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Root Cellaring - Book Review

Updated on January 25, 2013

Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables

Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruit & Vegetables by Mike and Nancy Bubel is one of the best books to be found on root cellars - how to make them and how to use them.

Root Cellaring explains which vegetables to plant for storage in the root cellar, how to harvest and prepare your produce for storage, and how to build your own root cellar.

Carrots being prepared for root cellar.

Photo © the author of this article

Building my Root Cellar

Using the "Root Cellaring" book as a guide

I discovered the book Root Cellaring when I was looking for a way to store root vegetables from my garden over the winter.

After reading this book, I initially constructed a very small root cellar in my basement. This worked out quite well except, since the floor was concrete, it took a bit of effort to keep the humidity as high as is necessary.

A couple of years ago, I decided to build a larger root cellar to give me more storage room. Also, it would have a dirt floor, so the natural moisture in the earth would keep the humidity at the required level - something that was made difficult by the concrete floor of the smaller root cellar.

Again Root Cellaring came to my rescue with lots of great ideas for planning and constructing the root cellar.

Root Cellaring: - Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables

"Root Cellaring" by Mike and Nancy Bubel

Until I read this book, I never imagined that I would find a way to have an actual underground root cellar, nor was I even sure that I would find any place in the house to store my root vegetables and winter squash over the winter.

However, some of the ideas the Bubel's have for storing vegetables are quite simple and inexpensive. This gave me a lot of encouragement. And they provide such a wide range of methods!

So, for me, the sections on designing and building root cellars - and other methods of winter food storage - are where the book really shines. That was my thought, at least, until I spent more time reading the other sections.

Then I discovered that the entire book is full of thoughtful and detailed ideas for every step of harvesting and storing vegetables and fruit for the winter.

And it's written by two people who obviously have a lot of hands-on experience doing this and who have talked with - and learned from - many other people who have root cellars.

My Root Cellar

My Root Cellar
My Root Cellar

This is my larger root cellar just after it was completed a couple of years ago. The exterior size is 8' by 13', which, as you can see, gives me plenty of room for storage. It has a door which allows me access directly from my basement.

After the root cellar was installed, I added the metal shelving which is solidly attached to the walls.

The green pipe in the far right corner is for the incoming cold air and there's an exhaust pipe in the near left corner, which isn't visible in this photo.

Photo taken by the author of this article.

Raised Beds on Top of My Root Cellar

Above Root Cellar
Above Root Cellar

These raised garden beds, filled with dirt, were added above the root cellar in order to provide sufficient insulation to keep the cellar at an even temperature. The tall green pipes are the air intake and exhaust vents.

Photo taken by the author of this article.

Root Cellar in Winter - Vents covered with wooden boxes

Above Root Cellar in Winter
Above Root Cellar in Winter

I had these little wooden "boxes" made to keep the rain and snow from coming down the vent pipes and to hide the not-so-pretty green pipes.

Photo taken by the author of this article.

Root Cellaring - Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables

The Bubels' book Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables covers the following topics:

- which vegetables are best for storage over the winter, including specific varieties of each type of vegetable.

- when and how to plant these vegetables so they'll be ready for fall harvest.

- how to harvest and prepare the vegetables for storage.

- the temperature, humidity, and other storage requirements of the various types of produce, with detailed information on over 50 different vegetables and fruits.

- numerous methods of storing vegetables over the winter, including "clamps," storage barrels, and household nooks and crannies.

- detailed plans for building a root cellar, including basement root cellars and excavated root cellars.

- many examples, including photos and drawings, of root cellars that have been built by other people.

- recipes that use the food stored in your root cellar.

All comments are greatly appreciated.

Thanks for stopping by!

For those interested, here are more details about how I made my root cellar.

Have you read the book "Root Cellaring"? - Do you store fruit and veggies over the winter?

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    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 

      4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Great Idea! Wish I could make one somewhere!

    • paulahite profile image

      Paula Hite 

      4 years ago from Virginia

      Wish I had one... I shared your lens on our G+ page today!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I read this book over 10 years ago and thought it was excellent. I still haven't made a root cellar, but would like to some day. Thanks for sharing your experience and great photos!

    • mrdata profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for your constructive lens! I love your topic.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have a dream of homesteading, and so does my middle daughter. This sounds like a must read!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thank you for sharing what you have learnt!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thank you for sharing what you have learnt!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      You really make me want to invest in a root cellar. They come in handy.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this awesome method!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      No, but what I see here, makes it worth while. I live way down South in Argentina, in the southern tip of Patagonia, and we need that kind of conservation there!

