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Earth bag root cellar  RSS feed

 
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Built an earth bag root cellar this past summer. It took the better part of 4 months to complete working a few hours here and there.

We used 22 inch wide bags and 2 strands of barbed wire mortar between every row, two of us were able to lay 2 to 3 rows a day when we worked at it. Our water table is fairly deep, so other than making a large umbrella of poly, we didn't worry too much about French drains and such, although we did dig a sump pump pit just in case.

For the door we made the frame out of 8x8 beams and butted the earth bags against it. Other than swelling a bit from moisture, there have been no issues.

The roof was built with power poles laid across and roofed over with plywood, tin and insulation covered with poly to create a water proof barrier.

Stairs and a top side door were built of pressure treated lumber, and the whole thing was covered in 2 feet of dirt. All in all, it has been up and running since the first snow and it has kept everything at a steady 4 to 2 Celsius the whole winter.
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Rob Ketel
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Here are a few more pictures.
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Rob Ketel
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And a few more
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Posts: 43
Location: Welland, Ontario, Canada
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It looks great! i was just wondering where you are located and if your low temperatures this winter are similar to mine.
 
Rob Ketel
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We are located in south western Manitoba, Canada. It has been colder than normal this year.

Before I started digging, I asked a few of the older folk in the area how deep to dig in our climate. One old timer who seemed to know most told me to dig it as deep as I was tall.
 
Barry Fitzgerald
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Location: Welland, Ontario, Canada
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Rob Ketel wrote:We are located in south western Manitoba, Canada. It has been colder than normal this year.

Before I started digging, I asked a few of the older folk in the area how deep to dig in our climate. One old timer who seemed to know most told me to dig it as deep as I was tall.


On the average winter I would have more favourable conditions. Thanks for your post.
 
pollinator
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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How will you keep vermin from chewing their way in ?
 
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What a great visual explanation of an extremely useful process, especially for really cold climates. Great post! Here in PNW wet side they don't work quite as well, but an excellent how to. A hole in the ground in the winter here gets filled with water. Ours have to be above ground, but one could build a PNW wet side version above ground.
John S
PDX OR
 
Rob Ketel
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Vermin would have to dig through 2 feet of soil, get past the vicious attack kittens and chew through 6 inches of door.
 
pollinator
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Location: Green County, Kentucky
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I just looked at this and the other root cellar thread. Glad to see that it's been done and they are working! I plan to build a root cellar here this year. We live on a south-facing slope, and will dig into that. It will be a learning experience for building an earthbag house later, on my other lot.

Kathleen
 
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Location: Midcoast Maine (zone 5b)
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Thanks for posting this. I hope to do this in a year or two.

Thank You Kindly,

Topher
 
Rob Ketel
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So it's spring now, and things are holding up really well in the cellar. We had a bit of settling and the door frame swelled a bit, so we had to remove the door and take 3 inches off the top and shave the sides. Even without a French drain there has been no moisture coming in through the walls and no swelling of the walls. Temps have remained from 2 to 4 c all winter and have risen to 7c this spring.
 
gardener
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Thank you for this post, I plan to build a storm/ root cellar but I will be going down into bedrock since it is within 3 feet of our soil surface.
 
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