Is anyone using a root cellar?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by BeckyW, Mar 28, 2006.

  1. BeckyW

    BeckyW Well-Known Member

    Mar 10, 2003
    Could you please share the pros and cons? What fruits/vegetables do you store and for how long? Also, if you wouldn't mind, what climate zone you are located in.
    Thank you for educating us!
  2. nogreaterjoy8

    nogreaterjoy8 Well-Known Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    We are in zone 4

    I can't think of a single con - except that it is too far from the house, maybe? if we ever build, I want a trap door in the house to get to the RC

    I store EVERYTHING in there....from seeds, to bulk storage of dry goods, to home canned foods, to store bought cans.

    I store potatoes, onions, squash, carrots and cabbage most of the winter.

  3. Charleen

    Charleen Supporter

    May 12, 2002
    Western NY
    Border of zones 5&6. Our root cellar is kind of a dug out area under the kitchen. Our well is in the root cellar also, so it's humid in there. We keep crates of potatoes & winter squash. Onions & garlic are hung from the rafters. We'll set our geranium plants in there over winter too. The walls are made of rocks, so we do have the occasional snake and/or mouse get in. Dry goods are stored in galvanized trash cans. I have a wonderful pantry cabinet that has our canned goods.
  4. wilderness1989

    wilderness1989 Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2006
    Effingham, Illinois 5b
    We are getting ready to buy a new place and it will have at least a one room basement (hopefully unheated zone 4/5), torpedo shelter, root cellar. I had one before and kept cabbage (pulled out with the root turned upside down on newspaper on the floor) and squash thru Spring. I also used to to store other root crops and all my canned food.
  5. oberhaslikid

    oberhaslikid Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 13, 2002
    I have one 3 steps from my back porch and Iam in the root cellar.The roof of my porch is attached to the building on my root cellar so very convieniant.I have a second fridge in almost is a part of my kitchen. I store all canned product in there only thing I dont like is the moisture causes my rings on canning jars to rust. I read somewhere to spray with PAM spray will help. havent dont that yet.Might give it a try this year.Store potatoes and onions,garlic and squash will keep all year what I dont use goes to the chickens in the spring.I store cat food in buckets with lids.I am in zone 6
  6. Beltane

    Beltane Enjoying Four Seasons

    Nov 26, 2005
    Beautiful Milton, New Hampshire
    This will be the first time we will be root cellaring quite a bit of produce. We are in Zone 4 and have dirt cellar under our old cape. My question do you keep the mice out but still let the potatos and such get air? Our farm house was built in 1780 and we have found it impossible to keep all the mice at bay. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks so much!
  7. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 13, 2004
    Ours is an unheated part of the basement. We store squash, onions, and garlic in the warmer part, along with home-canned and store-bought canned goods. We store apples in the coolest part (ate the last apples last year on July 4th, and have usable apples still in storage now, but the 2005 crop wasn't as big as our 2004 crop so we have used them up faster), potatoes in another area (last year we threw the last potatoes on the compost pile when we started eating new potatoes from the garden), and the storage bins for flour, wheat, oats, etc., are in there too. Some years we also store carrots and cabbage and similar crops, too, but this year we had more room available in the refrigerators for carrots and cabbage.

    I would recommend making a root cellar as convenient to use as possible, and also as convenient to move things into as you can. And don't forget that it is nice to be able to air it out and clean it, too.

    We are in western Wisconsin.
  8. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 24, 2003
    CHINA need some hungry kitties :p black kitties if you can get them (they are more successful due to coloring)....only feed a little food where you want them to a little I mean 1/4c once a day...neautered kitties stay to home...

    I suggest you get the book called "Root Cellaring" and use the charge that specifies temp. and parents is built into a steep hill in Zone3/4
    and works wonderfully!! Theirs is the equivalent of off-grid natural refrigeration...year round...The floor is like a beach type sand native to the area....sand pit on property, sandy soil and their land is bordered by Sandy Stream of course....Dad uses the snowmachine in winter even though it is close to the house it requires negotiating a steep hill and in winter its icy....the long way around on the snowmachine is much safer....
  9. KathyJ

    KathyJ 1-5-acre dreamin'

    Sep 20, 2005
    California; Michigan transplant
    anyone in zone 9 use one?
    just curious, it gets pretty hot in the summer here and I'd like to have someplace to store without things going bad from the heat?
    that book is on my wish list!!
  10. katlupe

    katlupe Off-The-Grid Homesteader Supporter

    Nov 15, 2004
    Upstate NY
    I have a root cellar that was built in our house when it was built in the 1850s. It has a large wooden bin that was built in attached to the ceiling for storing the apples that grew all over our property. It has a dirt floor, field stone walls, and has two windows that I can open when I want to air it out.

    I am trying to build in more shelves for storage. The cellar stairs go right up into my pantry which is attached to my kitchen. When it is warm in the pantry during the summer, I just open the door to the root cellar and cool air comes right up.

    I store canned goods down there, plus anything that I want to preserve from the garden. I hang somethings from the rafters, such as onions, garlic, etc. Other things are in baskets or wooden boxes. It is quite handy being just down the stairs and I do not have to go outside.