      Thanks for reading and squidliking my lens on how to search for gold.

    • teristazko profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens. I love the pictures of the root cellars. Thanks for your knowledge on root cellars...very informative.

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 

      7 years ago from Topeka, KS

      Oh I must read this book as I want to learn how to store the root veges I will plant this year! Wonderful article. :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is certainly new and interesting. Thanks for sharing this here!

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 

      7 years ago from Shanghai, China

      My mother had a house that had a root cellar, and also a pie cupboard on the way down to the cellar. I wish I had been able to live there long enough to use the root cellar - I did manage to use the pie cupboard!

    • MissionBoundCre profile image


      7 years ago

      Never heard of this. Very cool.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I haven't read the book but what you have done is amazing, I didn't know about this kind of storage but what a great idea, and it looks like you have quite a few more, well done

    • TripleTK LM profile image

      TripleTK LM 

      7 years ago

      Really original lens! I have a bunker, a room under my garage that is all concrete that I use for "cold storage" for things like apples over the winter, but it needs some tweaking!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is a really interesting lens, I had never seen anything on root cellaring before

    • DIY Mary profile image

      DIY Mary 

      7 years ago

      I had never heard of root cellaring before as a way to preserve root vegetables in the winter. Thanks for the info and great lens!

    • NeilTryAthlete profile image


      7 years ago

      This looks like a great way to store veg so it doesn't go to waste. Love your photos.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      What a great idea - thanks for sharing! Blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      7 years ago

      It all looks so nice and well done.

    • Valerie Bloom profile image

      Valerie Bloom 

      7 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Fascinating lens!

    • Rebeljohn profile image


      7 years ago

      Very nice article i really enjoyed reading it.

    • SophiaStar LM profile image

      SophiaStar LM 

      7 years ago

      This was very informative and interesting. I never thought about a root cellar before, I see the benefits of it. I think it is important to learn more about sustainable living.

    • BLemley profile image

      Beverly Lemley 

      7 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      A lot of work went into creating what looks like the perfect root cellar ~ congratulations on all that hard work! It looks like it is paying off, and you have your veggies kept perfectly, enabling you to enjoy food all winter. I wonder what the economic benefit is? It would put the rest of us to shame, for having to buy the canned and frozen ones! Great lense ~ "easy" to read and very interesting throughout. Loved the pictures, they certainly tell and add a lot to your story! B : )

    • davenjilli lm profile image

      davenjilli lm 

      7 years ago

      Love it! Really like the pictures of your root cellar and the garden boxes on top. Good ideas.

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 

      7 years ago from Albany New York

      I wish I had a root cellar! Nice lens and very informative.

    • Brandi Bush profile image


      7 years ago from Maryland

      Great lens! We studied up on root cellaring a few years ago and I read the book you have featured here. :)

    • charlb profile image


      7 years ago

      Good read....had never heard of root cellaring!

    • micheleburke profile image

      Michele Marie Burke 

      7 years ago

      Great lens! Your root cellar is really nice. I used to live in Pa and many had root cellars but I have yet to see one as well thought out as yours. Good job.

    • SayGuddaycom profile image


      7 years ago

      Interesting stuff.

    • SmartyGirlRenee profile image


      7 years ago

      Haven't read the book but your lens sparked interest

    • SoniaCarew profile image


      7 years ago

      Fabulous idea! Very cool idea. Which I had the space to do something like this.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I love this idea! We have been toying with the idea of building a root cellar of some kind. We have a large dirt crawl space under the house that could probably be made into a root cellar with a little effort...I am definitely going to show this to my husband! Thanks for sharing!

    • Coreena Jolene profile image

      Coreena Jolene 

      7 years ago

      Wonderful lens. I love your photos showing what you have done. I think it is great you can do something like this.

    • IngridA1 profile image


      7 years ago

      In my part of Florida, there's just no way to have a root cellar. However I so enjoyed your article and I love the pictures!!

    • Blkeeslar profile image

      Billie Keeslar 

      7 years ago from Mississippi

      What I would give to be able to do this. Great Lens

    • RedHillGeneralS profile image


      7 years ago

      Awesome info on root cellaring! Really enjoyed reading your lens.

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 

      7 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Good information-love the photos! :>)

    • Einar A profile image

      Einar A 

      7 years ago

      I have read the book, and found it very helpful, as well. Loved seeing the pictures of your root cellar project, and especially those beautiful bright orange carrots you're storing! Those must be very nice to have through the winter.

    • kathysart profile image


      7 years ago

      Ohh I have never done this so this is really interesting. Saving all those wonderful root veggies would be GOOD! Angel blessed.


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