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#1 dryrun OFFLINE  

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Posted December 03, 2010 - 03:27 PM

I hope this is the best place to post this, so here goes. I live in a rural area of southern Indiana. I have a lot of neighbors and friends that have large gardens, truck patches etc. I do a little mechanic work, electrical, and welding for them. the result of this is that I am always welcome to all the beans, tomatoes,corn etc that I can haul home. So I do not garden on my own. I just wondered what other people do to store home canned foods and potatoes. We do not have a basement , but I do have an old cellar cut into the side of a hill. I am thinking about fixing this up as a root cellar, It is about 12 by 12 feet. Would like to hear opinions as to floor drainage, roof and insulation, and any ideas as far as storage is concerned

Thanks in advance for any opinions.

regards GEORGE
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#2 Bolens 1000 OFFLINE  

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Posted December 03, 2010 - 06:48 PM

-Potatoes like it cool and dark. I usually store mine in old milk crates and stack them.
-Canned foods you really don't have to worry too much on spoiling as long as its sealed. Just stack them on a shelf.
I think the root cellar with some shelves in it would make a great place to store your stuff.
Hopefully someone more experienced will chime in

#3 caseguy OFFLINE  

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Posted December 03, 2010 - 07:19 PM

The only concern that I would have with your root cellar is whether or not it will get below freezing in there. We had one growing up, but it was just a room off of our basement. If it were completely earth sheltered, it probably wouldn't get too much lower that 55 or 60 F in there. If it freezes, it'll ruin everything, and I'm not sure, but I think there's a minimum "safe" temperature for storing potatoes too.

#4 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted December 03, 2010 - 07:23 PM

Years & years ago, we had an unreal crop of potatoes. Dad dug 3 holes in the woods (bowl shaped) about 10' wide & 3 ' deep, lined it with cardboard & straw, added the potatoes, then covered with more cardboard/straw with dirt on top. Opened one up in January. Had taters all winter. Come spring, they looked like we just buried them.

#5 rust addict OFFLINE  

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Posted June 14, 2015 - 05:00 PM

Depends on how much work is needed to get it back on track and if it just needs repairs it all depends on what it's made of. Mother Earth News just recently ran some articles on using a preformed cement septic tank (preferably new) with a few modifications to it. Supposedly it is easy, cost effective and long lasting. Give it a look.



#6 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted June 16, 2015 - 11:06 PM

I hope this is the best place to post this, so here goes. I live in a rural area of southern Indiana. I have a lot of neighbors and friends that have large gardens, truck patches etc. I do a little mechanic work, electrical, and welding for them. the result of this is that I am always welcome to all the beans, tomatoes,corn etc that I can haul home. So I do not garden on my own. I just wondered what other people do to store home canned foods and potatoes. We do not have a basement , but I do have an old cellar cut into the side of a hill. I am thinking about fixing this up as a root cellar, It is about 12 by 12 feet. Would like to hear opinions as to floor drainage, roof and insulation, and any ideas as far as storage is concerned

Thanks in advance for any opinions.

regards GEORGE

We are thinking alike here. When I was a kid every farm did have a root cellar , where garden produce and canned goods were available all winter. I have about 300 concrete blocks and have a side hill picked out to dig back into.
You do have to keep it ventilated and may need drainage.
You will need to do some research. One of the best places to start would be the County Extention Service.
It is basically a Extention of the state college and the department of Agriculture.
Some of the information will be dated. From the depression and through WW II, when everyone was encouraged to plant victory gardens. That is also a good source for methods for preserving the produce.
While dated it worked when my parents were young and there is no reason it will not now.

Edited by JD DANNELS, June 16, 2015 - 11:07 PM.

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#7 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted June 16, 2015 - 11:17 PM

[quote name="caseguy" post="28846" timestamp="1291421942"]The only concern that I would have with your root cellar is whether or not it will get below freezing in there. We had one growing up, but it was just a room off of our basement. If it were completely earth sheltered, it probably wouldn't get too much lower that 55 or 60 F in there. If it freezes, it'll ruin everything, and I'm not sure, but I think there's a minimum "safe" temperature for storing potatoes too.[/quote

Once you get below the frost line(that is about 48inches) in Iowa soil temp stays around 55-60 degrees.
That would depend on where frost line runs in a given area.

Most of the cellars I have seen were deep enough to use a standard size door(6th 8 inches) and 3 or 4 steps down.
So at 6 ft down or better it would not freeze here.

#8 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted June 16, 2015 - 11:25 PM

-Potatoes like it cool and dark. I usually store mine in old milk crates and stack them.
-Canned foods you really don't have to worry too much on spoiling as long as its sealed. Just stack them on a shelf.
I think the root cellar with some shelves in it would make a great place to store your stuff.
Hopefully someone more experienced will chime in

You are right about the canned goods. There is a museum in Kansas City, the river boat Arabia sank in 1854.
And was found and recovered along with most of it's cargo in a Kansas cornfield 132yrs later.
They found pickles were crisp and tasty as they would have been when canned.

Edited by JD DANNELS, June 16, 2015 - 11:26 PM.

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#9 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted June 17, 2015 - 08:11 AM

I had another thought, and again this would take a little research. Depending how the cellar your working on is made. This may be something you would want to check since most cellars were made with either brick or tile blocks in this area.
My father -in law had a home over 100 yrs old and the basement was of soft red brick and the mortar was deteriating badly.
in late fall we had many tons of sand dumped down the coal chute.
He got a hold of his Dad and got the formula for the mortar that was used to line the silo on the farm.
I do not rember the mix but do remeber that it included ALUM.
It made for a good hard water proof plaster that was hard and durable, we spent many winter evenings and Saturdays plastering the whole basement. He did most of the plastering and I mixed the plaster in a mud boat with a hoe.
I drive by that house often and as far as I know 35 yrs later it is holding up well.

Edited by JD DANNELS, June 17, 2015 - 08:19 AM.

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