left with about 9% of an acre, or less than 1/10th. Can we produce enough fruit and veg for our family of 5, year round, on that little land? Getting closer every year, and I’m confident it can be done.