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Build a Root Cellar

Melissa Dunlap is a writer, editor and blogger specializing in lifestyle communications. Fueled by curiosity, and a tad too much coffee, Melissa enjoys dissecting current trends for the modern woman. When she's not having dance parties w...

Store veggies in a root cellar to enjoy them all winter.

Proper vegetable storage is important if you want your harvest to last through the winter.  Root cellars have been a tried-and-true method for storing vegetables for centuries, and converting a section of your basement into an appropriate root cellar area.


Proper vegetable storage is important if you want your harvest to last through the winter.  Root cellars have been a tried-and-true method for storing vegetables for centuries, and converting a section of your basement into an appropriate root cellar area.

A root cellar is a cool storage space, and traditionally a home's cellar provided the right balance of humidity, coolness and insulation. Modern homes often have heat and are too warm for vegetable storage, but you can wall off an area of the basement and adjust the climate in that sub-room.

A corner is an easy place to start for building a root cellar room in your basement, and concrete corner walls will hold cold to help chill your root cellar room to temperatures around 40 F. It should also be in the dampest area of the basement because you want about 80% humidity. Choose a corner with windows, because fresh air circulation is important. Replace the glass window with a vent that you can open and close to keep the temperature close to freezing.

Use cedar or another rot-resistant wood for your wall frame since basements are damp and you'll need a structure that can stand up to the moisture. Insulate with foam insulation and add a door. The room doesn't need to be airtight, but less air loss will make it easier to control the temperature inside. Use foam or caulk to fill any holes.

Inside the root cellar room, wood bins or shelves are good choices for storing your harvest.
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