Build a Root Cellar

Root cellars have been used for centuries, before electricity and refrigeration was the norm they were used to keep the harvest good during the winter. While it’s not such a common sight today many rural homes have a root cellar. In a grid down scenario not having refrigeration can literally mean life or death. With a good root cellar or even a simple pot in pot cooler you can prolong the life of your foods and have a greater chance at survival.

How it works:

A root cellar is a great place to store food because of the low temperature and low humidity. This keeps food from freezing in the winter and overheating in the summer. The soil on top of the root cellar the earth acts as the temperature control.

Originally root cellars held mostly vegetables but they can also accommodate certain fruits and beverages. It was not uncommon in past times to have a root cellar full of alcoholic beverages. Some other foods can be kept in a root cellar primarily jams, salted meat, bread, butter, cheese and even milk and cream. Some food like salads, meat and pies can be kept in the root cellar but this will only prolong their life for a short time. Many other foods will sour and rot even if kept in the root cellar.

Some Examples:
Build a Root Cellar
Build a Root Cellar
Build a Root Cellar
Build a Root Cellar

Wanna build your own root cellar? Here’s how

Building a Root Cellar – Picture Sequence

Build a Basement Root Cellar

Do-It-Yourself: Root Cellar Building Guide

Building a Storm Shelter

Root Cellar Plans

Simpler Root Cellars

Cold Storage Pit

Above Ground Root Cellar

Simple Basement Storage Shelter

Small, Cost-effective Root Cellar Design

Food Storage Designs

Winter Food Storage: Root Cellar Design

Pot in Pot Coolers

Pot-in-Pot Cooler Design

DIY – Pot in Pot Cooler Plans

How to Make a Pot-in-Pot Refrigerator

More Info

Root Cellar Storage Guide

Return of the Root Cellars

Preparing Food for Home Storage

Design an Arctic Root Cellar

Great Books

email

, ,

44 Responses to Build a Root Cellar

  1. Jeremy February 18, 2009 at 4:30 pm #

    Great post, better site! I came here looking to learn how to turn a downstairs pantry into a root cellar and though I found this info on another site, I’ve been back to this site twice today researching survival topics. That’s why I say, good post, but it’s a great site!

  2. Survival Spot February 18, 2009 at 4:55 pm #

    Thanks Jeremy! Feel free to give us any suggestions on how to improve but I’m glad you like it.

  3. Jeremy May 11, 2009 at 5:44 pm #

    Great post, better site! I came here looking to learn how to turn a downstairs pantry into a root cellar and though I found this info on another site, I’ve been back to this site twice today researching survival topics. That’s why I say, good post, but it’s a great site!

  4. dreamrequest April 14, 2010 at 2:37 am #

    Greetings and thanks for the site.

    We just bought a great piece of land – 2 acres with an active brook at the back. It also has an in ground swimming pool – with ripped liner. Gives us the choice to fill it in or…… turn it into a root cellar. I also want to put a hoop house above it for seedlings.

    Would love advice on what to do for the roof – I'll need to be able to walk on it. Any ideas?

  5. dreamrequest April 13, 2010 at 7:37 pm #

    Greetings and thanks for the site.

    We just bought a great piece of land – 2 acres with an active brook at the back. It also has an in ground swimming pool – with ripped liner. Gives us the choice to fill it in or…… turn it into a root cellar. I also want to put a hoop house above it for seedlings.

    Would love advice on what to do for the roof – I'll need to be able to walk on it. Any ideas?

  6. Survivalspot May 26, 2010 at 5:20 pm #

    Congratulations on your new property! I think converting your in ground pool to a root cellar is an awesome idea! Maybe you could even use part of it for an emergency shelter. Here is a link with some good information on the different types of roofing material with a walkable surface:http://reliableamerican.us/services/low-slope-roo

  7. dui law November 5, 2010 at 2:10 pm #

    thank you for this interesting information I will post a link on my blog so my readers can benefit from it also.

