I’ve still been working on the root cellar. There were three days of rain that made a mess of everything, mostly mud and wet conditions where I didn’t try to do any work. Then when the weather broke, I finally installed the roofing on my shop. Metal roofing is now $3.25 a foot, that’s a 100% price increase over this time last year.
I got that done and moved on to several other smaller projects. I double-sided the root cellar, it now has a inch and a half of plywood for the sidewalls, probably a bit overkill, but I have the material available and the peace of mind knowing I tried pretty hard to build it the way I wanted.
There are two basic kinds of root cellars, the dry storage cellar and the “root” cellar, where you deliberately plan for high levels of humidity (80%+) to keep your root crops moist. I’m going for the dry cellar design, with low humidity, which is best for the type of food storage I sell. I have about a 7 year food supply for a dozen people or so now, and I need storage that is dry, but cool. This will be perfect for storable food and even gives me the option of putting in some root crops later.
My cellar design is very basic, no frills, just tons of room. It will be enveloped in plastic sheeting when I’m done and maybe some tar. Right now, I’m still in the framing construction stage:
The floor has been leveled and built up, cross members installed and braced, and the ridgepole installed. It’s about 100″ or so to the ridgepole, which is pretty high as root cellars go. I intend to have as much space as I need.
Most of the cellar will still be below ground level. Vent caps will be installed (probably two), and if I want, I can divide the cellar front to back, or even side-to-side and make one side high humidity and the other side dry. For now, it’ll be a dry cellar design.
There is no one right way to build one of these things, you can do pretty much whatever you want. I’ve received all kinds of advice on how to do one of these, but if you look around and check the ‘Net, you can find dozens of different designs. They all work, just build whatever you want or need.
I conceived this one in my head, didn’t write anything down and just dug a hole and set myself to building it. It’s not fancy, but it will work. Shelves will be installed wherever necessary, but for the most part, food buckets will simply be put on pallets to allow air flow, and #10 cans put on top of the buckets.
Next come the roof ‘trusses’ that will be spiked in, more plywood sheeting on top, the front construction for doors, and finally, waterproofing and then burying. Hopefully, the rain won’t come back for a few weeks.