Simple DIY Outdoor Root Cellar For Apples & Vegetables

Garbage Can Root Cellar

Preserve your fall harvest by storing your vegetables in a homemade outdoor root cellar.

The Garbage Can Cellar

Keeping water out is one of the challenges of a hole-in-the-ground pit cellar, but using a garbage can will help. Dig a hole slightly larger than the diameter of the can and deep enough so that the can’s lid will sit 6 inches or so below the soil level. Set the can inside the hole, then layer in the veggies with some straw or dead leaves. Set the lid on the can, use a stick to pack soil all the way down into the gap around the outside of the can, and then flare the soil out at a tidy angle around the opening. Long-keeping root vegetables will live happily down there, even in the coldest weather. Good storage apple varieties will too, but keep your veggies separate from them. (Apples release ethylene gas as they ripen, which will shorten the storage life of vegetables.)

Cut a couple of 2-inch-thick pieces of extruded polystyrene foam slightly larger than the diameter of the lid and place the foam on top of the can to keep out frost. Cut another circle of three-quarter-inch-thick exterior-grade plywood to about the same size and place it over the foam, with a stone on top to keep it securely in place.

This technique also works well with other containers — such as an old chest freezer or a wooden barrel — buried in a similar fashion.

Dead Fridge/Freezer

Old Freezer / Refridgerator Root Cellar

Turn your dead fridges and freezers into a backyard root cellar. It will be spacious but this method can also be a lot of work as most articles about how to create these suggest a ventilation shaft. You can find many sources online on how to create one of these. Here is an eHow guide to get you started.

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