  8. Survival Skills December 4, 2010 at 10:05 pm #

    I LOVE the schoolbus idea for a root cellar. Having had several kinds of root cellars, that would be really cool. I bet one could take a semi trailer and do the same thing… hmmm… you got me thinking now!

    • goldamazon September 25, 2013 at 11:00 pm #

      Don't buy a semi trailer to bury. They don't have the same support as a school bus and the sides will buckle. Same with sea cans don't put them underground. The pillars in the corners are strong enough to take stacking but the sides are not strong enough to take the pressure of being underground.
      A school bus is designed to be stronger and the rounded roofs won't buckle as fast under a layer of earth.
      This site is about a guy that built the worlds largest private fallout shelter using buses so might be worth a look. http://www.radmeters4u.com/arktwo/photoconstruct/

  9. Womens Clothing January 20, 2011 at 6:43 am #

    Wow what a man made tunnels and caves.I just want to see more and more.

  10. Womens Clothing February 2, 2011 at 1:02 am #

    That's really a cool idea, nice post bro.

  11. recados para orkut February 11, 2011 at 3:15 am #

    Learn to build a basement will help your family preserve and store food for the winter season. Not long ago, almost all families in the colder climates of the world had one of these guardians of the crop for storing food – a basement. Located on the ground – and away from the heat of the kitchen – a cellar maintains a temperature just above freezing and storage of food always practical for root crops, apples, meat and cabbage through a long winter .

  12. Survivalspot March 8, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    Thanks Josh! We really appreciate the feedback. We work hard at the site but absolutely love every minute of it! We always welcome your comments/suggestions any time.

  13. website design May 27, 2011 at 4:56 am #

    Thanks Z. .. which are a kind of fun to build .. n some things work well others do not work as well .. but everything is an experience and worth .. this weekend we're buildin a goat covered with earth bags

  14. Gene June 18, 2011 at 2:19 am #

    I like the school bus the best! Great idea on using what is available. Looks like it might have tough to park it though. :)

    • YCR1 July 10, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

      I completely agree, the school bus idea caught my eye and i just had to keep ready.

  15. rahma nsekela August 22, 2011 at 8:02 pm #

    hello there thanks for the great insights, i come from a tropical country [tanzania] is it possible to use root cellaring alone. secondly what would be the best way of combining a root cellar and pot in pot into one thing

  16. Tillie August 23, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    I have a fairly large room built in my garage that was used for a wood shop..I have no use for this room and don't want to waste it. Is there anyway I can have it converted into a root cellar without too much work or $?

  17. Ann August 26, 2011 at 6:11 am #

    I would like to use my kids tree house as a root cellar; any thought on how much insulation would do the trick since it is obviously above ground?

  18. jogos de motos August 27, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    This make shift pallet root cellar is obviously patterned after the elderly, rural storage method some of us still keep in mind seeing way back when. The root cellar method allows for the storage of a massive amount of food in a tiny space that is naturally regulated at a constant temperature of about 63 degrees year round. The only proviso is that the lid must be kept on at all times. Back in the elderly days it was a door

  19. dentist medford or December 7, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    Good work! I always like to leave comments whenever I see something unusual or impressive. I think we must appreciate those who do something especial. Keep it up, thanks

  20. chester April 6, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    old School buses are chosen mainly because they have strong regulations on how much weight the ceiling and Sides must hold to protect our children. Truck bodies and containers DO NOT have the same requirements, so I would NOT consider those for burial. Plus you must Spray Black waterproofing material on any of them to prevent them from acids in your soil.

  21. Frases Para Orkut April 21, 2012 at 8:16 am #

    I LOVE the schoolbus abstraction for a basis cellar. Having had several kinds of basis cellars, that would be absolutely cool. I bet one could yield a semi bivouac and do the aforementioned thing… hmmm… you got me cerebration now!

