• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
  • Joseph Lofthouse
stewards:
  • Mike Jay
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Devaka Cooray
garden masters:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Dave Burton
  • Dan Boone
gardeners:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
  • Mike Barkley

earth-sheltered greenhouse - where to start?

 
Posts: 260
Location: De Cymru (West Wales, UK)
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I didn't know if this should go in this forum or the greenhouse one, but here goes. We have earth berms on our property, they are about 5-6' in height with sloping sides and at one point they form a corner - maybe about 120 degrees. This corner is well sheltered from prevailing winds and gets a lot of sun _south-westerly aspect). I am considering building a greenhouse type structure there, sort of a hybrid of earth-sheltered and roundhouse. I would like to use the berms to form about half of the circumference, then have the open face mostly glass - perhaps with cob walls a few feet high? And a reciprocal roof, with the north-sloping side as a green roof to provide insulation against north winds, and the south-facing side clear (glass or other). I've only just started thinking about this so I need to do a lot more research! What are the pros and cons of this type of building? Pros - sheltered from the wind, using the earth berms as a heat-sink, warmer than a polytunnel Cons - possibly costly and definitely hard work to build, making a permanent enclosed growing space comes with a host of potential problems in managing the microenvironment, etc
Specific questions I have at the moment are:
What to build the 'interior' walls out of - the walls against the earth berms? The berms themselves are too sloped to just use as-is. They are earth with large amounts of rock and some vegetation. I'm thinking to build some strong walls that won't rot, and then back-fill so that there is no space between the back of the wall and the berm, and the roof slopes right onto the berms. Can I build a wall of earth-filled tires? Should I go masonry? Would it be possible to build a wood or straw bale wall and wrap it in plastic? (because once I back-fill the earth against it, unprotected wood or straw will eventually just rot)

We are theoretically zone 9 though I have issues with the classification - essentially our winter is not very cold but it's long, and all year round is very very wet and windy.
 
steward
Posts: 4616
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
441
hugelkultur forest garden fungi books bee greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I posted a picture of one that I built in this thread.

http://www.permies.com/t/19422/greenhouses/DIY-Greenhouse

I just stacked the rocks up into walls and built the frame over it. I am sure you could do something much the same.
 
S Carreg
Posts: 260
Location: De Cymru (West Wales, UK)
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks! I did see that thread - it looks very similar to a ruined one at my parents' cabin back in the states, brought back memories! Did you mortar those rocks together or is it a dry stone wall? We do have rocks, but not enough to do that, we'd have to get more which might get expensive, I have no idea. Our village actually has a rather famous slate quarry - sadly long since closed. Most of the rock aside from the slate is bluestone (the same stuff in stonehenge!) - but not enough on our site unless we do some large-scale excavation and sifting.
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 4616
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
441
hugelkultur forest garden fungi books bee greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I just stacked them and filled in with dirt as I went. Sloped each rock slightly back into the hill. I collected them for free, from all over the surrounding area so it took a while.
 
S Carreg
Posts: 260
Location: De Cymru (West Wales, UK)
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Cool, thanks. It's a good idea, definitely one to consider.
 
today's feeble attempt to support the empire
permaculture bootcamp - learn permaculture through a little hard work
https://permies.com/wiki/bootcamp
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!