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WyOasis (in the snow) Greenhouse Build

 
Posts: 22
Location: USDA Zone 3-4/Sunset Zone 1a/in South Central WY
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Join us for an old-fashioned barn raising. Well, actually we are starting the exciting greenhouse build. Using the greenhouse-in-the-snow kit from Russ Finch in Alliance, NE, we will be building a 72' greenhouse in Medicine Bow, Wyoming. The center "pit" is dug and all the supplies have arrived. If anyone is interested in sharing the experience, we can use all the help we can get. Over the next few months we will be assembling the greenhouse: digging post holes for the inner retaining wall and completing it; digging the foundation post holes and assembling the frame; attaching the lexan to the frame; attaching the back wall (roofing metal); building the end and interior walls; running water and electricity; improving the soil for planting; and planting this year's crop inside and the ground cover crops outside.

Also on the agenda is to continue with the swales and berms and ponds--we are expecting about 1,000 seedlings from the conservation district that need to be planted. They should arrive at the end of May.

Please contact us at seifertks@gmail.com if you would like to volunteer to give us a hand with this adventure! We'll feed you!

Due to a huge influx of windfarms being built, there may be no motel rooms available. However, we have room for campers or tents on our property. Check the town website for lodging and local attractions (camping, fishing, hiking, etc.):  www.medicinebow.org.

Kani holds a PDC from Geoff Lawton and we are in the process of permaculturing our 8 acre homestead at the edge of town.
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The hole in the ground
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Starting the retaining wall
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Surveying for level
 
Kani Seifert
Posts: 22
Location: USDA Zone 3-4/Sunset Zone 1a/in South Central WY
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Here is a video on The Greenhouse in the Snow up in Nebraska.  

 
steward
Posts: 4618
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
441
hugelkultur forest garden fungi books bee greening the desert
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HERE is more information about Medicine Bow and forming a community.
 
master steward
Posts: 10065
Location: Pacific Northwest
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hugelkultur kids cat duck forest garden foraging fiber arts sheep wood heat homestead
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Kani, that's an awesome and inspiring video! Thanks for sharing it! It's so cool that you guys are building an earth-sheltered greenhouse. I've thought about making one where I am, but our ground water is so high, and we have very limited winter sun (like 2 hours a day due to trees and being north-facing), so I'm doubting that a greenhouse would do much good.
 
Kani Seifert
Posts: 22
Location: USDA Zone 3-4/Sunset Zone 1a/in South Central WY
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We are not as far along as we'd like to be due to the last snowstorm, but we've built the inside retaining wall. Lots more to come. If you want to join in the fun, you'd be welcome!
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4' depth (plus some) retaining wall being built
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We're getting there!
 
Kani Seifert
Posts: 22
Location: USDA Zone 3-4/Sunset Zone 1a/in South Central WY
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We're a little further along now.

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Laying out the tubes.
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Tubes in the ditch.
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At the end of a swale, underground moisture caused a cave in.
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Underground water off the end of a swale.
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South rail installed.
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North rail installed.
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Ready to attach the frame.
 
Posts: 1978
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
157
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How have I just seen this. Yay Wyoming. Did you get one of the grants for this? Can't wait to see how it goes for you!
 
Kani Seifert
Posts: 22
Location: USDA Zone 3-4/Sunset Zone 1a/in South Central WY
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We are now much further along, but with much more to go! Things always take longer than anticipated. We are almost to the point of getting the electricity installed. We have a frost-free hydrant already put in to insure our water supply. The west end wall is about to be completed. The inner and east walls are going to be built after we get some compost and mulch put in. Unfortunately, the frame is too low to be able to use the skidsteer to move soil. Drat!

We'll keep adding more information as the project continues.
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Leveling the rail was precise work.
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Framework going up.
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The frame is completed. Careful measuring of distances and squaring and leveling took some time.
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Frost-free hydrant installed.
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The end lexan panel installed.
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It can be done with 2 people, but having more really helps.
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The lexan panels are sandwiched between 2-4" strips on the framework.
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Be sure to have a ladder jockey as there is a lot of work up in the air!
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The double-walled lexan is all securely screwed down. We put in extra due to our high winds.
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Miles arrived in time to screw in the last panel of roofing steel on the north side.
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The two long walls are completed.
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These are the geothermal air tubes coming in to the greenhouse. They'll be cut off later.
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Miles taking a rest after building the block walls in the vestibule area.
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One of two windows completed in the west wall. There will also be a vent to exhaust hot air from the roof peak.
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1978
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
157
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
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Loving it! I think a metal frame was the way to go in Wyoming as well. I'm interested in the longevity of those panels you have. Keep us updated!!!
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 4618
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
441
hugelkultur forest garden fungi books bee greening the desert
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Thanks for posting Kani, lots of hard work, good food and good helpers all around.

