Winter CSA Root Crop Storage
  • I am ready to build a root cellar. We have a very large hole excavated. I have several options, which include burying 2 pre-fabricated concrete tanks or build my own. The pre-fab would be quick and give us about 12 x 16 space with 2 separate zones. My question is how much can you store in approx. 180 sq ft? I don't want the space to be too big but I do want it big enough to grow into it, and I definitely don't want to invest in something we will grow out of in a few years. We plan on selling winter vegetables through a winter CSA and select from the storage crops for biennial seed production. Any thoughts would be helpful.
  • Having just figured this out with my cooler, I would suggest the first thing you do is determine what you will use for containers. I use plastic or wooden totes. So for instance, the tote I can handle easiest holds 25 pounds of carrots. So figure out how many pounds you hope to store. Then how many totes you would need to store it. Then how many shelves you can put on the walls of your root cellar. I would space them at 18 inches but that will depend on the size of your totes. Then how many walls can you use, you must have a door somewhere. Then make sure your plan includes excellent ventilation and air circulation, very important, but even more important when using shelves. Make your shelves from framing with wire as the surface to help air movement.
    Good luck and let us know what you end up doing. It's important we learn from each other.
    zone 3, MN