Temporary Root Cellar Update

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.

Root Cellar Ditch

The hay bale support structure in the drainage ditch. You can see the form for the foundation of our permanent root cellar in the foreground


Hay Bales

All the hay bales in place except for the door. It all looks very ancient civilization....


Hay bales tarped from the weather and ready to show off

Root Cellar Covered With Snow

The temporary root cellar under a blanket of snow.


About thegreenlifefarm

The Green Life Farm welcomes people who are on a path toward sustainability, increased environmental consciousness and mindfulness. We are 80% food self sufficient, off the grid for lighting, have reduced our wastes by 90% and have become more and more producers instead of consumers. The Green Life Farm is a place to meet kindred spirits and experience how it could be to reconnect with people and nature. Our farm is always open to visitors interested in alternative energy, living, thinking, building, husbandry, forestry, cooking and farming. In summer, our place is open to campers. Our names are: Bonnie and Sylvain. Calling 902-665-2084 is best because we are not online, thegreenlifefarm@gmail.com, every day. You are welcome to bring your pet. Be ready to use an outhouse! All visits include harvesting (even in winter), preparing and sharing a meal…and good discussions
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5 Responses to Temporary Root Cellar Update

  1. Jen and Leon says:

    That is pretty awesome. We definitely need to build a root cellar soon.

  2. Mike Normandeau says:

    Came upon your video while surfing root cellars on Youtube. I’m on a half acre lot 30 minutes west of Montreal (off island) and am looking at ideas for a root cellar for my carrots/onions on my property. Can you recommend a design for such a small property?

    You guys are an inspiration – makes me think of Helen and Scott Nearing who had very similar approaches to sustainable living.

    Mike in St-Lazare

    • Hi Mike-Do you have pictures of your property on the web? What kind of floor do you have in the basement? How is the basement set up?
      The Nearings continue to be a huge inspiration for us!

      • Mike Normandeau says:

        Hi – can you email me your address? I’ll get you a photo. Thanks for your help!


      • Hi Mike,
        My email is thegreenlifefarm@gmail.com. I look forward to seeing your photo. Do you have good drainage where you are? What kind of soil is your land? Knowing this we can help you better.We might be visiting Quebec in the near future and could see your space or even your new root cellar!!!!!

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