This film is part of Free

Storing Vegetables Outdoors

Building a larder using soil and straw: this age-old method was a boon to home-front gardeners

Government sponsored film 1941 9 mins


This Ministry of Information film does ‘what it says on the tin’. It is a straightforward, ‘no frills’ demonstration of how to store roots vegetables outside by a traditional method known as ‘clamping’, which had been used for centuries. Horticultural journalist and broadcaster Roy Hay narrates, as a gardener demonstrates how to construct a clamp, a cheap and efficient way of storing vegetables such as potatoes and carrots by insulating them with soil and straw in a pyramid structure. The benefits are emphasised at the film’s conclusion – the clamp will protect the vegetables against all types of weather and keep them fresh until they are needed.

During the Second World War, the highly successful ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign encouraged the public to grow their own food during a time of strict rationing. Open spaces were transformed into allotments, and lawns and flowerbeds were turned into vegetable gardens. This government film is a public record, preserved and presented by the BFI National Archive on behalf of The National Archives, home to more than 1,000 years of British history.