Root Cellar Ideas

by Catherine Haug

In our video: Root Cellars, Gardens & Greenhouses Slideshow we presented several local root cellars plus a couple interesting ideas from the book Root Cellaring, by Mike and Nancy Bubel. (See above link for the gathering summary, including photos and sketches).

The Daily Inter Lake’s At Home section on Nov. 7, 2009 included another idea, from the Associated Press, by Rebecca Cole: “Storing your own fruits and vegetables for the winter.”

Garbage Can with Lid

Garbage Can with Lid

Mini Root Cellar

In addition to tips on storing home-canned produce, the DIL-AP article included an idea for a very simple mini root-cellar:

“Use a garbage can to make a miniature version of grandma’s root cellar: you just bury the can in your own backyard. Leaving the rim about 6-inches above the soil level to prevent water from getting inside.

Store your apples, carrots, or other favorite fruits and vegetables in layers of clean straw between each layer, then put the lid on the can and cover with a thick layer of straw or leaves to prevent freezing, lay a few bricks or other weights on the straw so it won’t blow away.”

My suggestion would be to have at least two of these, to keep the apples and potatoes separated. for even smaller storage, you could use 5-gallon food-grade pails with lids.

A major key to success for any cold storage solution is adequate insulation and proper humidity. You may need to spray a bit of moisture on your sawdust if the container gets too dry inside.

Ideal Storage Conditions

Remember that not all fruits and veggies require the same storage conditions, so consider creating different storage spaces with different conditions, to accommodate all that you want to store.

See our handy 1-page Winer Storage Chart (pdf) for ideal storage conditions.

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