Root cellars

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Medusa
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Location: UK

Root cellars

Post by Medusa » Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:32 pm

Something which appears to be more popular within the US, but does anyone here have one? It is unlikely that our future property will have a cellar so we would need to build/dig something. There are lots of plans online including one made from tyres and sand and a company within the UK that makes plastic ones for a mere £14k!! :0 Currently researching the basics but would be interested in people's experience. I am aware that there are other ways to preserve such as canning etc but would want this as an alternative storage solution. Years ago, when I was a child, we, my parents and grandparents used to pick apples from orchards and store these wrapped in newspaper in a cool box room and they kept for ages, so a similar idea. Just looking for as many different ways as possible to store the harvest.
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Clarebelle
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Re: Root cellars

Post by Clarebelle » Tue Oct 02, 2018 5:54 am

I have thought about it before now. I've seen ones that are as basic as an old chest freezer buried in the ground or big walk in undergroud storage sheds! What has made me consider one is the fact that it is very humid here which means anything stored in sheds or whereever gets damp and moldy. I have no idea whether being underground would solve this problem but it does seem to be a tried and tested method of food storage in the US.

Arzosah
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Re: Root cellars

Post by Arzosah » Tue Oct 02, 2018 8:25 am

I don't have one, but I used one when I stayed with relatives in Switzerland. Their cellar was laid out with the classic arrangement - slatted shelves, 4 or 5 high I can't remember, and the apples were each stored resting on two slats, to get as much air as possible around them. In the heatwave, it was very cool.

It must certainly be possible to *add* a cellar to a house that doesn't have one, there's plenty of firms that do that now, but of course the ground floor, at the very least, will be uninhabitable (though I do know one family of adults who stayed in the house and had walkways of planks across the hole :shock:

It certainly gets the most bang for the buck in terms of footprint - though bear in mind where the water table is, tanking or something called osmotic waterproofing. I can't find a link, but an acquaintance in London had it done, and she loved it. No idea of the cost though, sorry. As Clarebelle says, there's very cheap ways of doing it - get a few chest freezers off freegle and gumtree, and you're away :)
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IainT
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Re: Root cellars

Post by IainT » Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:13 am

I think I read you can do something similar with a plastic dust bin set in the ground with the top sitting a couple of inches proud of the surface to protect against flooding. I saw it in Abundance by Alys Fowler but I don't have my copy to hand.

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ukpreppergrrl
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Re: Root cellars

Post by ukpreppergrrl » Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:56 pm

To help gauge costs of a proper cellar being added to a house after it has already been built here is the info about a colleague who had his cellar dug out a couple of years ago. He has an end of terrace house circa 1870s. Like me he already had a good 4 foot gap between his floorboards and the earth for ventilation. The digging out comprised digging under the foundations a little bit, jacking up the house, filling in, digging under, jacking up, filling in, repeat. Here in London we have clay soil. He may have had to have the room tanked as well, I can't remember. Total cost was in the region of £60,000. So not cheap!
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jansman
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Re: Root cellars

Post by jansman » Tue Oct 02, 2018 3:06 pm

IainT wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:13 am
I think I read you can do something similar with a plastic dust bin set in the ground with the top sitting a couple of inches proud of the surface to protect against flooding. I saw it in Abundance by Alys Fowler but I don't have my copy to hand.
I did that with a galvanised bin,but eventually it rotted.In hindsight I should have coated it in bitumen.However,I dug it out,widened the hole and lined it with bricks.Oak boards on top,and great for storing apples,and suchlike.Not used it for sometime,but its always there.Almost forgot about it tbh,as it has concrete slabs stood on it.
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hedgerowpete
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Re: Root cellars

Post by hedgerowpete » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:05 am

at my allotment i trialled several ideas, one was insulated bins above ground these where slightly burried intot he ground to get the cool earth into them and the insulation kept the heat out and it worked quite well.

the one i favoured was plastic 200litre screw top bins in the ground, we actually sunk them into the foot path and each had a paving slab on its top as part of the foot path propper. being plastic they dont rot and being plastic they lasted very well, condensation can be an issue depending on the ground conditions. i used to have a sock filled with cat litter and a string at the base to absorb the moisture, we would swap them out and dry them on a radiator at work.

the same idea of a sock and cat litter on the car dash also stops over night windscreen condensation as well.

to get food in and out i went for a lift out shelf set up on a rope, round disks 450mm round and spaced out so theres four shelves in the barrel an then a ring of plastic to hold the food in, in the case of spuds and root veg it was a net bag and rope and drop the whole bag in there.

worked well, the only issue is digging a hole deep enough to drop a barrel into

hedgerowpete
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Re: Root cellars

Post by hedgerowpete » Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:14 am

ukpreppergrrl wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:56 pm
To help gauge costs of a proper cellar being added to a house after it has already been built here is the info about a colleague who had his cellar dug out a couple of years ago. He has an end of terrace house circa 1870s. Like me he already had a good 4 foot gap between his floorboards and the earth for ventilation. The digging out comprised digging under the foundations a little bit, jacking up the house, filling in, digging under, jacking up, filling in, repeat. Here in London we have clay soil. He may have had to have the room tanked as well, I can't remember. Total cost was in the region of £60,000. So not cheap!
in construction its the cheapest form of house extension after the loft, especially in london.

we refere to it as underpinning, sometimes people like to call them iceberg basements, once your below 6m deep you can do the whole width and length of your garden if you can afford it

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Deeps
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Re: Root cellars

Post by Deeps » Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:03 am

hedgerowpete wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:05 am
at my allotment i trialled several ideas, one was insulated bins above ground these where slightly burried intot he ground to get the cool earth into them and the insulation kept the heat out and it worked quite well.

the one i favoured was plastic 200litre screw top bins in the ground, we actually sunk them into the foot path and each had a paving slab on its top as part of the foot path propper. being plastic they dont rot and being plastic they lasted very well, condensation can be an issue depending on the ground conditions. i used to have a sock filled with cat litter and a string at the base to absorb the moisture, we would swap them out and dry them on a radiator at work.

the same idea of a sock and cat litter on the car dash also stops over night windscreen condensation as well.

to get food in and out i went for a lift out shelf set up on a rope, round disks 450mm round and spaced out so theres four shelves in the barrel an then a ring of plastic to hold the food in, in the case of spuds and root veg it was a net bag and rope and drop the whole bag in there.

worked well, the only issue is digging a hole deep enough to drop a barrel into
A root cellar is something I fancy but the missus isn't keen. I might be able to swing it on the allotment though so that's useful. I like the sock idea.

hedgerowpete
Posts: 74
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:18 pm

Re: Root cellars

Post by hedgerowpete » Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:39 pm

you dont even have to dig down, lie two on there side and cover with soil and grass turf with a sliding draw system. i saw someone do a dozen side ways and more on top on a banked hedgerow and grew grass over the top to bury them

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