Preparing your Root Cellar

As the weather cools off, it’s time to prepare your root cellar for winter.  If you’re new to root cellaring, here’s a list of some of the posts we’ve written over the past two years:

Behold! A tiny, cold empty room!

Root Cellar Basics
Vegetable and Fruit Hideaways
Root Cellar Construction: Day 1

Root Cellar Construction: Day 2
Root Cellar Building Materials
Filling the Community Root Cellar
Marla’s Root Cellar
January Root Cellar Update
Root Cellar Year 1 Debrief

Root cellars are relatively low maintenance.  But there are a few things that should be done to prepare your root cellar for the season. Here are some tips based on our experience with the root cellar at the Ecology Action Centre office, now heading into its second season, and my home root cellar, which is likely original to the house.

General clean up
Not exciting, but it needs to be done.  If you didn’t do a clean up back in the spring, now is the time to compost any sawdust in which you stored vegetables.  It’s best to start with fresh sawdust, so as to avoid any mold that may have formed last season.  We wiped down the baskets, bins and shelves with diluted vinegar and left them in the sun to dry.

General repairs
Make sure everything is in good working order.  Check to make sure the rodent-proof mesh on the vents is still intact and that there are working batteries in your thermometer/hygrometer.  Last winter, in my home root cellar, we found that there was insufficient insulation in the ceiling above the cellar, which made our kitchen floor quite cold, so we added insulation.  Now is the time to make any small repairs.

Produce availability
Talk to some local farmers to see who can supply what vegetables.  When our community root cellar group met for the first time, we made a short list of farmers and everyone agreed to contact a farmer regarding vegetables availability, prices, and delivery options.  We will then decide as a group from whom to order.  For advice on how much food to order for the winter, see Filling the Community Root Cellar and Root Cellar Year 1 Debrief.

Carrots stored in sand

Then you should be ready to store your vegetables as soon as the temperature drops.

What’s going in your root cellar this winter?

Yours in food,


2 thoughts on “Preparing your Root Cellar

  1. My motherinlaw told me that during the war they buried their root veggies in bushel baskets full of sand in the cellar. Has anyone ever heard of this ?

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