Remember permies, if you want to spend some time in Wyoming, Kani and Lyle could use some helpers!
 
Posts: 6
Location: New Mexico
foraging composting toilet homestead
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Wow, I just saw this today -- we are about 5 months behind you!  We are planning to pick up our greenhouse kit in Alliance mid-September.  We hope to get the lid on before winter sets in here in the high desert.

Your work looks amazing!  It's really coming together.  It sounds like you have other big projects going on at the same time -- must be overwhelming!

How did the tube trench go?  I saw the cave-in photo.  Our land is pretty sandy, and that's the scariest part of the project for me.  I can't imagine a huge long 8' deep trench having any integrity here (northern NM @7200' below the face of a mesa).  I was even wondering if we could lay the tubes out parallel to where the trench will be, have the excavator dig, follow right behind pushing the tubes in, and back fill pretty quickly...

Also, can the tubes be trenched before the structure is built?  We will be hiring the excavator work so will likely do all the digging at once.

It looks like your floor is wider than most?  Was that just a design/production decision?  Are you planning on more trees and less raised bed area?  Or did I misjudge that in the photos?

All the best to you!  We'll be watching for updates!
 
pollinator
Posts: 321
Location: Greybull WY north central WY zone 4 bordering on 3
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Why are all the tubes in the same trench?  I thought the goal was a much mass contact as possible and that each tube was its own loop.
 
Kani Seifert
Posts: 22
Location: USDA Zone 3-4/Sunset Zone 1a/in South Central WY
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1. These were buried 12' deep, so being in the same trench works. The trench is wide enough that most are touching dirt. We had them twist around each other a bit to provide turbulence to the air flow.
2. Digging separate 250' trenches for each drain tile would be cost prohibitive.
3. It is what Russ Finch designed. All of his are built this way.
We do have one separate pipe in the vestibule that will suck in air from the outside (it is still in the same ditch, but is only 100'). This is being used to chill the vestibule to temper the heat build-up in winter. We are planning on planting a Santa Rosa plum and an Elberta peach--both need winter chill, but not the cold that we get here. An experiment we hope works.

We will be pushing the air through the pipes with a squirrel cage fan. This will prevent the sandy soil from entering the perforations of the drain pipe that could happen with pulling the air through with the fan. As a quick test, we placed a portable house fan on top of the pipes, and the air exiting at the other end was quite cool. With the appropriately powered fan, I'm anticipating a great cool (or warm in the winter) air flow. When we visited Russ last December, his greenhouse was 85 degrees F. and there was snow on the ground outside.

 
Kani Seifert
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Location: USDA Zone 3-4/Sunset Zone 1a/in South Central WY
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We are steadily progressing on the greenhouse. If I were to do it again, I'd build the soil on the sides and in the center of the greenhouse before the frame was completed. That would have saved on the ibuprofen! ha! We've had a lot of shovel work as the frame was too short to get the dump trailer in. We ended up taking the cage off the skidsteer and it can go in, but it was close quarters. If we hadn't had to worry about the retaining wall, it would have been better. But, everything is working, just sore muscles.

We'll keep updating with more pictures as the work continues. Hopefully, it will be mostly completed before the snow flies. We've been lucky so far this fall, as usually we've had snow, or at least a frost by now. Cross your fingers!

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The first end is up. We need to cap the corners and foam the gaps.
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We trenched a 3' deep trench down the middle to accept a drain tile (perforated pipe) which will receive hot air from the roof peak starting in the fall. The intent is to divert hot air outside during the summer and into the ground in the winter.
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All around the outside is 2' insulation. This is covered by plastic sheeting to divert the water away from the greenhouse and also help keep cold from seeping in to the raised beds.
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We ended up putting some old fence boards along the gap between the bottom rail and the insulation to keep the soil from sagging into the greenhouse. It should protect the plastic from too much stress.
 
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