Saturday, November 19, 2011

Design for a Simple Root or Vegetable Cellar

This is a century-old plan for building an inexpensive "temporary" cellar for storing vegetables. With the abundance of materials (including recyclables) available today, please innovate to improve upon this old design! There are six photos at the end of the post illustrating other root cellar designs, too.

A very effective and useful temporary cellar may be constructed after the following method, as shown by the drawings:

Dig a pit 15 feet long, 10 feet wide, 4 feet deep in a solid, dry place where the drainage is good.

Put a gable roof of 1-inch board over the hole, supported by 2 x 4-inch strips at the eaves, gable and half way up the sides.

Strengthen by crossbeams and a central support if the lumber is not first class.

Over this place 8 to 10 inches of dry straw well packed and over the entire structure, excepting one end, pack earth 12-14 inches deep.

The surface should be smooth to shed water. It is better if plastered with mud covered with sods.

The door end must be double-walled and the space filled with straw. The door must also be double and its margin packed with cloth strips, so as to be practically airtight.

If possible, the pit should be drained by a tile, the end of which is covered with a piece of wire netting to prevent the entrance of rodents.

Such a cellar will prevent freezing during usual winter weather.

The door should be opened on mild days and the interior aired thoroughly. The size and depth of the pit may be varied according to needs.

Note that instructions are taken from the 1912 book, "Handy Farm Devices and How to Make Them" by Rolfe Cobleigh, which is online through Cornell University. [pdf]

Other Root Cellar Photos to Inspire You:







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