1. Find a hillside location for building an underground root cellar that is north-facing and has good drainage.
2. An underground or partially underground root cellar that is bermed or covered with soil will offer the best natural insulation for your stored foods.
3. Choose the best quality produce you have, harvest them at their prime, and remove any broken, bruised, or softened items before storing them for best results.
4. Keep your root cellar or cold storage at a temperature between 32ºF and 40ºF Fahrenheit and with a humidity of 80 to 90 percent.
5. Good ventilation is necessary so the air in the root cellar or cold storage can freely circulate.
6. Check your stored fruits and vegetables at least once a week and pull out any items that are rotting, moldy, or excessively shriveled.
7. If you are finding a lot of your items are going bad, check the temperature, humidity, and air circulation. If you need to pull the produce, preserve it by either freezing or pickling; this allows you to use it before it deteriorates any further.
8. If there are any pests eating your food, take the time to find out how they are getting into the root cellar; then secure the entrance and set traps to stop any further damage.
9. Check your preserves on a regular basis. Make sure you throw out any jars if mold is growing on them or they have a funny odor.
10. Take the time once a year to thoroughly clean your root cellar. Remove and wash all containers and shelves. Rake a dirt floor or sweep a concrete surface and remove all debris from the area. Finally, air out the root cellar by leaving the door open for a few days.