How to create a root cellar

How much does it cost to build a root cellar?

Building a root cellar on this plan only cost its creators $164. The root cellar begun with an 8-by-12-foot hole in the ground and was constructed with old railroad ties laid on top of each other.

Can I use my basement as a root cellar?

If you have a basement, you can construct a root cellar fairly easily. You just need to wall off a basement corner and add vents to allow cold air to flow in and warm air to flow out. Masonry walls are best, as they will provide the proper cool temperature—so choosing an exterior basement corner is best.

How long will potatoes last in a root cellar?

With a good in-ground root cellar, potatoes can be stored for 5-8 months. As a sustainable alternative to refrigerated or electrically cooled storage for crops needing cool damp conditions, traditional root cellars are a good option.

Does a root cellar need ventilation?

Adequate airflow is a primary need in any root cellar since good air circulation will prevent mold from growing on your food. It is also important to keep in mind that hot air rises and cool air sinks. This is why you need to put a vent near the top of your root cellar space for that hot air to escape.

How cold does a root cellar stay?

To work properly, a root cellar should stay between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Harmful bacteria thrive in the warmth, so keeping your cellar cool helps crops stay fresh and safe for longer.

How much ventilation does a root cellar need?

Use two vents, about 3-4 inches in diameter. Place the vents so that one is near the top of the root cellar to exhaust stale air and ethylene gas. The other vent should be run down to near the floor, to drop in fresh air. Four inch PVC vent pipes should be adequate for to up to around an 6ft by 8ft room.

What direction should a root cellar face?

The perfect location for a root cellar is nestled into an existing soil bank in a well-drained location 10 to 20 yards from your house. Ideally, the door should face north to keep out the sun’s heat.

How long will Onions last in a root cellar?

Just like garlic, onions must be kept in a dry location. If kept dry, the shelf life in the root cellar is 5 to 8 months.

How deep do you dig a root cellar?

On average, a root cellar should be 10′ (3m) deep. However, in certain locations where the soil is dry, or sandy, it may be necessary to dig deeper, since this is where the temperature is a stable 32º to 40ºF (0° to 4.5°C).

Can you store meat in a root cellar?

In addition to the above mentioned foods, you can store your canned tomatoes, peaches, pears, green beans, peas, fish and meat, in fact, any type of canned foods in your root cellar. This type of cellar has a regular insulated door to walk through.

Can you age cheese in a root cellar?

Some home cheesemakers have a space in a basement, garage, root cellar, or spare bedroom (during the winter) that maintains a temperature of approximately 50 degrees. By using containers to keep your cheese clean and safe from pests, you may be able to convert these spaces into aging “caves” as well.

How long do foods last in a root cellar?

Store in root cellar or dark, cool basement or garage. Isolate them, because the ethylene gas they give off makes many vegetables sprout and rot. Most varieties store three to six months.

What are the benefits of a root cellar?

Root cellars keep food from freezing during the winter and keep food cool during the summer to prevent spoilage. Typically, a variety of vegetables are placed in the root cellar in the autumn after harvesting. A secondary use for the root cellar is as a place to store wine, pint, or other homemade alcoholic beverages.

Is a root cellar worth it?

A root cellar can help ensure you get months of stable storage from items you grew or made. Fruits, vegetables, cheese and many other items can be stored underground in your cellar for later consumption. I have never owned my own cellar but have seen and eaten foods from other folks who maintained a cellar.

What is the difference between a cellar and a basement?

A basement is the floor of a building which is partly or entirely below ground level. A cellar is a room below ground level in a house that is often only used for storing wine or coal, it is used for a specific purpose. A cellar is often a smaller space than a basement.

How do you keep water out of a root cellar?

Root cellars can be constructed out of heavy-duty plastic or galvanized metal garbage cans to avoid moisture and flooding issues. This simple technique requires a hole dug to the size of the can, which is placed directly into the hole with the top 3 to 4 inches above ground.

Can you store milk in a root cellar?

Root cellars are officially for roots: potatoes, turnips, beets and carrots are the easiest to store. At the low temperature provided by most root cellars, these foods are unlikely to rot. Milk, butter, fresh meat and more were kept cool by the even temperatures of a root cellar.

How do you store potatoes in a root cellar?

Brush away dry soil, then cure in warm temperatures (80 to 85 degrees F) and high humidity (about 90 percent) for five to 10 days. Once cured, move to a cool, dry storage area (55 to 60 degrees F). You can wrap potatoes individually in paper and store in ventilated boxes or baskets.

Can I store potatoes in basement?

Potatoes should be stored in a dark environment at about 45˚F to 50˚F (7˚C to 10˚C). The relative humidity should be around 95% to prevent them from drying out. I store potatoes in an unheated corner of the basement that stays dark, cool, and performs just like a root cellar.

How long can you store potatoes?

Shelf life of potatoes

In general, uncooked potatoes can last anywhere from 1 week to a few months. Cooler temperatures, such as those afforded by a pantry or root cellar, allow them to keep longer than at room temperature.

How do you store potatoes and onions in the basement?

Hang in a dry cool place… when you want an onion, grab a pair of scissors and snip one off. Keep them in the dark: Potatoes and onions are best stored in the dark in a cool place (separately of course). If you have a basement, this is a great place to store them!