Root cellars: They had 'em, we can only dream

A root cellar might be part of the house or outdoors:

It's a room or closet you enter through a thick door in the basement wall, which is not heated nor is it under a heated room.

So many of our mentors would shake their heads and pity us, because we don't have one. "Sure, the refrigerator was a great invention but why not have a root cellar too!"

The Earth's warmth in winter, and its insulative effect in summer, keep the temperature around 50°F all year. Caves have the same properties.

Keep your soft drinks and beer there, as if in a spare refrigerator. Root crops, like potatoes and carrots -- or dahlias and cannas -- keep well there along with bunches of herbs, bare root dormant geraniums, and so much more.

If you have a root cellar,
consider renting shelf space to
less fortunate gardeners. - Janet -


This cellar is the basement of the front porch. It's posh, with a concrete floor and shelving. Some are dirt floored. What they all have in common is being cool all year, and relatively moist.



The root cellar may be a room under a hill, independent of the house.

Such storage rooms were common and important before the age of modern refrigeration.


Here, the door to such a room in the hill behind an 1800's farm house, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Previously, we took you to see the winter storage routine for 3,000 clumps of Dahlia. There, at Dahlia Hill in Midland, Michigan, the root cellar that holds all those beauties is a newer version of this plan.


We dream of doing this in our own yard but improvise for now, as in What's Coming Up 7 and What's Coming Up 160 where we dig a deep pit to stash tender things.