How to Store Vegetables
There are many different ways that a root cellar can be used and items that can be placed inside – from produce to medicine. Root vegetables like: carrots, turnips, beets, parsnips, potatoes, and other root vegetables are what are best stored in a root cellar. So the next time you find a great price on can time, you can stockpile. Think canned food, medicine, produce, and tools as great options. It can be used a shelter from tornadoes, or a place of safety in a time of emergency.
Storing crops in a root cellar is a great way to preserve the harvest. But if you don’t have one already, don’t despair. It’s fairly easy to make a space to store vegetables at the proper temperature and humidity. Whether you’re storing food for your homesteading family or selling to customers throughout the fall, winter and early spring, storing vegetables in a root cellar can be a key strategy in small-scale farming.
Cold storage room in house basement / canning storage / cold-storage unit – guide to build it -: i built myself a cold room / cold-storage unit in my home basement. The goal was to store garden vegetables, and canned beverages / canning. Of course, one of my wishes was to be able to walk in the cold to access the shelves (walk-in). I would lik….
These root cellars may look totally different but they share some common ground. They both have the ability to store your food all year round. So how do they work? well, one is the traditional root cellar that is built with cinder blocks. While the other is a less traditional form of a root cellar. It is a barrel filled with straw that can be placed underground and provide proper food storage for your vegetables.
Before refrigerators, people would store vegetables underground, where it always stays a cool 55˚ f. Find a suitable spot in your yard or basement and build a cellar for your carrots, beets, potatoes, apples, and hardy produce.
A Cellar to Root For
I lived with a root cellar for three years. In my experience, when the smell was strong enough to need venting that was a sure sign we weren’t eating things quickly enough or had not let in enough winter air. Our cellar had only latent heat from the earth and no intentional venting. Seemed to work great. We used wood shelves, wood boxes, and lots of straw for packing.
We decided that our little farm needed a root cellar to store our produce in. For those unfamiliar with the term, a root cellar is an underground room that acts like a natural refrigerator, maintaining temperatures in the mid 30’s f in the winter and mid 50’s in the summer.
By adam tomash when i built my first house in northern maine, i placed a small, stone-faced root cellar under the house with access through a trap door in the floor. A stepladder provided access and worked well. We kept root crops and canned goods there to keep them from freezing in our absence.
These root cellar plans require you to cut through the walls of concrete septic tanks. To do so, you’ll need to rent or borrow a gas-powered masonry cutoff saw spinning a 14-inch-diameter diamond wheel to make the door opening, and an electric rotary hammer with a 4-inch carbide coring bit to bore vent and drain holes. Be sure to use a saw that accepts a garden hose because water injection will tame the clouds of dust. The rotary hammer with coring bit needs no water. Septic tanks usually have reinforcing rods embedded in the concrete, so ask for a coring bit and masonry blade that can handle metal.
Philm said: hey there, i would love to build a root cellar but my property is completely flat. I do have a ravine in the woods where i could build into the side of the hill but that would be a 10 minute walk each way so i dont think its worth it, it would be nice to have it close to the house. Are there any mods one can do to their basement to make it more like a root cellar?.
How to Build a Root Cellar
Building your own root cellar is well within your scope. We are going to look at two ways to get this done on your own property. No matter which method you choose you are going to do some serious digging. It’s probably worth considering your method for that up front. This could be something you suffer through by hand or you might be interested in renting machines to make it easier.
Root cellars are easier to build and use than you might imagine and they solve so many problems in storing root crops like potatoes, carrots, beets, onions.
I’m building a small 8x10x8 foot high root-cellar into a hill, the floor will be about level to the lower elevation so it can’t build up with water. The door will be in middle front of 10′. Kind of a walk out basement. The idea of how to run fresh air into the cellar is what i have to decide soon.
Figuring out how to build a root cellar is not a new trick. In fact, it’s an ancient one. It’s one of the oldest survival tricks in the book. But is utilizing the earth for refrigeration still necessary? in america, there’s an appliance called a refrigerator, duh!? our $3,000 stainless refrigerators and chest freezers take care of all our food preservation needs, right?.
If you have been following my entries this past week you know that i have been sharing about my experience building root cellars. To catch up you might check out the last two entries before reading this one. O. K. – we dug the hole, framed the inner room and constructed a short hallway that would eventually connect the outside world to the storage room. I wrapped the osb sheeting with two coats of heavy weight black roofing paper, sheeted the roof with 2×12’s and screwed down heavy gage roofing metal. As you might suspect the 2×4 framed walls were never meant to hold back the weight of the earth or the moisture that would eventually push in on the wooden structure. (note that the framed structure is only in place for the purpose of giving the inside room square plumb walls so that shelving can be attached to them at a later time. )next i added the real structural strength and the barrier that would hold back both earth and moisture – old worn out, used up, rejected car tires. I had read about tire structures before, but had never actually tried to use them. I was surprised to find out that most local tire stores are more than happy to have people haul used tires off, in fact, some will even pay you a dollar a piece if you promise not to return them. I filled my four horse trailer two different times with these unwanted beauties and carted them home. I neatly stacked them in a brick like pattern around the perimeter of my framed structure and filled each one of them to the brim with loose dirt. I jumped up and down compressing the soil as best i could and continued adding layers until my wall of recycled tires reached up under the 4×6 rafters. I placed a treated 2×12 across the top layer of tires tightly fitting it under the rafter tails. This gave the roof structure additional support. When i was finished i wrapped the entire structure several more times with heavy gage plastic and began to back fill the entire thing with the earth that had been removed from the original hole. Some good friends, Duncan and Irene (whom we will speak more of later) joined in and helped build a granite retaining wall across the front. We built the wall using local rock which i had acquired from our generous neighbor Craig Krosh (see entry #6). When the cellar was completed the outside gave the appearance of an old mine shaft. (i’ll post a video that shows the completed structure on Friday. ) later on i hung the two doors and built the shelving which would hold Nancy’s canning and other food supplies.