The Potato Hole–An Innovative Mini-Root Cellar

What would you do if you couldn’t put your fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator? If you don’t have a conventional root cellar–and most of us don’t–you have to find alternatives to cold storing your vegetables.

One couple came up with an innovative way–the potato hole. It’s described in a brief article in the September/October 2012 issue of “Backwoods Home Magazine.” Here’s an excerpt.


The potato hole

By Sylvia Gist

We had talked of putting in a regular root cellar, but digging one by hand on our property would have been a daunting task. Just below the meager layer of topsoil which grew wonderful vegetables was a gigantic layer of solid concrete-like clay. So we got by with storing potatoes with the canned goods in the basement where the temperature hovered in the 50s. Unfortunately, sprouts were plentiful by spring.

But one day a few years back, we decided we had had enough of a 15-foot chokecherry bush that was sending suckers into the garden several yards away, so my husband cut it down then dug the roots out — a task that required the pickax, saw, and shovel. The resulting hole looked like it wouldn’t take much to make it big enough to sink the 2 foot by 30 inch (inside diameter) concrete riser we had on hand. “Then,” I said, “we could store potatoes in it.”

Read the whole article here:

Excerpt used with permission of Backwoods Home Magazine. 1-800-835-2418.

For more on storing vegetables in the ground, get the classic, Root Cellaring, by Mike Bubel and Nancy Bubel.


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.