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Yep, I know what you mean Mac, I grow veg in my garden too. Luckily It's fairly secluded but the thought had occurred to me too. It would be next to impossible to safeguard an allotment. I suppose the answer is to start looking towards getting out of town where the Chavs are less likely to come looking. And I guess it makes it all the more sensible to start stashing a few weeks food in a safe place (or places) and not tell anyone about it. I have identified a place I can go to if things really kick off and we have to leave the house, it's out of town, reasonably secure and a good bolt hole at least to lie low for a little while if need be. I haven't done so yet but I will be starting to build a small food and equipment cache there over the next few months. I agree with you about Jacks sensible attitude to prepping, it's easy to go off the deep end and get a bit paranoid! I just intend to do a little bit each month, I've allocated a few quid each month to buying supplies and equipment and soon enough we'll have what we need. I already feel much happier for having done the little that I have.
And you're right - there is something very nurturing about a fire beyond the heat it gives.
Cheers - Jon

Hi Jon,

I've just listened to Jacks podcast on 9 methods for storing food. I don't think he mentioned clamping, have you tried it? If not, all you need is a box (wooden or metal) part fill it with sand put root veg in there put more sand on top and keep layering up. My beetroots are still as good as the day i picked them 5 months ago, they don't last a week in the fridge!!

Have you seen any good programs on tv based on survival skills etc? I watched a program called "it's not easy being green" which had loads of great ideas for self sufficient living.


Hey Mac,

I've heard of using sawdust for storing root vegetables but not sand.  Do different root veggies require different methods for long term storage, or will sand work for any type of root veggie?  I ask because sand would be much easier to aquire in quantity where I am (Missouri in the US).  Can you store potatoes & onions this way in particular?


Hi Shane,

I've always stored Beetroots and carrots in sand not sure about onions. My father in law stores potatoes in sand as well. Clamping in sand seems almost to defy the laws of science in that some veg will store longer than i imagined possible!

If you want to store onions longer have you tried growing Sturon Onions i've found this variety outlast many others. If you want to save seed try shallotts, if you don't know much about them and want to know more let me know!

I think my advice is give it a go with a couple of onions, get a small wooden metal box and sand and sit back and wait!

I found this online, not sure about the bit where it states "Clamps are probably not the best method for storing the smaller amounts", as i only store 15 beetroots & 30 carrots per year. The below method is slightly different to mine as i just have a metal box filled with layers of sand and veg stored in a cool, dark place.

"Storing Root Vegetable Crops in a Clamp
In the days when people had large families and often survived by what they grew it was common to store root crops such as potatoes, carrots, Swedes, beetroot and celeriac in clamps. Clamps are probably not the best method for storing the smaller amounts required by a small family or couple.

The first thing to ensure is that the crop will be kept out of standing water. Choose a dry spot in the plot and then dig a trench around the storage area. This will help drain any water and provides soil you will need later.

Next place a layer of straw, bracken or even shredded paper on the ground and then place a layer of your crop down. With carrots, you could try a circular pattern, thick end to the outside, then place another layer of your packing material or sand to level up. Carry on adding layers to form a cone shape. On the outside of the clamp, place six to eight inches of straw and make a little straw spike at the top. This will allow excess moisture to escape,

The soil you removed from your drainage trench can then be used to cover the clamp."


Thanks very much Mac.

No I don't know much about the various types of onions.  The root vegetables are not something I've spent much time trying to grow.  Where I live we only have a few inches of top soil so anything grown that has an edible root has to be in a raised bed, mound etc.  I'm going to design & implement some raised beds for my garden over the next couple of years & I'd like to give some of the root vegetables a try.  Guess I'm studying for the future, that's why I ask.

Thanks again for your time.



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