DIY





Roots Cellars

Pushed aside by the development of refrigeration technology, root cellars made a comeback among homesteaders in the 1970s and 80s.

| July/August 1980

A refrigerator in spring and summer, a safe-from-freezing pantry in fall and winter, and a man-made cave dug into a hillside and sealed shut with thick double doors ... root cellars were all of those things.

Not long ago, just about every family living in the world's colder climes had one of the harvest keepers. Nestled in the earth—and away from the heat of the kitchen—a root cellar maintained a temperature just above freezing and provided a practical storage bin for root crops, apples, meats, cabbages, and other goods ... throughout a long winter.

Of course, the heyday of the homestead food storer ended a good while ago. When folks gained access to refrigerators and supermarkets, the root cellar was pretty much forgotten. In fact, by the time I was a lad, all the food houses in our area had long since been abandoned. The deteriorating structures were used only by us youngsters ... as "secret" forts.

Nowadays, though, there's been a revival of interest in practical, inexpensive ways of putting up food. More and more people are rediscovering the wisdom of constructing a place to store unprocessed, homegrown edibles. And, even though building a cellar requires a fair investment in labor and materials, the finished shelter uses absolutely no operating energy and demands no maintenance or upkeep.



My father, Ted Roberts, recently built a root cellar in Three Lakes, Wisconsin. Dad started the project by excavating an 8' X 8' X 20' cavern using a backhoe.

The bottom of the cellar was lined with sand for drainage purposes. When building the walls, though, father laid a concrete base that had an upwardly protruding inner lip. The L-shaped foundation would both support the weight of the cedar log walls and brace the base of those rounds against the tons of sideways "cavein" pressure the earth-banked structure would be exposed to.

George Cuellar
11/2/2013 11:25:37 AM

This is wonderful, but what can I build in deep South Texas where is is seldom even cool; but is always hot.







mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: August 4-5, 2018
Albany, OR

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE







Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard