This section is from the book "The Potato: A Compilation of Information from Every Available Source", by Eugene H. Grubb, W. S. Guilford. Also available from Amazon: The Potato: A Compilation Of Information From Every Available Source.
In places where cement is much more expensive than lumber, this building could be built by setting posts and making a frame wall.
The Colorado Agricultural College built a cellar sixty by eighty feet at a cost of about $1,150. Piled five feet deep and with the driveway filled this would hold about 19,200 bushels. It is estimated that a farmer could build a cellar of like capacity for a cash outlay of $900. They estimate the cost of a cellar at from 7 to 30 cents per hundredweight of potatoes stored - depending on the permanence of the structure.
Where large quantities of potatoes are to be handled, it is well to have a switch run to the cellar and load direct from the cellar to the car by use of a small engine and belt to carry the filled sacks.
Potatoes for seed in Europe are stored in crates, insuring more uniform conditions for each tuber.
Keeping potatoes in the South is a problem. It is very desirable to keep those grown in the spring for fall planting. In a Bulletin of the Florida Experiment Station, J. F. Mitchell says:
The method that has proved uniformly successful at the station has been to take a slat crate, place a layer of pine straw needles in the bottom, then a layer of potatoes, covering them with a layer of pine straw, and continue the process until the crate is filled. Finally, the crate is covered with a layer of pine straw and stored in the barn without further attention. On taking the potatoes out in the fall they have been found to be sound and fresh in appearance and there has been no difficulty as to their sprouting when planted. Fall planting at the station has just been com-' pleted. The potatoes cared for as above described were in prime condition; in fact, they were as good as, if not better than, seed potatoes shipped from the North.
Storing potatoes in oat straw proved a failure on account of the tendency of the potatoes to decay. Spreading the potatoes on a board floor was unsuccessful, as the potatoes turned green and shriveled, being then unfit for either shipping or planting. On trying a mixture of lime and dry-sand, in the proportion of one pint of lime to a bushel of sand, it was found that, while the potatoes did not decay, they were no longer viable, the lime apparently killing the eyes and thereby preventing them from sprouting successfully. Dry sand alone produced better results."
In "Bulletin No. 2 Volume 8," of the Commissioner of Agriculture of the State of Maine, is given the following description of a potato cellar built by Hon. A. W. Gilman, Foxcroft, Maine, the Commissioner:
This house and plan are recommended to any who intend to grow potatoes for a series of years. This building is located on a side hill, and is fifty feet long by thirty feet wide, and serves both as a storehouse for potatoes and for the housing of farm implements.
The bottom is concrete, the walls are of grout coated on the outside and inside with cement to prevent the moisture soaking through. They are eight feet high, eighteen inches wide at the bottom, ten inches at the top. The plates which are used for sills and set on these walls are chambered an inch and a half both on the outside and inside. These pieces are filled with cement to keep the cold air out. The sleepers on which the floor is laid are six inches square. These are boarded on top with a double floor with tar paper between, and single boarded underneath, thus giving a dead-air space of six inches. The rafters are nine feet long, coming up nearly perpendicular, giving more storage space. The second rafters are fifteen feet long, forming the roof.
The part that forms the cellar proper is thirty-eight feet long, the remaining twelve feet making a room for sorting and packing potatoes. The cellar is divided by two partitions, making three bins each ten feet wide. Each bin has trap doors in the centre of the floor covering that bin. Each trap is about five feet long by eighteen inches wide, with three feet between each trap.
The potato bins, each thirty-eight feet long, are partitioned off from the sorting room. Both sides of the partition are boarded up with matched boards. A double door leads from the sorting room into each bin. These doors are closed in the coldest weather. The sorting room has two windows for light and air.
If the potatoes begin to sweat in storage or need ventilation, the trap doors can be raised, and the doors from the bins into the sorting room can be opened, giving a perfect system of ventilation, which soon dries the potatoes off.
The potatoes are removed fom the storage house through the sorting room, the floor of which is on a level with the road outside, thus saving much labor.
Bill of material for this storage house. (Estimates furnished bv W. L. Brown, Foxcroft, Maine):
No. of pieces
4x6 Posts for cellar partition
6x6 End and cross sills
6x6 Side sills
2x6 Floor timbers
2x6 Floor timbers
9 ft. 6 in.
Bill of Material - continued No. of pieces Size Lengths.
60 2x5 Rafters 13 ft.
Plates 250 lin. ft.
20 2x6 Beams 22 ft.
50 2x4 Studding for gables 12-16 ft.
8 M Boards P.I.S. includes double floors matched and beaded pine for doors 250 ft.
15 squares Neponset waterproof paper for floors.
5 M Sheathing for cellar, ceiling and cross partition. 22 M XI Shingles with four rolls sheathing paper, or 22 Squares 1-ply Paroid roofing for roof.
500 feet 5-inch clear spruce clapboards with one roll paper for gables. 600 feet Pine finish.
6 9"x 3" 12-lighted windows and frames. 1 M Brick for chimney.
All timber is spruce. If of fir add one inch to depth of all sills and floor timbers.
Grout wall (150 lin. ft. 8 ft. high) and cement floor would cost about $250."