Mold in House

Carl

Well-Known Member
Ok I bought this country house to retire to. I figured that it would be a home for any in family that need it. Also figured that the family would work together with me to make it into a house to shelter us in bad times.

What happened is that family liked the free rent, but not any construction or noise. So the house has still not been converted in the 9 years that I have owned it.

The guy that built the house relocated to east coast to get work. He had take in a couple that needed a place to stay. So the builder moved and got enough rent so that he could afford to keep the house he built. Then after two months away from the house the guest stopped paying the rent. Owner came to see him and tell him that it is not a rent free deal. The guy said well you can evict me but by then the bank will take the house. Which is what happened. So the guy not only got free rent but he took everything of value that he could remove. Left the house in a wreck.

Now that the house is in my control I have been fixing it. I finished the mud room attic as a place to store garden produce like in a root cellar. Unfortunately next year we discovered mold in the mud room attic. But couldn't get it ready to store food next year because the mold guys totally gutted the place. So stored the potatoes in a closet. Left the door cracked for ventilation. Surprise!! mold! Apparently a bit of knowledge I didn't know is that potatoes under certain conditions will encourage mold growth.

I read up on root cellars and nothing was said about mold growth. I don't think that a lot of mold growing in root cellar full of vegis would be a good thing. So now I don't know what to do. Any ideas?
 

Everlasting Life

Through Faith in Jesus
Ok I bought this country house to retire to. I figured that it would be a home for any in family that need it. Also figured that the family would work together with me to make it into a house to shelter us in bad times.

What happened is that family liked the free rent, but not any construction or noise. So the house has still not been converted in the 9 years that I have owned it.

The guy that built the house relocated to east coast to get work. He had take in a couple that needed a place to stay. So the builder moved and got enough rent so that he could afford to keep the house he built. Then after two months away from the house the guest stopped paying the rent. Owner came to see him and tell him that it is not a rent free deal. The guy said well you can evict me but by then the bank will take the house. Which is what happened. So the guy not only got free rent but he took everything of value that he could remove. Left the house in a wreck.

Now that the house is in my control I have been fixing it. I finished the mud room attic as a place to store garden produce like in a root cellar. Unfortunately next year we discovered mold in the mud room attic. But couldn't get it ready to store food next year because the mold guys totally gutted the place. So stored the potatoes in a closet. Left the door cracked for ventilation. Surprise!! mold! Apparently a bit of knowledge I didn't know is that potatoes under certain conditions will encourage mold growth.

I read up on root cellars and nothing was said about mold growth. I don't think that a lot of mold growing in root cellar full of vegis would be a good thing. So now I don't know what to do. Any ideas?

If your asking how to store potatos this link might help and perhaps give ideas of how to utilize parts of your home for that.

https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-store-potatoes#how-to-store-potatoes
 

Carl

Well-Known Member
No I am asking about preventing mold growth. The comments about the potatoes is that I have mold in the house from both potato storage locations. Wondering if potatoes caused it. Have six similar closets in the house. The only one with mold is the one that the potatoes were in this last winter. I guess no more unprocessed vegitables in the house period.
 

athenasius

Well-Known Member
No I am asking about preventing mold growth. The comments about the potatoes is that I have mold in the house from both potato storage locations. Wondering if potatoes caused it. Have six similar closets in the house. The only one with mold is the one that the potatoes were in this last winter. I guess no more unprocessed vegitables in the house period.
Carl I'm coming in late on this. Yes Potatoes will encourage mold. Don't keep large amounts of them inside the house.

Root cellars shouldn't be inside the house except in certain controlled circumstances. Like my inlaws house-- explained below.

My inlaws in Vancouver BC which is very warm for Canada, had a root cellar that was dug out beyond the walls of the basement foundations. You could access it from inside the basement via a tight fitting door, it had cement floor, cement block walls and a small vent. When it got cold enough to freeze, you kept the electric light on to keep it warm enough that the roots (potatoes, beets, carrots, cabbages) wouldn't freeze. That was only a few days a year in their area. You keep a blanket of newspaper etc over the bin of potatoes (and they all used those wooden crates that had slats for breathing -- not plastic tubs) so the light doesn't get to the potatoes and turn them green.

