Don’t Know Where to Store Your Harvest? Make a Trash Can Root Cellar

colorful carrots ready to be stored in a trash can root cellar

Growing your own food feels great and can help you be more self-sufficient in a crisis. But sometimes you grow more than you can eat and have nowhere to store it. Instead of tossing out your favorite root vegetables, consider making a trash can root cellar for storage. Here’s how. 

What Is a Trash Can Root Cellar?

A root cellar is a storage area usually located entirely or partially underground. Using the naturally cool and moist conditions of soil, root cellars offer great storage space for fruits, vegetables, and other food items. They are handy during winter months when trying to make your harvest last or if you’ve had a bigger harvest than usual. However, not everyone has a basement or other underground space they can turn into a root cellar or the room or budget to build a root cellar from scratch.

Garbage can root cellars are a cheaper, homemade alternative to the traditional root cellar. With a few simple tools and a metal garbage can, you can make your own emergency food storage space for your hard-earned produce. 

How Do You Make a Trash Can Root Cellar?

To make a garbage can root cellar, you’ll need a few basic garden supplies and tools:

  • Galvanized steel trash can with lid
  • Shovel
  • Power drill
  • Straw
  • Stones or gravel
  • Tarp or other waterproof cover

Before making your trash can root cellar, you need to pick the right location for it. You want to find a spot with good drainage and avoid areas where water might collect after wet weather. If you live somewhere with snow, try to find a covered spot, like under a porch. 

Once you’ve picked your spot, it’s time to start digging. Dig a hole large enough to fit your garbage can while leaving about four inches of the can above the dirt. Place your stones or gravel at the bottom of your hole to help drain water away from the trash can.

Using your drill, make a few ventilation holes on the bottom of your trash can. Put the can in the hole and begin filling it with your produce. Layer your produce by type and add straw between each layer to help with insulation

After you’ve filled the can with your harvest, seal it with the lid. Place about a foot or so of straw on top of the can and lid for further insulation Finally, cover your garbage can root cellar with a tarp or another waterproof cover. This cover will help hold the straw in place and prevent outside moisture from getting into the can. Use large rocks, bricks, or cinder blocks to secure the tarp and protect your can from the elements and wild animals. 

What Can You Store in a Trash Can Root Cellar?

A root cellar is great for storing some fruits and vegetables, but not every produce item will do well. Some of the best survival crops to keep in your root cellar include:

  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Beets
  • Turnips
  • Parsnips
  • Garlic
  • Squash
  • Onions

When storing your produce, be aware that certain crops might not get along. For example, potatoes and onions usually don’t store well with each other. And if you store apples with carrots, gasses from the apples could turn the carrots bitter. 

Root vegetables are an essential part of a balanced diet, but you’ll need more food in case an emergency happens. Turn to 4Patriots for convenient, delicious survival food kits that will get you through any crisis. Shop online today.