Day 2 started with reconstituing our torn up clay floor into new plaster by pounding it down with a sledge hammer. Very satisfying work!
Once a little water is added to the pounded down clay, it becomes plaster again. Covering the newly built walls with this recycled plaster serve to insulate and regulate the cool temperature and to keep moisture high in the root cellar.
It took a little bit of practice to get the technique of applying this thick muck to a vertical wall – you kind of had to jiggle a chunk of it in your hand to make it pliable and then spread it on thickly with the heel of your hand.
Once most of the plaster was up on the walls, we moved outside for lunch to enjoy the sun and get materials ready for the ventilation system.
Good ventilation is key to a successful root cellar. All that dampness that we’re trying to foster can lead to rotton or moldy veggies if there’s no airflow in the room. The system we were using is a passive intake/outake of warm and cool air through these PVC pipes.
Here’s a sketch from Mike and Nancy Bubel’s book, ‘Root Cellaring: The Simple No-Processing Way to Store Fruits and Vegetables’ that explains how it works:
We started off off by cutting a few holes in the wood covering the old window, then the pipes were positioned in a thick piece of styrofoam insulation and set into place and connected to the cold air pipe along the floor.
And Voila! A fully functioning ventilation system! The blue caps over the intake and outtake pipes allow us to regulate the amount of warm air leaving and cold air coming in.
Later this week we’ll have a post on using the materials you have at your disposal, and we’ll be posting a few videos from the workshop as well. Stay posted!