Anybody Root Cellar?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by ibcnya, Jan 13, 2005.

  1. ibcnya

    ibcnya Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    437
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Location:
    South East Iowa
    I have been thinking of building one this spring and have read a book on it and it really seems like the way to go for food storage. Any input here? Pitfalls? Success stories?
     
  2. I've been thinking about doing the same thing for about 2 years now. Just haven't gotten around to it yet. Probably a good thing tho. I haven't grown a descent garden in about 3 years now. Always get busy doing something through the summer and the weeds take over. I was walking through my garden yesterday and noticed all the green beans I didn't get to harvest and I still have about 6 rows of taters to dig if the grub worms have left me any.
     

  3. sylvar

    sylvar Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    388
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2004
    I wish I could have one. The water table here is only about 18" below the surface at times. Right now its AT the surface. If I built a root cellar it would need a sump pump
     
  4. katlupe

    katlupe Off-The-Grid Homesteader Supporter

    Messages:
    2,251
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    I do have a root cellar but it's in my cellar. Our cellar has a dirt floor and a fieldstone foundation. There is a big bin built in that I believe they used for apples. My problem is that we haven't had the time or money right now to fix it so that critters from outside (mostly mice) can't get in and eat my produce. We are planning on building shelves for the canned foods and other storage.
     
  5. Deb&Al

    Deb&Al Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    506
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2002
    hi,

    we live in a 130-year-old farmhouse, with baseboard heat in the ground flour and upstairs, but none in the basement.

    the basement was a planked/rotted floor when we got the place, and my dh fixed it by making it concrete. he then sectioned off a corner with cement blocks and made a pantry for me.

    in that pantry it stays in the 40-50 range in winter and 50-60 range in summer. i keep my jars in there, and also potatoes and apples and pumpkins keep nicely.

    at those winter temps, my potatoes are still good, but not as good as they were a month ago. the apple results depend on what apples i've got in there. we're getting heirloom variety apple trees soon to plant, the kind that have apples made for root cellaring situations. the pumpkins have maintained beautifully.

    one of the things i do to liven up the pumpkin, as i make pumpkin pie every other week, is to add peach butter that i've canned to the pumpkin puree. one year i made cantelop butter, and when i added that to the pumpkin puree, it made a delicious tropical fruit kind of taste.

    next to the house is the foundation of a root cellar, with a cement cap over the top of it. the house and this root cellar foundation, are built into a hill, in the typical pa-german house style that is common to this area.

    the people that we bought the house from said that there was an old summer kitchen there when they bought the place, in the early 50s, but it was falling down and so they took the wood down, and put a cement cap over the foundation.

    i'm anxiouis to tear the cap off and rebuild/restore this structure as i finally got a wood stove last summer and i want to put it in the basement, and using a wood stove will raise the temps way too high for the pantry that dh built.

    originally, the basement is where all the cooking was done. the front of the basement opens into the yard, with doors and windows and the back of the basement is actually built into the hill.

    i can see that the planning of the old summer house/root cellar, and it being less than 20 feet from the basement door, was done from necessity, as cooking in this basement/kitchen would keep the basement so warm as to not keep potatoes and apples and things.

    one of the things that i love about old places is to think about why things were placed where they were. everything had a purpose/reason for the work that had to be done.

    in the video frontier house, the familes built root cellars, but they didn't have a hill to build into. i think they built structures and then piled dirt and rocks up around the structure. they didn't get to stay the winter, so i don't know how their food supply fared out.

    debbie
     
  6. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    833
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Vancouver, and Moberly Lake, BC, Canada
    This fall just built a new one, they work great and keep about 40 to 50 F all year.

    [​IMG]
    I Got Broken Slabs From Home Depot Bins, Grouted For Floor

    [​IMG]
    I Insulated behind wall with 8" Insulation & then 6" T&G Knotty Pine - that I had around - left over - Then used old bi-fold Closet Doors I Tore Out Of Our Sons New Apartment

    [​IMG]
    Stair From Old 2x6

    Enjoy your root cellar, we love ours, works great, canning on shelf, flour in metal cans, bins for other, etc.

    Gotta go, all the best,

    Alex
     
  7. Deb&Al

    Deb&Al Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    506
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2002
    wow alex,

    that's the best......great job. :)

    debbie