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Root cellar/ storm cellar questions

 
Posts: 348
Location: SW Missouri
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I'm wanting to construct a storm cellar.  Here in southwest Missouri we are in tornado alley and the wife would feel better with a safe place to get underground.

I would like this to double as a root cellar to store food.

I need a third use for permaculture principles but have not thought of the third use yet?

I have hired a man that will come out and do it for me. I've settled on a 9x10 structure that is concrete block reinforced with rebar and filled holes with a concrete roof with excavation and everything for about 6000 dollars.  I chose this size because I want to store food, but also if there is a storm, to have some beds or cots to just sleep in there for the night and not worry about it. Its needs to be a comfortable size.

I do not want to put a 6000k dollar building in the wrong spot.

Old timers around here say that storm cellar doors should face east, because the storms come from the southwest.

It would make logical sense that a root cellar would be on a northern slope to be as cool as possible.

I dont really have many great options.  My property is on a hill with a slope to the south.  I can build in into a hillside and save excavation and make basically a walk right into structure that's easy to use, but only 3 sides and the top would be underground and the front uncovered block wall would face the south/sw

My other option is to dig out a massive amount of earth on a flat spot by my house and build it 100 percent underground. However to use it would require walking up and down stairs. That might be ok for storms but I worry with my laziness that I would not store food in it of it was  difficult to use. I imagine hauling heavy pumpkins and apples down there like once and letting them rot and never going back for them because of the pain it would be lugging this stuff up and down stairs.

I guess my question is this, is it ok to make a root cellar/storm door face south? Can I just build a micro climate around it with trees to shade it?

Thanks!
 
master gardener
Posts: 4263
Location: southern Illinois, USA
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I hate to throw in  new element, but SW Missouri is well known for its bedrock issues.  How close to the surface is the bedrock at your site?
 
Eric Hammond
Posts: 348
Location: SW Missouri
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John F Dean wrote:I hate to throw in  new element, but SW Missouri is well known for its bedrock issues.  How close to the surface is the bedrock at your site?



It's pretty far down. I've dug out 2 ponds, one about 10 foot and didn't hit anything substantial. That point is about 50 feet from my walk in site and maybe 200 ft from my level in ground site. This wont be an issue in my particular situation. A little bit south of here is a different situation entirely!
 
pollinator
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Location: South-central Wisconsin
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Eric Hammond wrote:

I need a third use for permaculture principles but have not thought of the third use yet?




During the summer, you can go there to escape the heat. That could be a mere luxury, or it could be a lifesaver, depending on your health.
 
John F Dean
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If it is to be a storm or root cellar be sure it is close enough to your house as to be functional.  You need to have easy access. The one cellar I put in faced north. That had more to do with its access to be near the kitchen door than it had to do with how efficiently it functioned. While a south facing door might not be the best option,  I don't see it as a make or break issue either.  Trees might be one choice. Another, maybe in addition, would be an awning over the access door.  Do be careful with the issue of tree roots damaging the cellar.
 
pollinator
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Location: Denmark 57N
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I don't think a south facing door is a major issue for a root cellar, either shade it with an overhang or if that is dangerous with storms then insulate the door well on the inside.
 
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