Building an Above Ground Root Cellar: A Step-by-Step Guide

Building an Above Ground Root Cellar: A Step-by-Step Guide

Building an Above Ground Root Cellar: A Handy Guide for Every Homeowner

Introduction

When it comes to storing fruits and vegetables for an extended period, having an above ground root cellar can be a game-changer. Root cellars have been used for centuries as a means of preserving produce without the need for refrigeration. They provide a cool, dark, and humid environment that helps to preserve the freshness and nutritional value of your fruits and vegetables.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of building your own above ground root cellar. Whether you’re a seasoned prepper or just someone looking to extend the shelf life of your garden harvest, this guide is for you.

Materials Needed

Before you start building, it’s essential to gather all the necessary materials. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

1. Concrete Blocks

Concrete blocks will serve as the foundation for your above ground root cellar. Choose durable blocks that can withstand the weight of the structure and provide good insulation.

2. Pressure-Treated Lumber

Pressure-treated lumber will be used for the frame of your root cellar. Make sure to choose lumber that is resistant to rot and decay.

3. Plywood

Plywood will be used to cover the frame and create the walls and roof of your root cellar. Opt for plywood with good insulation properties.

4. Insulation

Insulation is crucial to maintaining a consistent temperature inside your root cellar. Fiberglass insulation or foam board insulation are good options.

5. Ventilation Pipes

Proper ventilation is essential to control the humidity inside your root cellar. Install ventilation pipes to allow fresh air to circulate.

6. Door

Choose a sturdy door that can be tightly sealed to keep the cool air inside the root cellar.

Building Process

Now that you have all the necessary materials, let’s dive into the building process. Follow these steps to construct your above ground root cellar:

Step 1: Choose a Location

Selecting the right location for your root cellar is vital. Look for a spot in your yard that receives minimal sunlight and stays cool throughout the day. A north-facing slope is an ideal choice.

Step 2: Excavation

Prepare the ground by excavating a hole that is deep and wide enough to accommodate your root cellar. Remove any rocks, debris, or vegetation from the area.

Step 3: Lay the Foundation

Lay the concrete blocks in a way that forms the base of your root cellar. Use a level to ensure that the blocks are even and stable. This will serve as the foundation for the rest of the structure.

Step 4: Frame Construction

Using the pressure-treated lumber, construct the frame for your root cellar. Make sure to measure and cut the lumber accurately to ensure a sturdy structure. Attach the frame to the concrete blocks using brackets or screws.

Step 5: Insulation

Cover the frame with insulation material such as fiberglass or foam board. This will help maintain a consistent temperature inside the root cellar.

Step 6: Walls and Roof

Cover the insulation with plywood to create the walls and roof of your root cellar. Make sure to leave space for ventilation pipes and the door.

Step 7: Ventilation

Install ventilation pipes at opposite ends of the root cellar to allow fresh air to circulate. This will help control humidity and prevent the buildup of mold or mildew.

Step 8: Door Installation

Install a sturdy door that can be tightly sealed to keep the cool air inside. Consider adding weather-stripping to ensure a tight seal and prevent air leakage.

Step 9: Finishing Touches

Inspect the root cellar for any gaps or cracks and seal them with caulk or insulation. Make sure all the components are secure and functioning properly.

Benefits of an Above Ground Root Cellar

Building an above ground root cellar offers several benefits, including:

  • Longer shelf life for your fruits and vegetables
  • Cost-effective alternative to refrigeration
  • Reduction in food waste
  • Protection against pests and rodents
  • Self-sufficiency in storing your own produce

Conclusion

Having an above ground root cellar can be a valuable addition to any home. Not only does it provide a practical solution for storing fruits and vegetables, but it also allows you to become more self-sufficient and reduce your reliance on refrigeration.

Remember to carefully plan your root cellar, gather the necessary materials, and follow the building process step by step. Once your root cellar is complete, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of fresh produce for an extended period.

My 2 Cents

Building an above ground root cellar is a rewarding project that can enhance your food storage capabilities. However, it’s important to ensure proper ventilation and insulation to maintain an optimal environment for your produce. Regularly monitor the temperature and humidity levels inside the root cellar to prevent spoilage. Additionally, consider labeling and organizing your fruits and vegetables for easy access and rotation. With a well-built root cellar, you’ll be able to enjoy the bounty of your garden all year round.