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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wondering about a project that I'm undertaking soon. I'm wanting to build a root cellar with some concrete cinder blocks with poured concrete in between them. Plans are to dig out by hand the side of a hill in an area of my woods to do this. After I get the hillside dug, I plan on pouring a concrete floor so that it would be eaiser to keep clean instead of a dirt floor.

My questions and thoughts. First, wouldn't a floor with poured concrete be "hotter" whereas a cold earth floor would be "cooler" or would this even matter? Every root cellar that I have seen had only dirt floors and it was always cool in the area.
 

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I would say yeah concrete floor. I believe it mostly depends on how much dirt or how deep it goes, where the sun hits it during the hottest part of the day and if there is vegetation on the hill (the thicker the better) to help hold in moisture. If was shaded during the hottest part of the day, covered in plant life and it was long enough it would be similair to a cave with natural stone caves, temps average in the 70's (I think) that would be a great place to store all kinds of goods and concrete keeps it cool and clean. My first thought is laying on concrete in the shade to me seems cooler than laying in dirt in the shade. I would say dig deep or cover the celler walls with lots of dirt for in insulation throw cheap bird seed, weeds grow fast to hold in moisture and make it look like a ordinary hill side so it isn't so obvious. make an entrance that blends in and store your goods (maybe in plastic containers or bags) in 5 gallon containers filled with wet sand, if you seal the lids on the containers they will stay cool for a long time.
 

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So the general consensus seems to be that if you are building a root cellar you would ideally want to dig down to 10 feet underground minimum since that is where stable year round temperature seems to occur. If you're digging into the side of a hill I guess it would be ten feet below the crest. There was an interesting episode of Doomsday Preppers that had a guy who used a root cellar and he used the wet sand inside a plastic bin to keep his carrots and other vegetables viable (I think it was the guy who liked spider holes). Another bonus of having concrete as a floor or even as walls would be that vermin and critters would have a really hard time getting into the cellar (dirt floor doesn't seem to be much of a deterrent for rabbits).

Root cellar how to build (has some good general knowledge)
U of M: Small Horticultural Farm Resources (has a rough cross section diagram of the cellar and some pics of their vegetables)
FCIV - Root Cellar Basics (has a few pros and cons for building in certain areas and has a nifty table for vegetables)
 

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I keep my beer cool enough to drink by storing the cans on the concrete floor in my barn. Which reminds me, it's hot and I'm thirsty
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks all for your posts. I will go with the concrete floor as well as camo it with vegetation. Going to be a long hard summer digging though, but will be worth it. Oh yeah, and now I have a place for my beer! Reminded me of when I was 16 throwing a six pack in the farm pond on a burlap bag tied to a rope. Keep it very very cool when I wanted one.
 

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I used to put beer cans in a potato sack and set it down in the dirty water of the canal in front of my house. This was done to hide it from my Dad. I would have gotten in trouble, plus he would have drank the beer in front of me
 
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