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December 11, 2008 in In The Kitchen-The Heart Of Our Home
I don't see why it couldn't be done.
I have a basement that is under my kitchen that I think I could use as a root cellar. I have a hot water heater down there though and I was afraid that it might raise the temp too much for it to work as a root cellar.
I will have to look in to it a little more.
Try a thermal cover over your hot water heater, if you don't have one. They block the heat almost completely. Saves energy, too.
Is that book a good source for building your own? We are still hoping to be able to move and one of the first big projects on my list would be building the root cellar.
My grandmother had a "closet" off her basement that was the root cellar. Kept potatoes a long time.
Kitty the best rootcellar I ever saw was in western NC. I also know of one that was no longer used but was just outside one historical cabin in Franklin NC where I stayed for several months. Root Cellars do just fine as long as they are up a bit from the settling elevation of the land, in whatever spot you are probably in. In the western NC area certainly.
The land also had three icy cold springs and that root cellar never flooded!
The one I got to go inside of had water piped in to the troughs, but also ran cold enough through the pipes to cool the cellar and the humidity was very good for food storage as well.
People used to put a weighted crock in the trough and keep perishables there, to be eaten within days, store their hardened cheeses and other dairy there, and many stored crop stuff like potatoes and carrots and cabbages in the root cellar, pickles and such too. Meats, wrapped and covered, etc.
One could set it up like a dry cool basement with shelving and such, or bins or set it up with potable water flowing to refrigerate perishables if one were not able to use electricity to power a refrigerator. Cooling and evaporation, stability.....
a well made root cellar would last a hundred years I am sure.
Kitty I was there several years ago, and I went to a party at someones house. It was up in the mountains, nearer a park where lots of folks do day hikes and there is an old stone firetower at this park, easy to get to... I really couldn't tell you exactly where the home was on the roads there.. the active root cellar was dug into a hill, walled in with concrete and troughs and plumbing run through it, an improvement on just running spring water throught it and it was set up with a stout door and locked shut. I was able to go inside and look it over. There was plenty of room for bins and shelving and one could access the water via valves and faucet also inset in the plumbing, hence you could get water from there if need be that came from the well, probably a secondary set of pipes out from the pump at the well, perhaps... It also could have hidden people there.
the wells are often artesian in that region as well, so maybe it pumped by itself without a mechanical powered pump as well. Probably.
You dont necessarily need water going through it. A dry root cellar might be better in fact.
That is a great book. I'm amazed at some of the old ones I've seen next to historic homes. It's hard to fathom how they molded the interior with arched roofs. How on earth did they do it without the top caving in?
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