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Other Cellar Types

Like mentioned, the design of root cellars varied due to the usage of different materials in the construction of them. There are two other types of root cellars found in Newfoundland and Labrador. The first, a barrel cellar, is constructed using a converted barrel or drum. These types of cellars are quite small. Some use galvanized metal garbage cans to serve the same purpose. When these small cellars are constructed, they need to be water tight and fully insulated to provide long lasting preservation of vegetables.

Cartoon wooden barrel partially in the ground with the top opening covered.

Barrel Cellar.

Boyd Whelan of Western Bay remembers using this type of cellar for cabbage:

You didn’t keep cabbage long anyway. Grandfather used to, I can see it now, he used to keep the roots on it and hang it up in the cellar up to the ceiling, let it hang. If you cut the cabbage and put it down in the bin it wouldn’t last as long as you wanted it to last. Sometimes they’d bury it outdoors; dig a hole and put a barrel or something down in, put the cabbage down in, put the barrel down with no bottom in it and cover it all in . . . in the spring we’d start to get that. That’s when you got hungry!

Another type, the walk-in cool room, is an insulated room part of a house or an outbuilding. It serves the same function as a traditional root cellar however, its construction and appearance differs greatly. Torbay resident and gardening expert Ross Traverse has a walk-in cool room cellar in his home built in the early 1970s. Traverse still uses the room which is located inside his basement to store homemade wine, a variety of canned goods and preserves, vegetables he grew himself, berries he grew and picked, as well as other household items. 

The interior of a walk-in cool room with shelves stocked with various items.

Interior of Ross Traverse’s Walk-in Cool Room, June 2011.

The interior of a walk-in cool room lined with shelves stocked with bottles.

Interior of Ross Traverse’s Walk-in Cool Room, June 2011.