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Rainy PNW Underground Root Cellar Ideas

Posts: 29
Location: Alaska, South Central
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I'm going to get a 8' dim.. culvert in the next 2 weeks, I intend to bury it in the side of a  hill  - north facing as a root cellar. We'll see how that turns out. I'm in Alaska so I can't find much on root cellaring here?? I'm sure I'll have to tey it and see how it works... and adjust...wish me luck
Posts: 24
Location: Harlan, Oregon Coast Range
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Jay Angler wrote:Andrew Sackville-West wrote:

Our land is either flat or south-facing slope (pretty significant slope, too). And the water table appears to be pretty high -- up to near ground level in the depths of winter rains. I think digging into the slope, and then ensuring we insulate and shade well, is really our only option.  

Do you get a bad summer drought as well? If so, I can remember reading about someone who built a *really* large above ground water tank, and then built a lean-to cold room on the north side with some berming as was available and lots of insulation. Don't know if that gives you any other ideas.

Yes, we do get that drought every summer. I like this idea. There's a corner of the property where it might make sense to do that... hmmm...

I was already planning on putting 2-3000 gallons of potable well water up the hill behind us for gravity fed domestic supply. But an irrigation tank not quite so far up, with rainwater collection feeding it, and a root cellar on the north side is a solid idea.

Another alternative is to build against the hill, berming on the south and west (or east, depending on where the house actually lands) with the entry on the east (or west, depending), and the berm could extend a little bit to provide additional cover to the entry. The house itself could provide additional cover to the south.

You've got my thoughts percolating. Thanks, Jay!
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Location: Geraldton, Ontario -Zone 1b
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We built a large circular earthbag root cellar in 2018/2019. It took two summers to complete because it had to be built at ground level and then bermed up around it due to high groundwater level. I tell people that I couldn't dig down so I had to dig up, but nobody gets it. During lulls in construction, I covered the partially complete walls with tarps to keep out sunlight and rain, and over the winter I filled the whole thing with the dirt that I would be using the following summer to fill the remaining earthbags. It felt horribly counter-productive but I was terrified of the walls being destroyed by frost over winter. Everything was covered with styrofoam and tarps before the snow came. In spring, when I uncovered it all, it was exactly as I had left it, and when I resumed filling earthbags I was working at ground level. For a few rows, anyway. I installed weeping tile all around at the base and it drains out to a lower spot nearby.

Once the walls were up, we moved our Groovy Yurt on top of it and installed a trapdoor from inside. I'm still not finished the berm because at this stage everything needs to be done by wheelbarrow. I'd gotten my 4wd tractor with trailer stuck a few times before giving up on machinery to finish the job. This year, for sure!?

In terms of function, it has done very well. It is currently at 1degC and has never gone below 0. In the late summer it got as high as 9degC but I think once the berm is complete, insulated and waterproofed it should stay cooler. I think the lack of any openings in the walls helps a lot, so my experience may not translate well to what you are considering but I hope it helps somehow.
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