But the house and property we ended up buying had enough cool features that I let go of that idea. (Good thing too, as I now think the project might have been quite the strain, as we were both still working and not living close enough to make very quick progress)
One of those features was an attached root cellar. Since the house is hillside and partially earth sheltered, the root cellar is accessed from inside the house, on the upslope side.
While the root cellar does have a couple design flaws, it is quite serviceable, and since it adjoins the laundry/utility room, it is very handy. Who wants to go out in the snow, clear snow from the door, and chip some ice before getting a jar of canned tomatoes in February?
Here is a quick tour of our stores this fall.
We have a set of bins, a wooden shelf set, and two sets of plastic shelves. With the humidity and dark, the wood needs to be rot resistant. I used cedar leftovers, and some black locust leftovers.
The bottom half of the bins has butternut squash, potatoes, and acorn squash. Apples were here earlier, till we made the cider. These all store well, and the potatoes were from our own seed potatoes saved in the root cellar from last season. Down and to the left you can see the hard cider we bottled a couple weeks ago.
Top half of this bin tower has onions, more acorn squash, and on top are seeds in glass jars.
This shelf set has dry beans, spinach noodles, dried apple slices, apple butter, apple pie filling, apple sauce, spiced apple rings ( we had a good apple year) dried potato slices, and some peach pie filling.We found making noodles is a good way to put up extra spinach, and it works well with basil also.
These shelves have pickles, green beans, dehydrated kale, and some beverages.
The wooden shelves have pickles, tomato sauce, pasta sauce, green beans, chicken broth, and some odds and ends. You can also see our garlic. We did not have a great garlic year, but have already planted next years garlic, so what's left is all for eating. It should last till late winter, but won't get us to next summer.
A lot of this does not really need to be in a root cellar, but it would not fit in the pantry or kitchen storage, so this makes a fine place till we need more true root cellar storage for more root crops or fruits. We haven't harvested the parsnips yet, but the carrots were a bust this year, and hope to get better results and store some in here next year.
A lot of our veggie storage is in our chest freezer, but over time we hope to can or dehydrate as much as we can to reduce dependence on the freezer. We try new dehydrating or canning experiments each year, some work, and some don't.
Most of this is from our own trees and garden, but not all of it. The peaches, acorn squash, and beverages are purchased. We increase our dry bean plantings each year, and have enough for year round eating now, but most of those are stored in the pantry.
Two things I hope to modify on the root cellar are a better air vent setup, and a bit more dirt on the roof. These will both get it colder, and keep it colder longer in to summer.