Monday, August 30, 2010

Root cellaring, essential for the self sufficient home...

Having a large storage of your own home grown produce is one of the biggest steps to self sufficiency there is.  While canning and drying are very time and energy consuming, root cellaring, when done properly, is the best low energy food preservation option out there.  The most energy put into it is making a root cellar.  Once you have this done you are pretty much good to go indefinitely as long as you keep your cellar in good shape.  We were lucky enough to move into a house that already had a room in the cellar on the NE side of the house that was put there for just this purpose.  The only problem we face now is that the room have pretty much no insulation.  When the house was built I assume there was a wood burning stove in the kitchen and the fireplace was used for heat.  Now we have this monster of a furnace on the other side of the root cellar wall...

Seriously this thing is huge but it pumps out heat like a champ and is really not that expensive to run....

The duct work is HUGE!  I might be able to crawl through those if I wanted! Here is the room on the other side...
Yup, this is it...our root cellar.  Did I hear you scream?  Oh wait, that was me.  Kind of Silence of the Lambs creepy isn't it?  The brackets on the right are some kind of shelf I suppose.  I thought I could put some sturdy planks across and store my canned goods but it is slightly wobbly.  I would hate for hours and hours of canning to be wasted so I want to make sure that sucker is sturdy before I put anything on it.  The window will need to be taken out and replaced with some kind of vent.

The door is made of various planks, some are leftover pieces of flooring and the others are probably other left over pieces of construction from the house.  This needs done first.  Also above the door is a 3 inch gap that needs filled.  Around the door is another 1/2 in gap that was filled with old crumpled newspaper.  I am not sure what good that was supposed to do seeing as there are 1/2 in gaps in between the planks on the door and the 3 in gap on the top, but who am I to judge?  A year ago I read Root Cellaring by Mike and Nancy Bubel.  This is the source for root cellaring knowledge.  I got it from the library a couple of times but this is a keeper so I went ahead and bought it recently.  Even if you live in an apartment they cover how to convert a closet space to a make shift root cellar.  A really great resource.  I suggest you take it out from your local library if you are interested but I will bet you will want to buy it when you are done!


  1. we dug an in the mtn one here... never again lol
    i have actually found that our closed off living room keeps things better through the winter than the dug cellar does

  2. Hmmm interesting. We have an upstairs pantry that stays really cool but it doesn't have any ventillation.

  3. Your basement looks a lot like the one in our first house. Actually, your house looks like our first house. We had a 1911 American Four Square style house in a small town outside of Columbus before we moved to the woods. Amazing how many crops you grow on a small piece of land.