Storing your harvest is a good way to manage surplus of produce and months when little is growing. There are many ways to store your vegetables, but the right space and storage can sometimes be a problem.
If you find yourself with an abundance of root vegetables like potatoes and carrots, or fruits like apples, don’t let them go to waste. Build a root cellar for storage, instead.
A root cellar is a type of storage facility that farmers and gardening enthusiasts use to store vegetables, fruits, and other perishable produce. The natural environment controls the temperature and humidity in a root cellar. This helps to keep the food inside fresh for extended periods.
You can turn an old refrigerator into an effective storage solution for your produce. If you don’t have access to an old fridge, you can also repurpose a chest freezer – just be sure to keep it in a cool, dark place. With a little effort, you can enjoy your homegrown produce all year round!
This informative and inspiring guide shows you not only how to construct your own root cellar, but how to best use the earth’s naturally cool, stable temperature as an energy-saving way to store nearly 100 varieties of perishable fruits and vegetables.
Farmers in Europe and North America have been using root cellars to keep their harvests from freezing during the winter and cool during the summer for hundreds of years. The earliest root cellars were built underground.
While they are called root cellars because people used them to store root crops, the farmers and homesteaders of the 17th and 18th century also used them to keep fruits and other vegetables fresh.
Root cellars are one of the oldest food storage methods still in use today. Many modern farmers, homesteaders, and gardening enthusiasts still use root cellars to store their harvests, along with modern appliances that store food like refrigerators and freezers. Root cellars are the preferred post-harvest system of people who value self-sufficiency, as well.
These simple storage systems can also be used to store food purchased from a grocery store or farmers’ market. Either way, a root cellar is a smart way to keep food fresh.
These days, you can build one with earthbags, concrete blocks, or timber. If you live in an area with a cold climate, a root cellar can still help you keep your food from freezing.
There are a few things to consider when you’re deciding how to build your root cellar. The first is what material you want to use. Earthbags are a popular choice because they’re easy to work with and they’re environmentally friendly. Concrete blocks are another popular choice because they’re durable and they won’t rot or decay like timber.
Of course, building a root cellar into the ground will require plans for an extensive construction project and considerable space in your yard. For a job like that, we suggest that you consult with a professional contractor to get an estimate of the costs and timeline involved.
If you’re looking for a simpler, easier, more cost-effective option, you can recycle an old refrigerator or chest freezer. This is perfect for gardeners who tend relatively smaller gardens but produce an abundance of produce. Root cellars are likewise an excellent way to reduce your carbon footprint and help the environment!
Do you need this in your yard? View our album to see more of this idea and head over to a step-by-step guide from The Walden Effect through the link below!
Note: Please be mindful of refrigerator safety protocols. Never use a fridge or freezer that can’t be opened from the inside.
What you’ll need to build your own root cellar…
You’ll need these materials:
- Old Refrigerator (or Chest Freezer)
- Plastic Food Baskets
- 2×4 Timber
- Scrap Wood
- 4 Cinder Blocks
- Foam Faucet Cover
- PVC Pipe
- Screen (for keeping bugs out)
- Screws and Nails
And these tools:
- Post Hole Digger
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You can get step-by-step instructions from The Walden Effect over here…