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Archena 01-29-2009 05:40 PM

Root Cellars
 
So, does anyone have one? I'm just curious. I'm thinking about maybe some day building one myself and was wondering if anybody had any experience with one.

gjbingham 01-29-2009 10:04 PM

Re: Root Cellars
 
Isn't that just a basement without a foundation?

nissanneill 01-30-2009 01:23 AM

Re: Root Cellars
 
Archena,
what exactly do you define as a 'root cellar?
Is it a knock shop under a house?
A basement with tree roots protruding through/into it?
Something quite different and special?

Bewildered and confused.

Neill

Archena 01-30-2009 04:09 AM

Re: Root Cellars
 
<picks up jaw off floor> You guys are kidding, right? :eek:


Here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/06/ga...root.html?_r=1

Build a Basement Root Cellar

FCIV - Root Cellar Construction


The ever (in)accurate Wiki: Root cellar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

And a really good article - check out the veggie list at the bottom: FCIV - Root Cellar Basics














Seriously, you're joking, aren't you? :confused:

Jed 01-30-2009 09:23 AM

Re: Root Cellars
 
Hi Archena,

I was curious about root cellars. So I built one. Read a bunch, and built one.

This was in Anchorage. 61 degree's north. (It's close to the arctic - ie cold winters - snow as early as September and lasts into April).

Because of where our house was, I picked a spot in the back yard and dug a hole. Maybe four feet square. (easy digging)

The bottom of the hole, I was trying for about six feet, ended up at about five and a half feet below the surface. I hit ground water. I built a wooden structure to create the space, and then buried the box, with an insulated trap door in the ceiling, insulated ceiling, and insulated walls, dirt floor, and ladder for access. A small space but serviceable.

As it turns out, the ground water would raise and fall, and caused enough problems I didn't use the root cellar very much. The ground water put way to much moisture into the space, and things got moldy pretty fast.

Temperature wise, it was great. The ambient soil temperature at five feet below the surface was around 50 degree's. I installed a fresh air vent - a 4 inch pipe that entered the space at the bottom bringing air from outside, and a hole that vented air out the top of the box. This worked pretty well to moderate temperatures. Things did not freeze in the root cellar.

We kept potatoes, and overwintered flower bulbs successfully.

A good experiment for me..

We are now in Central Oregon and I hope to build a similar structure here. A different set of challenges. We are short on soil here, and long on volcanics - ie rock. Our neighbor claims they have a lava tube under their house. I haven't figured out how to explore for a similar structure on our lot. How great would it be to have access to a lava tube? I get chicken skin just thinking about it!

I can ramble on at greater length if you have specific questions... I probably have an opinion..

JED

dmun 01-30-2009 10:15 AM

Re: Root Cellars
 
My mother used to call the enclosure beneath the basement stairs the root cellar. She kept canned goods there, and I think there was a bin or two for potatoes and onions (root crops, get it?) She was no gardener (nor much of a cook). A real root cellar might be more useful if you needed to keep a years vegetable harvest 'til the next autumn.

egalecki 01-30-2009 11:46 AM

Re: Root Cellars
 
I use my unheated garage as sort of a root cellar. It's probably upper 40's- low 50's in there. I find that keeping the things I have in there separated (squash not touching, etc) works best. But I don't have a lot of stuff. In Elliot Coleman's book Four Season Harvest, he has a section in there for building one into a basement space, with suggestions on how to keep different things- carrots in sand, etc. Great book.

nissanneill 01-31-2009 03:48 AM

Re: Root Cellars
 
Archena,

Quote:

<picks up jaw off floor> You guys are kidding, right?
Over here, these 'root cellars' were used mainly out in the country to kep food at a relatively low temp compared to surface temps.
However we just call them cellars. You might have a wine cellar where you store wine but a root cellar - well anything could be stored there right???
I guess I should have done a Google search first :D
Very few residences have them nowadays, one of those bygone features in houses.

Cheers

Neill

Archena 01-31-2009 05:18 AM

Re: Root Cellars
 
Oh, okay - you just don't use the same term. I couldn't believe you'd never heard of them at all.

They are rare here now as well, but are enjoying a kind of renaissance. I plan on living in a mobile home for the next several years even after I buy so having an underground shelter would be prudent just from a weather POV (tornados - Tornado Alley doesn't seem to know to stay in the Midwest). I'm thinking the dual use (root cellar/ storm shelter) would be a good way to go.

Archena 01-31-2009 05:33 AM

Re: Root Cellars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by egalecki (Post 50027)
I use my unheated garage as sort of a root cellar. It's probably upper 40's- low 50's in there. I find that keeping the things I have in there separated (squash not touching, etc) works best. But I don't have a lot of stuff. In Elliot Coleman's book Four Season Harvest, he has a section in there for building one into a basement space, with suggestions on how to keep different things- carrots in sand, etc. Great book.

Hi,

I've heard of that book. It's on my wish list.

Of course, so are quite a few others...:o


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