«Previous    Next»
Chest Freezer Made Into Root Cellar
If you have an old chest freezer you plan to dispose of, consider turning it into a small root cellar. John Halzwart of Sheboygan, Wis., took on the project and has been enjoying fresh kale and potatoes throughout the winter since he made it.
Root cellars work by using the earth for natural cooling, humidifying, and insulating. They must be cool, dark, and well-ventilated. The north side of a building works best, but anywhere that doesn’t get much direct sun will work. “I ensured proper air exchange by installing one PVC pipe that enters the freezer high and another PVC pipe that enters the box low, just like with a regular root cellar,” he says. “Then, I buried the modified chest freezer in dirt up to its lid.”
Success with a chest freezer depends on filling the base with material that preserves its contents without moisture retention. Says Halzwart, “I added drain holes, a layer of gravel, and a foot of coarse sand to the interior of the freezer,”
Halzwart uses his root cellar primarily for preserving potatoes, which he stores from early October through the middle of May. “The potatoes make it through the winter in sand and not a single one goes mushy.” His setup worked especially well as a supply of fresh greens. “I took kale cuttings in the fall and rooted them in a bed of sand over winter,” he explains. “I did add a dusting of rooting hormone to the surface of the sand before sticking the cuttings in. When the temps were above freezing and sunny for an extended period, I opened the lid; when below freezing, I would close it. By spring, I had a pile of rooted cuttings to plant in my garden.”
His setup has inspired him to move forward with more chest freezer projects. “Currently, I’m in the process of putting in a larger freezer on another property I own,” he says. “I hope to try storing apples and carrots in the future.”

  Click here to download page story appeared in.

  Click here to read entire issue

To read the rest of this story, download this issue below or click here to register with your account number.
Order the Issue Containing This Story
2023 - Volume #47, Issue #6