Guide to Root Cellars

1 / 3
2 / 3
3 / 3

Building a root cellar not only saves money at the grocery store on out-of-season fruits and vegetables, but it also allows you to live well and independently. With a well-planned root cellar, your produce storage can expand from the storage standbys like carrots and potatoes to make room for fresh tomatoes, crisp apples and even juicy melon. Through years of experience, our experts show how to build and maintain a root cellar of your own and properly store your fresh, organic produce to enjoy year-round.

Build Your Own Root Cellar

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

Build a Basement Root Cellar
Storing crops in a passively cooled basement root cellar is one of the most efficient ways to preserve food.

Building a Root Cellar
Building a root cellar took longer than the author thought, but once completed it was an effective structure for year-round food storage.

Outdoor Root Cellars
Five easy ways to store fresh food for winter right in your garden — it’s as easy as tossing a bagful of leaves over a patch of carrots!

Build a Root Cellar: A Complete Guidebook
If you’re aiming to save money, live a more sustainable life, or simply stock up on the best-quality produce from farmers markets, a root cellar can be a wise addition to your country, suburban or even urban homestead.

Root Cellaring
This guide to root cellaring will teach you everything you need to know about building and using your own root cellar to enjoy a year-round harvest.

Country Lore: Dig a Bucket-Size Root Cellar
A 5-gallon bucket and bucket-size hole are all you need to make a simple root cellar for carrots.

Converting an Old Refrigerator into a Root Cellar
What started as a broken refrigerator destined for the garbage dump turned into a sustainable and inexpensive way to store vegetables.

Low-Cost Root Cellar: Bury a Boat!
Check out this novel way to create a backyard, underground food-storage facility.

Build a Root Cellar
Store vegetables underground safely by building your own root cellar, a concrete wall structure.

Build Your Own Food Storage Unit to Store Vegetables
MOTHER EARTH NEWS gives readers information on a build it yourself food storage chest that acts like a portable root cellar to store vegetables.

Low-Cost Multipurpose Earthbag Building
With this novel technique you can make an earthbag building to serve as a studio, garden shed, chicken coop, or root/storm cellar — no permit required!

How to Build a Cave
Learn how to build a small, water-tight cave that’s perfect for storing vegetables or for using as a private retreat.

Build This Outdoor Cold Cellar
Build a wood box, bury it part way in the ground, lay on a cover, and viola! You have an outdoor cold cellar to store vegetables for the winter.

An Easy Method for Storing Vegetables Underground
An alternative to building a root cellar is storing vegetables underground using a plastic storage box underneath a hole, mounded with leaves or sawdust.

White Trash or Ingenious Invention? 
Decide for yourself with this guide to converting an old refrigerator into a root cellar.

Under The Stairs
Take inspiration from this article and find unconventional spaces in your home for produce storage.

Installing a Roof and Creating Prefabricated Root Cellars
MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers receive guidance on roof safety when installing a roof, and using a chest freezer as a root cellar.

Self-Sufficient Life: The Mother Earth News Almanac
This article contains excerpts from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS ALMANAC, a 384 page book of recipes, tips, hints, projects, and other assorted ephemera for people wishing to lead a self-sufficient life.

Root Cellar Plans
These unique root cellar plans show you how to build a root cellar for food storage by adapting a new concrete septic tank.


Root Cellar Management

The Fundamentals of Root Cellaring
Root cellaring can help you enjoy fresh produce all year long.

Do You Have Any Recommendations on Ventilation for a Root Cellar?
Learn proper root cellar ventilation techniques from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS experts.

Root Cellaring, Mulching Materials, and Other Wisdom From Helen and Scott Nearing
In this installment of their regular column, Helen and Scott Nearing answer reader questions about effective root cellaring, mulching materials, other topics relevant to homesteading.

Storing Your Produce

Stocking the Root Cellar: How to Store Vegetables Over the Winter
Keep winter vegetables fresh underground, including guidelines for preparation, curing, and storage.

Preparing for the Root Cellar: Harvesting and Post-Harvest Handling of Vegetables
If you time the harvest right and pay attention to your post-harvest handling of vegetables and fruits, you can get the most of your storage crops.

A Well-Stocked Root Cellar is a Valuable Asset for Self-Sufficiency
A well-stocked root cellar can help ease the transition from winter to spring and help us be more prepared in post-September 11 America.

How to Store Fresh Vegetables
You can learn the best crops to grow or buy, and how to store fresh vegetables year round.

Enjoy Fresh Food in Winter
Be more self-reliant by using natural cold storage.

Preserving Food for Winter Storage
Mary Lou Shaw preserves her summer’s harvest by freezing, canning, drying and winter storage in a homemade, basement root cellar.

How to Preserve Food Without Refrigeration
It is possible to preserve food without refrigeration by canning, drying or using a root cellar.

Have Fresh Food Throughout the Year
Learn the best tips for drying, freezing and canning food, including a list of the methods that are most suitable for preserving different kinds of food.

Fridge-less Living: Our Favorite Food Preservation Methods and Tips
Our favorite old-time food preservation methods include canning and storing food in a root cellar, drying fruits and vegetables and pickling.

Grow It! Preserving Food for Winter
Richard Langer explains how to preserve your harvest for winter by drying fruits, fermenting sauerkraut, building root cellars and churning homemade butter.

DIY Produce Storage Bins
Turn your pantry into a movable feast with fresh crops stashed in these stackable produce storage bins. The plans offer two versions of DIY storage bins: tall and short. Best of all, these pantry storage containers can be easily moved from the garden to the house and back again.

Photos by Fotolia