I have used many of these techniques to good effect, although some are better suited to certain climates than others.
Fortunately, whether you are living in a temperate zone, or a place that has lived in cold and deep snow for several months, there is an option that is perfect for your needs.
- 1 1. Sunken fridge or freezer
- 2 Read also: Perennial Food Gardening Methods – What Are the Differences?
- 3 2. Buried Cooler Chest
- 4 3. Trash Can Sellers
- 5 Read also: What Plants to Prune and How to Do It
- 6 4. Sunnyken Clay Potts
- 7 5. Basement or Garage Storage
- 8 What not to store in Root Cellar Alternatives
- 9 Remember to use markers!
1. Sunken fridge or freezer
Countless refrigerators and chest freezers end up in landfill sites every year when they can no longer be repaired. If you have to leave the ghost, then upcycle it in one of these easy root cellar options.
This option is best for those who have little ground to play. Basically, you measure an area that is slightly larger than your fridge or freezer, with the door facing upwards.
Dig a hole that is about 10 inches deep from the depth of the fridge / freezer, and get a pair of friends to help lower the tool in the hole.
Then, put a layer of straw, sand, or sawdust inside and add your produce. Be sure to take out the objects well so that air can circulate between them. Alternatively, if you have several small items (such as small apples, etc.), you can store them in burlap sacks and keep those in the sunken freezer.
Since they are very well insulated, you can use them in climates that have very little fluctuation in winter. They will keep the temperature inside and also prevent the outside moisture from entering.
2. Buried Cooler Chest
If you are looking for a more cost-effective alternative to the above method, then check out this technique. Do you know those standard, 50-quart, insulated coolers that you can fill with food to go camping?
They are around $ 20-50 each and to be perfect for storing food for the winter.
These are ideal if you do not have enough space to sync the fridge or freezer. I like this method because most of my land is on solid rock (hello Canadian shield!), But I can sink many of these into the sandy ground behind my house.
Layer root vegetables and hardy are produced in the above medium similar to apples and cabbage. Then bury those chests under at least six inches of soil.
These small root cellar options are also good for climates that fluctuate slightly. If there are any surprises in January, be sure to check them out. The last thing you want is for your hard-earned produce so that you and your family can eat it.
3. Trash Can Sellers
These follow the same idea as above coolers, but in super-cheap 20-gallon plastic or metal trash cans. This option is actually better in areas that meet in very cold winters, as they are made of thinner material without any insulation.
Basically, they are best immersed in soil that is unlikely to melt and then dissipate several times.
Despite the fact that I avoid plastic about every other aspect of my life, I would actually recommend that material versus metal for this purpose. Metal trash cans will rust quite quickly, which is not ideal if you want to reuse these sunken mini root cellars for many years.
Plastic, as you know, lasts really long. It is not greatly affected by temperature fluctuations.
Just make sure to make some holes in the bottles of your cans, regardless of the material they are made of. This will allow any condensation to seep down and into the soil, so your produce won’t get sticky bottoms.
Stores are produced in ways that you would do in the insulated coolers listed above. Sand, straw, and sawdust are all great for retaining moisture and exclude space objects so they don’t rot in storage.
Read also: What Plants to Prune and How to Do It
4. Sunnyken Clay Potts
It is very cheap as far as root cellar options are available. That said, it is only suited for storing small amounts of food in small outdoor spaces.
Basically, you use a similar technique using terracotta pots above. It is perfect for storing things like apples, Brussels sprouts, and small root vegetables.
Inside the terracotta pots, you layer the items in the storage mediums described above. Get yourself the bases of utensils that are slightly larger than the utensils themselves, so you can flip them over and use them as a lid. Bury these outside in your yard, and enjoy your home produce all winter long.
Note that these utensils are also better for climates that do not fluctuate too much in cold weather. Terracotta is gorgeous, but can easily disintegrate if it passes through very hot / cold waves.
As a bonus, these utensils can pull double duty. Once they have emptied at the end of the season, clean them thoroughly, fill them with earthen pots and use them to grow more food. You can also use the aforementioned garbage bins to grow into potatoes or sweet potatoes.
Isn’t creative family fun?
5. Basement or Garage Storage
Do you have an unfinished basement? Or maybe some extra space in your garage? Then don’t let it go in vain. Pack your produce in a cardboard box or wooden box, and store these on shelving units.
Since this is an above mentioned option, your yield will not have the same insulation protection as the techniques mentioned above. That said, if you live in an area like mine that remains cold for months, you won’t have to worry about melting and damage from the cold again.
Another advantage of this technique is that it is very easy to access stored food when it is not buried in the ground. You don’t have to dig with ice to get your reward: you can just take a box from the shelf and root through it. (See what I did there? Roots… hahaha.)
What not to store in Root Cellar Alternatives
Now, proper root cellars are perfect for storing anything. Their title may contain the word “root”, but people store everything from home canned goods to ceramic sauerkraut crotches.
These low-cost options are not very versatile, nor can they store similar items. A standard root cellar has plenty of space, and sturdy shelves can support jars, cans, crocs, and more.
Sunken root cellar substitutes can be much cooler than regular ones, especially if you are using materials that are not well insulated. As a result, fragments of glass jars, soups, or pickles can be scattered. It doesn’t just waste good food, but works a ton of hard work, contaminating everything else in the container.
Root stick to the production of vegetables and thick skin, and you should be fine.
Remember to use markers!
Every spring, small oak trees were planted on my land. You know why? Because squirrels give too much pain everywhere and then either forget where they are holding submerged things or cannot find them under several feet of snow.
The purpose of these root cellar options is to make our lives a little easier – giving us extra space to store food for the winter. If we cannot find them in the middle of February then they are not going to help much!
If your area doesn’t get a lot of snow or large animal activity, you can stick a metal plant marker near the sunken basement with a spotted ribbon.
Alternatively, if you need to dig your produce under a few feet of snow, place a long wooden or metal spike in the ground next to the container with a bright flag on it. (Remember that you have applied it to the left or right, so you do not spend hours digging on empty space.)
Idea Source: morningchores.com