Root Cellars

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by 6e, Nov 7, 2006.

  1. 6e

    6e Farm lovin wife Supporter

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    Has anyone built their own underground root cellar/storm shelter? If so, how difficult is it? How is the roof constructed?
    Are there any good websites that tell how to build your own?
     
  2. kinderfeld

    kinderfeld Well-Known Member

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    I'd like to know about this, too?
     

  3. Wolf mom

    Wolf mom Well-Known Member

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    Wow, good question! There's a lot out there.

    One that intreaged (sp?) me was of poured cement - wall & floor.

    Many people have sunk old chest freezers in the ground.

    Some guy here I think, sunk a new septic for cold storage. Had the schematic, but the ladder appeared to be pretty vertical.

    I currently have a retaining basin near the top side of my property - in the middle of a hill. I was thinking about scooping out the lower side part of the basin, but have no idea how to build a box into the hill with a side door. (like the old fashioned cellar doors.)

    Maybe cinder block walls with tar on the outside. Gravel then cinder block floor. The kicker is the roof has to be super strong to hold how much? 1 1/2 feet of dirt?

    I dunno, still in the thinking, low priority stage.
     
  4. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    I have an old chest freezer right now that we use as a root cellar. i plan on building basically a basement in a hill with 3 sides buried. I will then put a shed on top of it. I'm sure you could pour a concrete ceiling with support if you wanted to cover it with dirt but I don't think it needs it.
     
  5. Spinner

    Spinner Well-Known Member

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    There's a couple or 3 types shown at http://www.waltonfeed.com/old/cellars.html They are the old time home made root cellars. If you want to build something more modern you can probably find plans by doing a search on "root cellar" using any good search engine.
     
  6. FarmboyBill

    FarmboyBill Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Cause there aint a soul in here, when they get into their 60s, 70s, 80s, gonna want to haul down bushels of potatoes, and apples, and whatever else, just to haul them back up again a couple trips a week. Aint gonna happen. Every farm up in NE Kansas has/had a outdoor cave as it was called, but it was a celler. Ours on the home place still is in place, but nobody has been down there in 50 yrs. I want to be able to walk into and out of a celler on the same level as everything else is when im in my 80s, (assuming im still walking, and not in a celler of my own lol). What im need ing to know is how thick the walls here woulkd need to be
     
  7. Spinner

    Spinner Well-Known Member

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    Can you have someone build a gentle ramp into the root cellar? Then you could use a wheel barrow to put the food stuff in at harvest and then roll out a weeks supply at a time. OR... how hard would it be to make a produce elevator? Just a box to fill up with food stuff, then a small motor that could raise it up, kind of like one of those chairs that glide up and down stairs. Just a couple of options to think about.
     
  8. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    the trouble with above ground you might not have the right moister level or temp. for storing food and there is no storm/ root celler they are totaly differant
     
  9. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    and who is down there to stack
     
  10. Dubai Vol

    Dubai Vol Well-Known Member

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    Loads of info here:

    Root Cellar

    Haven't looked at all the links at the end....
     
  11. farmmaid

    farmmaid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We just built our retirement home. As most of you know, it is an earth-wrapped, passive solar no steps home. We have a root cellar right off the pantry room which is off the kitchen. It is an area 6' wide and 16' long divided into two rooms ( apples/wine and veggies) with incoming air pipes along the floor and outgoing air pipes at the top of the rooms. The walls are the concrete poured blocks and a concrete floor, steel door from pantry into root cellar. The roof is a regular shingled roof (MUCH better insulation)! The temperature is 50 degrees now in the cellar. This is going to be so handy, no steps, walk right in and out. The cellar is on the north side of the house and the roof slopes down to about 4' from outside ground level. It has three sides surrounded by earth (jets out from the back wall of the house). We have not "finished" it off yet, need to go through all seasons to add/subtract insulation to keep it a constant ground temperature. It is also our "safe room" as it is also 5 feet from our bedroom. Hubby is putting a steel drop bar so if needed we can go inside close the door and drop the bar across the door . I have vaccume packed blankets, old coats, hats, mittens, candles, matches, extra batteries and a can openner. The root cellar has electricity so I have a plug in flashlight that is always charged. Also on a shelf is an oil lamp, oil and extra wicks. Two folding web lawn chairs are folded up and hanging on the wall. When my old cell phone needs to be replaced, I will have it programed to 911 and leave it there on the charger.
    We are going to keep a temperature chart this year, outside/inside...Joan
     
  12. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

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    From another post of mine,

    Three falls ago we 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
     
  13. hoofinitnorth

    hoofinitnorth Well-Known Member

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    Don't do what the previous owners of this place did unless you check with a structural engineer first - they dug out the crawlspace an additional 4' for a total of 8'. They made the sides really steep so there wasn't a lot of support for the foundation walls! We think they were probably growing pot down there (or planned to). Idiots.
     
  14. FolioMark

    FolioMark In Remembrance

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    Farmmaid: What you describe is what the English and Europeans call a larder or a game closet. They were built just that way on the north side and bermed up with earch and a vent left to the cold outside. Its an easy way to provide cold storage as long as its on the cool shady north side.

    I havent done this but wonder how hard it would be to bury something like the back end of a box truck, without the wheels etc. Just dig a big hole and make a ramp to the door and pile earth on top. Bit of gravel around the edges to keep the water away. We have a box truck in our backyard set on blocks and it makes a dandy toolshed. Might be able to get one cheap at a junk yard.
     
  15. Big Dave

    Big Dave Well-Known Member

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    The Root Cellar Home Page
    This is a good site
    There are certain things you can not put under or above one another as it will cause spoilage.
    TRUTH & MERCY Big Dave
     
  16. mutthouse

    mutthouse Active Member

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    My dad built a root cellar years ago. We lived in a split level house and had a high deck on the back of the house. He enclosed the underside of the deck and dug down about 4 feet, poured a floor, and mad the walls out of cement blocks. I'm not sure what he insulated it with, but it was a nice little structure.

    My sister checked out the old house recently (it's being refurbished by the current owner for resale), and the current owner didn't have a clue why the underside of the deck was enclosed! Looked at her like she was nuts when she told him it was a root cellar. LOL

    Lin