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How to Turn a Shipping Container Into a Root Cellar

By Marjorie Gilbert
A single shipping container can serve you as a root cellar.
container ship express image by feisty from Fotolia.com

The art of using a root cellar extends, according to Hobby Farms, back to the Iron Age. The use of larger walk-in root cellars were first used in 1600s' England. This practice traveled with the settlers to Colonial America. The rationale behind the root cellar is this: because of its insulated walls and the fact it is dug into the ground it remains at least 40 degrees colder than the outside temperature, even in summer. This helps preserve the food. You can create your own root cellar by using a shipping container.

Check with your city hall or town office to make certain that it will be possible to build the container root cellar in your neighborhood.

Prepare the hole in which the container will be placed. Dig the hole large enough for the container as well as a way to access the container.

Pour a concrete pad for the container. The concrete pad will help prevent moisture from the earth penetrating the container.

Apply roofing tar to the exterior of the container. This will help preserve the walls of the container.

Build a retaining wall of cinder block and mortar around the container. This will help prevent the container walls from collapsing.

Install vents in the top of the container. This will ensure the interior is well ventilated.

Cover the container with dirt, being sure to leave the passageway in and the door free for easy access.


Things You Will Need

  • Zoning
  • Bulldozer
  • Concrete pad
  • Roofing tar
  • Retaining wall (cinder blocks)

About the Author


Marjorie Gilbert is a freelance writer and published author. An avid researcher, Gilbert has created an Empire gown (circa 1795 to 1805) from scratch, including drafting the gown's patterns by hand.