Root Cellar Reborn

Our shed is currently very messy.  Pay that no mind – it’ll get cleaned up soon enough as we prepare for colder weather.  The observant eye will notice something amongst the clutter, however.messy_shed

That “something” is the root cellar conveniently built into the back wall of the shed.  The shed was built to be the unattached garage for the original house on the property (the future studio), and so it sort of makes sense that, as an unheated structure built into a hill, its northern wall would make a natural place for a root cellar.    It’s about 56″ high, and a bit shy of 4′ x 6′.   The floor is dirt (good for humidity), the walls are concrete block, and the roof appears to be poured concrete.  The roof is just under the ground level outside, and there’s a vent pipe that is intact and seems to be working.messy_cellar

The cellar has been unused for a number of years.  And yes, that’s the skull of something in the middle of the floor.yes_skull

We’ve got a lot of fruit ripening on trees, and I’m hoping that the shed cellar might be a reasonable place to store it.   So we’re going to clean it up a bit and give it a shot.cleaned_out

It looks a lot better just after removing the old wood and the bones.  (Fortunately, whoever originally belonged to those bones is long ago fully decomposed – there is no odor nor visible remnant of organic matter.)  There were a few cracks to fill in with trusty old expanding foam filler:cracks_filled

But after that it was even un-scary enough for my helper Nora to get in.


With Nora’s help I built a simple door out of scrap lumber that should be enough to keep warm air and cats out.  door

That diagonal gap across the bottom was left to allow air in – hopefully there will be some passive flow from the lower level intake up to the vent on the ceiling.  Assuming that works I’ll cover it with hardware cloth so the cellar doesn’t become an easy place for little rodents to hide from the cats.

Our next step is some simple environmental monitoring to see if temperature and humidity levels are in the right range for apple and pear storage.

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