After a long, snowy, Canadian, winter it is early April and I have a report on how our temporary root cellar worked out…. FANTASTIC! We constructed our temporary root cellar in the drainage ditch of our unfinished, permanent, root cellar. The temporary root cellar worked even better than I thought it would. I was fully prepared to share some of our root cellared produce with hungry creatures like mice and chipmunks since the back and front walls and the ceiling are made of hay bales. During the winter, the root cellar was visited by moles that didn’t eat anything and just a few days ago by a creature that ate a carrot. That’s it! Just a carrot…
We still have stored apples, beets, carrots and turnips. Everything remains nice and crisp. All winter the temperature was between 40-45F with 95% humidity. We never had a problem with freezing or it getting too warm in late autumn or early spring.
Our experience with the temporary root cellar is a fine example of how if you can stick to your vision and look for creative solutions to the challenges that living alternatively brings, you don’t have to throw money at it to make it work. We paid $200 for the hay bales that we used for the roof and the walls of the root cellar. We will use the hay bales this spring as mulch, compost and for weed suppression in the garden. We tarped the bales with a tarp that we already had and weighted it down with rocks and a metal head board that we scavenged by the side of the road in the fall cleanup. It never crossed our mind that we should buy a freezer and hook it up to the grid to preserve all the food that we had grown for eating during the winter and early spring. There is an alternative to buying all the time and every time, everything we think we need. People have lived for thousands of years without a store across the street… We are very lucky be able to live close to nature and be able to mindfully use, free of charge, the cold, the moisture and the darkness of the root cellar to keep what we stored in a state of hibernation, while insulating them from the freezing cold and the heat and light from the sun.