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questions about permaculture farming and bioshelter  RSS feed

 
Darrell Frey
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Hi all,
I thought i should point out that bioshelter/ greenhouse design is just a part on Bioshelter Market Garden A Permaculture Farm. I am happy to answer questions beyond bioshelter design in this week.
 
Kim Hill
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I am in the beginning stages of understanding permaculture and often wonder if I should even try where I live now. I live on a very small suburban lot with limited space for growing food. I currently have approx. 200 sq ft of raised beds, 5 blue berry bushes, 2 grape vines growing in my back yard and 4 fruit trees in the front yard. In the back the working space I have left measures around 30'x50'. My questions is this...is it worth trying to grow in the permaculture method with such a limited amount of space? Second if not, what would you consider the minimum amount of space needed? thanks Kim
 
Chris Sturgeon
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Location: Yukon Territory, Canada. Zone 1a
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Hi Darrell,
Thanks for answering our questions! I haven't read your books (though I now plan to do so), so please excuse me if I'm asking silly questions.
My main question is about snow-load. I live well above the 60th parallel in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. We are in a semi-arrid climate and don't get more that a couple feet of snow over the winter... but it's steady... and the winter is LONG.

Do you have experience with snowier locations, and how did you deal with the associated problems?

I'm planning out a "chinese" style long green house with light-straw clay back and sides. The front is going to be a steeper angle to capture more of the low aspect spring and fall sun... and to shed snow. I also planned a retractable "shade-cloth" that will more be for insulation during the night, with a secondary function of retracting any overnight snow right off-a there.
Water barrels for thermal mass and possible chickens in an attached coop.

Chinese Style

Thank you.
 
Darrell Frey
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Chris,
regarding snow load. One must definitly build a greehouse structure to support the maximum load. A steeper glazing angle isone consdieratin, so snow is easier to remove. There ae trade-offs between rafter size and glazing area. , again sustainable design is site specific, so one must design for ones own needs and climate
 
Darrell Frey
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Kim,
to me the permaculture method is a design system used to plan the best approach to your situation. Bill Mollison said somewhere it is not how you garden , but where you put the garden. So there are many organic pproaches to landuse and gardening methods that are used in permacultue. in a small space, methods such as john jeavons biointensive farming are very productive. Interplanting, intensive rotation, household composting, rain barrels are all part of a "permaculture garden. locating these elements and applying techniques suited to you and your land to make the best use of time and space is the permaculture technique.
 
Kim Hill
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Thank you for your reply. In my small yard I guess I am doing the permaculture thing after all I did forget to mention I also have 3 chickens which do my pre-composting for me. Just about any vegetation I can compost goes through them first. I use a chicken tractor and after the girls are done eating what they want, I move the pen and rake up what is left. This then goes into a larger compost pile for further decomposition. I have a few rainbarrels but have bit plans for more this year. I found a source of inexpensive 275 gallon totes and will be utilizing 5 or 6 of those to collect water this year. I have ordered some t-tape to set up my raised beds for irrigation. Last year we made a couple of swales to move excess water to areas we wanted dry to areas that needed the water. I guess I just thought you needed a much larger area to be considered permaculture. Kim
 
John Gylleck
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I am familar with Anna Edeys solviva which was a greenhouse that she had with her market garden. She had thermal mass rabits chickens and conservation tech to keep a greenhouse producing year round. Is this also similar? I have also (this may be dating me) seen the New Alchemist works of John Tod. Thou he is still active in. Similarities or influenced by these ?
 
Darrell Frey
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John,
Yes, we consulted with Anna Edey, and visited the New Alchemy Institute, consulting with Earle Barnhart and Bruce Fulford there, and adapted our design as a blend ofthe best of what we had seen at these site. Actually we did not visit Solviva until several years after we built our bioshelter, but we were inspired by her work.
 
Jen Shrock
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Posts: 363
Location: NW Pennsylvania Zone 5B bordering on Zone 6
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Darrell,

I discovered that I only live about 1/2 hour from your place and would love to come check out your farm some time. I am just getting started in permaculture and I will be developing a somewhat small (.42 acre) urban site. Right now I have a tiny 6 X 8 greenhouse that I think can be developed into something more than just a place to house seedlings until the weather becomes more appropriate for them to survive out in the elements. Is it possible to do much with a greenhouse that size without having a negative impact on my carbon footprint? I am open to eventually expanding it, but right now I want to figure out a number of viable options so that I can customize it best to what works for me and my site.

If I remember correctly, your greenhouse is partially heated by warm air blowing across stones under the greenhouse and I would like to hear more about that. Also, how stable is the temperature in your biodome?

I apologize in advance for not having yet ready your book. You may have described it in that.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Jen
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