    • albert April 11, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

      I know that having a basement or a root cellar is really awesome since we can't predict things to happen in above the ground like any calamities or something., sandy dentists

  22. Dave Guenthner June 22, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    School buses were designed and Govt tested to withstand a roll over situation and land on it's roof with no casualties. How you use this info is up to you, but my guess is it will support quite a bit of weight. I plan on trying this in the future with a couple of feet of dirt on top of it. I'd like to put three of them in the ground to use one entrance
    of stairs the would lead into them running in different directions. Probably three times more than I need, but if I'm going to dig a hole, then I'm going to dig a big one.

  23. Gus Gustafson June 23, 2012 at 7:54 am #

    I am building a root cellar plus a tornado shelter combine should I leave the floor of North Florida clay or pour cement? thank you Gus Gustafson

  24. solglasögon August 7, 2012 at 12:40 am #

    The root cellar method allows for the storage of a massive amount of food in a tiny space that is naturally regulated at a constant temperature of about 63 degrees year round. The only proviso is that the lid must be kept on at all times. Back in the elderly days it was a door

  25. samaa tv September 13, 2012 at 5:31 am #

    old School buses are chosen mainly because they have strong regulations on how much weight the ceiling and Sides must hold to protect our children.

  26. dunya tv September 13, 2012 at 5:44 am #

    I have a fairly large room built in my garage that was used for a wood shop..I have no use for this room and don't want to waste it.

  27. Edward Fitzgerald April 10, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

    It might be wise to still put in some form of temperature control – especially if you live in areas where summers can be really hot. Better to be prepared than let your cache rot away.

  28. Mitchel Reverra April 15, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

    I like your point on your blog post and it was really interesting and great to share with my friends. I have learn some points on your post. Thank you. For instance I have searched that http://trinidadhunt.com/180-power-pak/ the solution for educators and school administrators and also for the guidance.

  29. Shellie April 16, 2013 at 11:24 am #

    Well, I've never built a root cellar before, so glad to learn some possible ways to deal with it! I think for best home survival means such cellar is highly effective. Thanks and I enjoyed such interesting views.

  30. farm sheds April 22, 2013 at 1:40 am #

    Its a very nice Idea of building a root cellar or even a simple pot in pot cooler you can prolong the life of your foods and have a greater chance at survival.

  31. Marc May 7, 2013 at 10:05 pm #

    Building a root cellar indeed has a lot of benefits. I would love to have one. I will try to do one next week with the help of my dad.

  32. Peter Cunningham May 13, 2013 at 11:58 pm #

    Not a bad idea to use a bus as a root cellar. That is a lot of space after all. I just wonder how long it took you to nearly completely bury it and even add some concrete stair to boot.

  33. dmd May 21, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

    Schoolbus? Is that a picture from the Chowchilla kidnappers?

  34. Chris June 24, 2013 at 12:28 am #

    Wow interesting blog. I had never even heard of a root cellar until i stumbled upon this blog.
    Looks a bit like a house out of the movie Lord of the Rings ;-)

  35. Tess June 29, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    Lol, a hobbit hole! Love it.

  36. Liquid Roof Repair July 16, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

    Great post, better site! I came here looking to learn how to turn a downstairs pantry into a root cellar and though I found this info on another site, I’ve been back to this site twice today researching survival topics. That’s why I say, good post, but it’s a great site!

  37. Here February 15, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    LOL! I've seen several of the school bus shelters. Not sure of the success rate.

  38. dawn February 8, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    we too have an inground pool we are thinking of converting to a root cellar
    wondered if you have any advice

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Dreaming Big - September 23, 2010

    [...] root cellar. Anyone with a back hoe and a old milk truck or school bus body? I have a [...]

  2. 300 Days To Doomsday Skill – Root Cellar | The Covert Prepper - June 16, 2012

    [...] http://www.survival-spot.com/survival-blog/build-root-cellar/ <lots of links> [...]

  3. Survival Glossary « Xtreme Survival - February 9, 2013

    [...] Root Cellar: Underground storage area used for food and/or shelter. Common among Preppers. [...]

Leave a Reply