How to Build A Root Cellar

Categories: DIY

It’s easy to store your home-grown vegetables long term with a Root Cellar. A root cellar is an old-fashioned practice that will help keep your produce fresh and nutritious all winter long. There are many ways to set up a root cellar. But there are three things you must keep in mind: humidity, temperature and ventilation.

Keeping these three things in mind you can construct almost anything that will keep your food stored for a longer period of time.

Storing your summer and autumn harvest in a root cellar is smart. You can use natural properties to do the work for you. Here’s an article that will help you get started with your own root cellar. This is an excerpt from Robert’s Projects where you can read more in detail.

How to build a root cellar

We decided that our little farm needed a root cellar to store our produce in. For those unfamiliar with the term, a root cellar is an underground room that acts like a natural refrigerator, maintaining temperatures in the mid 30’s F in the winter and mid 50’s in the summer.

Step one: Dig a hole in the ground. We are fortunate to have a local gravedigger who is a real artist with a backhoe. He can carve a hole with straight sides almost within an inch of what you ask for.

Step two, pour a concrete footer. Then start laying blocks. About 320 went into this 8 x 8 foot cellar.

Almost finished here. Now, for the fun part, pouring a concrete roof. A simple flat slab wouldn’t do, for you want condensation to run off to the sides. So, I created a plywood from with an arched top. The arch would also create a stronger roof. It also created a very strong form.

I built the form in the shop, then dismantled it.

The arches are 1/2 inch plywood pressed into dadoed grooves in the 2×4’s. This created an extremely strong structure.

Satisfied with the form I reassembled it on the root cellar walls.

A nice snug fit, supported by 3 vertical 2×4’s on each side. (Not shown in the picture are 8 pieces of 1/2″ plywood approximately 6″ x 23″. These were installed after the plywood sheets were added. They are used as extra reinforcing ribs by wedging them between the plywood sheets and the top of the 2×4’s.) Next, the plywood, a sheet of plastic and lots of 1/2 rebar. Lots of rebar. Rebar is cheap, so why not? If this were a flat 4 inch slab, the calculated load rating is around 250 pounds/square foot. More then enough. But it is arched, and up to 5 inches thick. Also the rebar extends into the walls a foot, and are cemented in place. Not sure what the load rating is now, but it is certainly more than adequate.

18 half inch rebars on 8 inch centers. Strong enough!

Next, add a perimeter to the form and pour concrete. About 4,000 pounds worth. I expected at least a little deformationof my form, for all that weight was being borne by my 5 arches, but there was none! Impressive.

Read more at Robert’s Projects

via Homesead Notes

  Page Turn  

Related articles in DIY