Root Cellar Workshop: Day One

This weekend, we built a root cellar! Building a root cellar at the Ecology Action Centre office has been an idea that we’ve been kicking around for years. It went from the idea stage to the reality stage when we received some funding from the Spirit NS Local Food Fund last fall. After the excitement of receiving the funding, the next big question was: So, how do we actually build this?

With the help of Zak Miller of Full Cycle Builders, and a team of amazing volunteers, we turned a dark corner of the basement into a food storage room.

Here’s the before picture:

We picked the northeast corner of the building because it had a small window, it already had three walls, and the north side of a building is generally colder than the south. Some of the best root cellar advice I received was to think like a root vegetable. Root vegetables grow underground where it is cool, dark and damp. You want your root cellar to mimic those conditions.

A couple years ago, we had put down a vapour barrier and clay floor in that area of the basement to reduce the humidity, so the first thing we had to do was to take up the floor in that area.  In the picture below you can see the tan clay next to the brick and gravel.  This is what had to go.

Next step: Build a wall.

Zak started us off with a demonstration how to safely use the circular saw.  A nice excuse to take a break from the dusty basement!

We framed in the wall and covered it in old acoustical tiles and leftover drywall.

Check back tomorrow to see the natural plasters we put on the wall, the ventilation system and more…

And here are some past posts on root cellaring:

Root Cellar Basics

Root Cellar Tour

Simple cold storage ideas

5 thoughts on “Root Cellar Workshop: Day One

  1. Pingback: Community Root Cellar Grants « Adventures in Local Food

  2. I am hoping to build a root cellar this fall in my basement. I built a new home last year and allowed for a vent area through my basement wall to accomodate it. I have a supply of waste cut-out panels from exterior steel doors to use as insulation. A plan for a small root cellar with bins and shelving would be useful.
    I live in Gardiner Mines, Cape Breton. I have an organic one half acre garden with potatos, carrots, tomatoes, onions, garlic, etc. to store plus apples, etc. if we get to the Annapolis Valley this Fall.

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