Opening Up a Hole-In The Ground Root Cellar in January


Happy January (BURRR!!!)

So, in Northern Ontario, it can get a bit chilly in January! This makes it a challenge for anyone who is using, starting to use, or thinking about using a hole in the ground root cellar. I have been asked many questions regarding the root cellar post I made this summer. Here is the link if you are interested: A Simple Hole in the ground root cellar.

Here are some basics for opening it up in the winter months:

  1. Wait for a warm day.  You must wait for a warm day. Anything warmer then -15 Celsius is best. Also, a sunny calm day. Once you open up your cellar, the heat will rise out and the cold will rush in. When we opened it in the video attached, the thermometer in the cellar said the inside was 2 degrees Celsius which is perfect. However, it drops in minutes to a dangerous temperature.
  2. The ☀️ sun will be your best friend! The inside of the cellar is darker material and will absorb a little bit of heat which will help a lot.  Cloudy days don’t allow that little bit of sun warmth that helps you so much.
  3. The wind is also a challenge. The wind will wick the warmth away.
  4. Open, Grab what you need, Close! FAST… Once you get what you need, close up your cellar as quickly as possible so the temperature doesn’t drop too much. Shovel more snow on as well as the snow is your main insulator.

You will note that there are 2 lids on the root cellar. That little pocket of air helps buffer the temperature change. Some people put leaves in between the two lids to help. I use the styrofoam layer as seen in the video.

If your root cellar temp drops too much or it’s open too long, your veggies will freeze. Carrots will crack and start to rot, and potatoes will rot. I have made this mistake! I needed some veggies, and opened it up quickly on a cold day. It was open for less than 5 minutes and that was enough to destroy half of my storage over the next few months.

The veggies will be just like the day you put them in…. so amazing! The potatoes actually get a sweet taste as the time goes on while in the cellar. The starches in the potatoes are slowly breaking down into sugar. They are sooo yummy!

Please remember, this is a root cellar, so this cellar is designed for root veggies with the exception of onions and garlic…. don’t put those in! And also, no veggies like beans, corn, cabbage…ect. It really is best for potatoes and carrots for storage right into the summer, beets and rutabaga into January (these start to loose flavour after that).

As noted in my previous blog/post about building a root cellar, it is important to put your veggies in sand or moss. I prefer sand myself, and my neighbour prefers moss.

Have question? Send me an email:

As many of you MAY know, I’m a musician as well.. so sharing a link to one of my songs 🙂 if you are interested in helping me out with a view or two on my YouTube 🙂



See you then! Happy Gardening!


P.s. If you have questions,  please feel free to drop me a line at