Instant Cheap Easy Root Cellar: Roll in Place and Cover with Dirt
This picture is of a “green cabin” design. You know, one of those eco-style, chic concepts that never actually goes anywhere because who would really want to LIVE in a concrete culvert… The point is we can take this could-be-but-probably-won’t-be green living idea and adjust it to suit an off-grid, self-sustaining lifestyle by turning it into an instant, cheap, easy root cellar.
In reality you’re not going to “roll” a big round, cement culvert into place, but would bring it in on a truck and lower it down with a crane of some sort. Therefore, other than looking a little cooler, there are no advantages of using one of these over a square culvert, which would be much easier to work with (think adding shelves and a door) and are often less expensive.
Either way you would want to bury it into a north-facing hillside and somehow close up the back opening to keep weather, water and rodents out. One advantage you might have with the round style culverts is additional strength, but if you’re only mounding up a few feet of dirt around the box culverts you should be fine. That’s what they’re made for after all. Just be sure to check with an engineer first to discuss the depth at which you can bury these things.
If anyone comes up with ideas for sealing the second opening I’d love to hear them in the comments below! I’ll start: Board up with wood, attached insulation and vapor barrier to the back of the wooden boards, follow up with another layer of wood. Alternatively, you could construct a form and pour in concrete.
The main trouble you would have to overcome is getting one of these culvert makers to give you just one. They’re probably used to dealing with large commercial and municipal clients. Then again, maybe you could find a leftover one on a large building site for cheap. They might be happy just to have someone haul it off.
If you want more easy, cheap root cellar ideas, check out our Ode to Preserving article from last year.
Category: Renewable Energy