Old freezer as a root cellar - Homesteading Today
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  #1  
Old 04/27/11, 07:46 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: western NY
Posts: 400
Old freezer as a root cellar

How would I go about doing this. I live in an area of VERY flat land. No hillsides to cut into at all. What I have been thinking of is digging a hole inside the barn and dropping an old chest freezer in it. I am wondering how I deal with the water issue. The barn itself is dry but the entire area around it gets slightly flooded out with heavy rains. Would the under ground of the barn stay dry or do I need to put some type of pond or similar liner in the hole before the freezer. Also, how do I brace the hole to keep it from collapsing and crushing the freezer?

Thanks all.

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Old 04/27/11, 07:59 PM
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 17,225

I wouldn't worry too much about it crushing unless it was in a high traffic area. I would keep the lid above ground level. I would also try to keep it toward the center of the barn. One last thing I would do is stack some hay or straw bales on top of it to insulate it.

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  #3  
Old 04/27/11, 08:10 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: ne colorado
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we have one for storing some close to home and the big problem we have is air flow. the taters don't breath and they go bad very quickly. if you can circulate a small amout of air it would work better. tried leaving the lid cracked open but the one on the bottom still went bad fast.

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Old 04/27/11, 08:26 PM
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rancher1913 View Post
we have one for storing some close to home and the big problem we have is air flow. the taters don't breath and they go bad very quickly. if you can circulate a small amout of air it would work better. tried leaving the lid cracked open but the one on the bottom still went bad fast.
Maybe lay some kind of racking on the bottom to allow airflow?
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  #5  
Old 04/27/11, 09:43 PM
In Remembrance
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 6,844

Now aging neighbor said as a kid they used to bury a wooden barrel into the ground, fill with turnips and cover with straw. When barrel was about half empty they could have to take one of the youngest kids and hold them by the ankles so they could get the rest of them. During winter, few days went by without something from turnips being on the table.

May have put a layer of straw between layers. Don't remember exact details.

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  #6  
Old 04/27/11, 09:46 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Pacific NorthWest
Posts: 308

+1 on the rapid rot from using a freezer for a root cellar. There is not enough air transfer inside the shut chest. If you leave the lid ajar enough for fresh air to circulate, you defeat the purpose.

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  #7  
Old 04/28/11, 12:09 AM
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
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https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/phot...eat=directlink
These were stored all winter in dry sand and kept at 40 degrees. They are as sweet and crunchy as the day I put them in the sand.
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  #8  
Old 04/28/11, 09:54 AM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 7,154

We have an old refrigerator (non working) in our unheated garage. I bought a thermostat plug in and put it in the fridge with a lamp with a 40 watt light bulb in it. An extension cord runs in to the plug in. It automatically turns the light on at around 35 degrees, and off at 42 degrees. Works very well until hot weather.The plug in runs in the $10 range at Rural King and other farm stores. Would work in a freezer and be much handier than one being burried in the barn.

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  #9  
Old 04/28/11, 10:24 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 7,944

A cellar needs a pipe from the bottom of the cellar up to move air for ventilation. Run a 2" piece of pvc from the bottom of the freezer to above ground, seal the through hole and cover the top end to keep insects out. My cellar has a 4" pipe. A cellar needs humidity not moisture and air transfer....James

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  #10  
Old 04/28/11, 02:42 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: western NY
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Thanks all.

Paintlady, I have heard that is the best way to store. I heard sawdust also works well, one just has to make sure the sawdust is not from pressure treated wood !

Uncle Will - I can't believe I didn't think of that. I have one of those plugs on the chicken's water !

James- the pipe sounds to be an easy fix.

I don't have the space in the garage for the freezer, so it would have to go into the barn. Above ground would certainly be better, even with the loss of space.

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  #11  
Old 04/28/11, 05:48 PM
In Remembrance
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 6,844

I don't know if this might apply to you. I've read about people who grow potatoes in used tires. They start a potato plant in one filled with mulch, then when high enough, they put on another used tire, back filling with mulch and keep stacking them up. Essentually results in a high tire stack with lots of potatoes, easily taken apart. Could potatoes, or other ground root vegetables, survive in used tires stacks as the equivalent of a root cellar?

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  #12  
Old 04/28/11, 06:59 PM
Brenda Groth
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Michigan
Posts: 7,789

old freezers and refrigerators tend to be very moldy when they are closed up

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  #13  
Old 04/29/11, 10:02 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: western NY
Posts: 400

My hubby would freak if I put tires out for the potatoes. I was planning on trying them in the weed fabric (four quick stitches up the sides with the bottom doubled and viola! potato bag) I would do it the same way as with the tires, just pulling up the sides and filling as it grows.

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