Root cellar

   / Root cellar #1  

shooterdon

Elite Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2012
Messages
4,023
Location
Near Johannesburg MI but in the middle of nowhere
Tractor
2019 LS XR4140 HST Cab; 2020 Kawasaki Mule SX; 2021 Bad Boy 54" ZT Elite
With the success of Covid-19, I fear their could be another accident next fall as we start to pull ourselves out of this current challenge. I would like to put away foods that do not require canning.

Please let know if there are any books or other resources that would guide me to building a successful storage facility.

Also any concerns I should address that are specific to my location....temperature down to -35*....my soil is sand...water table 7-8 ft below grade.
 
   / Root cellar #2  
Dark. Slightly above freezing. Good circulation.
 
   / Root cellar #3  
Dark. Slightly above freezing. Good circulation.

Yep....all that.

In your case Don, you're probably going to want to mound up due to fairly high water table....maybe 3-4' down and the rest above grade covered by a mound of soil. Leave the floor dirt or gravel....you want a fairly high humidity in addition to as close to 33 degrees as you can get. The walls I'd lay (and did on mine) block, and pour a concrete roof on top. In your climate, I'd probably insulate the walls/top with couple inches of foam board, followed by couple feet of dirt.

Good insulated door. I made mine out of cedar lumber for the exterior, a layer of foam board, then a plywood lay on the inside to make kind of a refrigerator door.

Also depends on what you're planning to store. IF you plan to store potatoes along with apples, I'd make two separate spaces or rooms inside. Apple give off eythelene gas which causes potatoes to sprout more than they already will. Put forced air circulation in both. I used 6" PVC pipe with a small 'duct booster' fan in one of them to force air to move. Mine is on a timer so it only runs at night when the outside air is coldest, but in your area, I'd probably connect it to a thermostat so it doesn't run in really cold weather and freeze inside your cellar.

Good reference book: https://www.amazon.com/Root-Cellaring-Natural-Storage-Vegetables-ebook/dp/B004TAEC4C/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&qid=1587895763&refinements=p_27%3ANancy+Bubel&s=books&sr=1-1

Good project, good luck with it !
 
   / Root cellar #4  
I 'member years back, 'taters were kept buried in wicker bushel baskets with a coarse sand.

Ours was under a front porch, doors, but nothing special.

Water table will be an issue unless you want to put the money and effort into suitable concrete walls.
 
   / Root cellar #5  
I also came up with a way to store our potatoes that allows good air circulation, keeps them fairly separated so one doesn't spread rot to many, and allows you to stack vertical. Screens made of 2x4 lumber with a layer of 1/2" hardware cloth in the center.

enhance


enhance


enhance
 
   / Root cellar
  • Thread Starter
#6  
Yep....all that.

In your case Don, you're probably going to want to mound up due to fairly high water table....maybe 3-4' down and the rest above grade covered by a mound of soil. Leave the floor dirt or gravel....you want a fairly high humidity in addition to as close to 33 degrees as you can get. The walls I'd lay (and did on mine) block, and pour a concrete roof on top. In your climate, I'd probably insulate the walls/top with couple inches of foam board, followed by couple feet of dirt.

Good insulated door. I made mine out of cedar lumber for the exterior, a layer of foam board, then a plywood lay on the inside to make kind of a refrigerator door.

Also depends on what you're planning to store. IF you plan to store potatoes along with apples, I'd make two separate spaces or rooms inside. Apple give off eythelene gas which causes potatoes to sprout more than they already will. Put forced air circulation in both. I used 6" PVC pipe with a small 'duct booster' fan in one of them to force air to move. Mine is on a timer so it only runs at night when the outside air is coldest, but in your area, I'd probably connect it to a thermostat so it doesn't run in really cold weather and freeze inside your cellar.

Good reference book: https://www.amazon.com/Root-Cellaring-Natural-Storage-Vegetables-ebook/dp/B004TAEC4C/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&qid=1587895763&refinements=p_27%3ANancy+Bubel&s=books&sr=1-1

Good project, good luck with it !

Thanks for the hints.

I have a large 8' high berm on my old 100 yard range from dirt when I had a large pond excavated. I could dig into back of it but it is over 150 yards from the house. I could use a solar powered system for lights and the fan.

Good hint about the apples.
 
   / Root cellar
  • Thread Starter
#7  
I also came up with a way to store our potatoes that allows good air circulation, keeps them fairly separated so one doesn't spread rot to many, and allows you to stack vertical. Screens made of 2x4 lumber with a layer of 1/2" hardware cloth in the center.

enhance


enhance


enhance

Wow...nice setup. Did you use the Kreig system to attach those "legs" to the frames?
 
   / Root cellar #8  
If you're planning to pour walls you can put PVC pipe for vents high and low, exiting to the outside. That will create a natural draft to help circulate the air.
 
   / Root cellar #9  
We are thinking of digging a trench into a berm and burying a culvert pipe is a quick way to create an underground root cellar. Basically cut and cover. Spoken with friends connected to the highway department to discuss what is available. Size is only restrained by how much we want to spend and how big a hole we dig (no rocks, boulders or hard pan to contend with). A round or half round pipe will not create a nice space a TnAndy has, but could function well in a pinch). Since we have a lot of sand we are thinking of using it to store veg etc. Steel pipe hold some advantages in being good at keeping varmints out if sealed well at the ends (and underneath for a half round section).
 
   / Root cellar #10  
Wow...nice setup. Did you use the Kreig system to attach those "legs" to the frames?

Yes.....their pocket jig. I used to build a lot of kitchen cabinets and switched to the Kreig system over mortise/tenon for face frames....makes a real strong, easy joint.
 
 
Top