Our house in the Yukon had one off the basement without any vents, and that worked because it got some heat from the basement, but not much and it was under about 3 or 4 feet of soil. Cement block construction. Cement blocks let a certain amount of dampness thru which you want. Not running or trickling water but just a cold damp feel. It HAS to be a little bit damp to keep the roots from getting shriveled and dried out.

My father grew up on a ranch in the Cariboo here in BC and what all the ranchers did was dig a cave into a hillside or a large hole which they insulated at the top with an insulated door or hatchway to get into.

My dad growing up didn't have electricity for a long time so that root cellar was well insulated--they used bales of hay.

I used to buy root veggies from a farmer in Prince George BC (halfway between the Yukon and Vancouver) and he had a huge root cellar off his barn. Fully insulated, dark, controlled ventilation and he would heat it just a little in the worst cold. It was also dug into the hillside.

If you wrap the cabbage in newspaper (the black and white kind, not colour ink which is poisonous) the newsprint helps keep things fresh. A plastic bag over top keeps the dampness in.

Potatoes, beets and carrots are laid in rows in their wooden crates, with a small shovel of dirt or layer of straw over each layer. The idea is to keep the layers separate enough that if one area starts to rot it doesn't spread. Wooden crates breathe and don't encourage rot like plastic tubs do. But that said, you can layer between newspapers and crack the lid off a Rubbermaid tub, but I've not tried it nor has anyone I know, but I've read about it.

With all these roots except onions, you want it damp enough and just above freezing to keep things well. That isn't inside the house.

Onions are different. They are kept in a dry place, so they are safe inside the house but they have to be WELL ventilated.

Old timers used to wait till the outside skins and the tops were dried out-- lay them out on a tarp in the sunshine for a couple of days then braid the tops, adding each new onion to get a string of onions. You hang that in a dry cool place with good ventilation and cut each onion off as you need it.

Or inspect for signs of going rotten or sprouting.

That same cool dry place is where you can keep dried beans, canned goods and that sort of thing. That's where my grandparents kept their home canning. It was in a cellar below their house near the Okanagan Lake, which is in a warmer zone in Canada.

He kept his roots dug into his garden in holes in the ground lined with straw, covered by straw bales.

Up near us (just a little colder than my grandad's place) my daughter and son in law do the same thing. Dig a big hole in the ground, layer the roots in, straw in between-- cover with hay bales or other insulation.

how deep depends on how many feet down the ground freezes in your area.
 

Everlasting Life

Through Faith in Jesus
No I am asking about preventing mold growth. The comments about the potatoes is that I have mold in the house from both potato storage locations. Wondering if potatoes caused it. Have six similar closets in the house. The only one with mold is the one that the potatoes were in this last winter. I guess no more unprocessed vegitables in the house period.

Ok, that makes sense. athenasius did a great job explaining ways to store roots (I'll be keeping notes on her post :nod ).

The thing about mold in buildings is that it most definitely can spread. It sounds like the potatoes began to become moldy and the spores took hold in it's closest environment (the closet) where additional moisture was present and then began to grow.

That moisture could be coming from evaporated moisture from the potatos that couldn't get out of the closet, or a leaky pipe in an adjoining wall, a leaky part of a roof or possible under the house moisture coming up from under the floor (and sometimes a lack of flashing on the outside of an exterior wall that keeps rain from getting into a wall or perimeter of a roof or connected chimney...this might be too much info :lol ) If there's moisture under the house soil there could be moldy coming in too. Wherever there's moisture mold is happy and will grow on any debri it can find. People will sometimes place a thicker plastic over the soil under the house to prevent mold from growing in the floor and house.

I'm guessing that the moisture from potatos not able to dissipate with air circulation most likely caused the mold issue for you though.
 

Hsmommy

Well-Known Member
The Hutterites here grow thousands of pounds of potatoes. They store them in a single layer. They have sort of a shelf affair with spaces between the slats to promote air circulation. Their potatoes last from harvest in the fall into well into spring.
 

Carl

Well-Known Member
Thank you so much for your detailed response to my mold problem athenasius!

 
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