Thursday, December 12, 2013

Root Cellars and Things


Hi Y’all!



On Friday’s Follow Up post I put off the answer to the “root cellar” question.
LetterstoAndrew said...

“Tell me more about this root cellar. How does it work? Does it really keep vegetables longer than a fridge?”

My answer is too wordy for here…so I’ll tell you more on “this n that Thursday” next week.  P1300323

Well, it’s this and that Thursday time, so here goes…

Root cellars work well if you have the right terrain.  Here in the mountains they are usually dug into the mountain side or a hillside. They are used to store root vegetables.


We also have spring houses with water running through them.  They were used to keep the cows milk and butter before refrigeration was available.


The most important part of a root cellar is that it have a dirt floor, not cement.  Surrounded by earth it stays a pretty constant temperature and will keep apples, potatoes, turnips, carrots and the like from freezing or getting too warm on a warmer day.  However, when the weather gets warm they will not really save your fruits and vegies.


It is too warm in the low country of the southeastern U.S. for a root cellar to keep food from spoiling.  Also, the low country is just that…low, near sea level and there are no hills and mountains to dig into. Remember being surrounded by earth is key.


I don’t know if the root cellar would work in the northern states where temperatures are below freezing for long periods.  Much of this land is also flat plains…and they tell me the “freeze line” is deep enough for a man to stand up straight and still be below the surface. 


My Humans go to the local orchard and buy several bushels of apples to last them through the winter.  They also buy potatoes and turnips from locals. 


Bushels are too large a quantity to keep in a fridge. 


Y’all come back now!




















  1. Good stuff on the root cellers. We still have them in some areas. Some people make em pretty fancy. I really like ours when it is hot outside cause it is so cool down there.
    Have a great week

  2. Wow we have never heard of a root cellar before. Such a townie are we.
    Have a tremendous Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

  3. Thanks for joining TNT. I'd love to have a root cellar, but in the city, it doesn't really work. I think there may be some old farm houses around that have them. I was in an old farm house years ago that had one. The people didn't use it as a root cellar though. They just used it for storage of stuff.

  4. So, is your job to dig the root cellar to store the goods? I would think us dogs would be really useful for that. Up here in MN we are way to cold for storing anything outside that shouldn't be frozen. The frost line is pretty deep!

  5. We don't have them here in AZ - too hot and too hard to dig into the ground. We are watching a show about homesteading in Alaska and they have root cellars there - so maybe it does work in extreme cold?

    Monty and Harlow

  6. Great info about the root cellar!
    Love your pics as always! Especially the very first one....action shot!
    We are #9 in the hop, come on by :)

  7. Great description of root cellars! My grandparents had one in upstate NY. I love all your pix Hawk... you match your surroundings so great! Happy TNT, Meghan at

  8. Great explanation, and yes there are a couple of farms out here in Oklahoma that have root cellars, they seem to work well, as you say if dug in the right place!

    The Mad Scots

  9. Now I know what a root cellar is! Thanks for this! We are at sea-level and 'in the north'. I can see one of these working if a hole was dug deep enough below the frost line. But digging that deep in Nova Scotia is a problem because of the rock that is everywhere.
    Good post. Thanks.

  10. That was a great follow up on the root cellar. My grandma had one in her house here in WI. It creeped me out and I was afraid to go into it as I thought the boogie man was in there. You are a brave guy.

  11. Hey BrownDog!
    Great post!
    We are #17, come on by to read about a tragic crash into an Animal Shelter!
    Purrs coming your way,
    Mikko & Me

  12. Thanks for the info. Makes me wish I had a root cellar to store bushels of apples.