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Hoop House Hugel Towers  RSS feed

 
Tim Burrows
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Okay so this is a Hugelkultur with it's sides built more like a planter box. There are poles that the boards screw into and the tops of these poles secure the hoop house from mound to mound. Thus directing all water from the roof into the tops of the mounds where you want it. It then gravity feeds through the mound. rocket mass heater or housing animals inside would increase the heat and you could do a double layered plastic to hold in the heat. Please help me to perfect this design as I am still unclear about venting. Thanks!
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Miles Flansburg
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bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
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I like it Tim, very innovative and creative.
 
Heidi Hoff
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Hope you have no objections to people stealing your idea, Tim! It looks too good not to try!
 
Dale Hodgins
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I'd like to see a big gutter made from pond liner in a U-shape, between roof sections. Weirs or taps could control the quantity of water given to the beds and any excess could dump into a storage vessel or pond at the back of the greenhouse.
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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I'm definitely stealing the design, at leas part of it.

A couple hints/suggestions/things to keep in mind:

If you inflate the covers for better insulation, you will have to account for that extra couple feet of width between the hoops in the "gutter" area.

You will need to control the water somehow, not sure if you want to do it at the gutter or put drainpipe in the bottom of the hugel or both.

SNOW will have no place to go in the gutters. Not a problem if you only get an occasional light snow, but a big problem if you get a lot. You will need a way to deal with it to prevent hoop collapse.

If they aren't too long, end vents should be sufficient for temp control along with shade cloth over the top.

If longer, I would put scissor ends in like they use on high tunnels (they completely open most of the summer). http://shop.hoopbenders.net/metalscissordooradapterfor1emthoopframes-1.aspx

That link also has hoop benders and info on building hoophouses for cheap. I have bought a bender and parts from them and am completely happy with it.



 
Dale Hodgins
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Assuming that you are in the northern hemisphere, the north wall of a greenhouse is an area of huge heat loss and almost no light gain in winter. A simpler method of enclosing a hugelkultur within a greenhouse would be to build it along an insulated north wall. A plastic or rubber liner could protect the wall from moisture. The hugerkultur mound has only one slope which faces south. Roof water could be collected and used wherever needed. In my rainy winters, I doubt that 10% would be needed inside the greenhouse.

By having only south slope and eliminating slope that will not be so productive, we reduce heat loss through evaporative cooling. The entire mound, with it's considerable thermal mass is within the heated space with no portion of it acting as a wick to transfer heat to the outdoors.

The northern junction of wall and floor is generally the darkest area of a greenhouse, so the bulk of the mound occupies less valuable space. This is where water tanks and other non growing things are often stored.

If I were to heat this greenhouse with a RMH I would run the exhaust through the base of a rocky cob bottomed hugel bed. Plants with warm feet can take a little cold air. Too much heat would dry the bed and possibly roast the potatoes.

Most roofs should have more slope than in my crude drawing. If ceiling height allows, the material could occupy the floor to whatever depth is practical.
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Craig Dobbson
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Location: Maine (zone 5)
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chicken dog food preservation forest garden goat hugelkultur rabbit trees
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That is almost exactly what my plan is for a winter greenhouse. I've got a conduit pipe bender that makes a 6 foot wide hoop that's about 3 feet tall. I've used these hoops to make row covers stay up and also to make the roof for my chicken "hoop coop". I'm going to try to arch them over the spaces between my hugel beds after I harvest the last of the pumpkins and squash. I want to see if I can overwinter some carrots and leafy greens with one layer of row fabric and a layer of plastic. If I plant them in October I should be able to harvest them in the spring. The covers should also help to heat the soil in the spring so I can plant my annual veggies earlier.
It seems like a really solid plan so please be sure to share your results.
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Dale Hodgins, I thought of it as the Hugels running N-S (solar N-S) as you would a series of hoophouses.
 
Dale Hodgins
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The problem with beds run N-S is that we're left with 2 slopes( east and west facing) that each receive a few hours of weak winter sun and at no time does it hit the bed at a right angle.

Instead, the east facing slope would be lit from the south east from sunrise until noon and then the west side would get sun from noon until dusk. During the peak solar period from 10am until 2pm, the angle of incidence is so great that the plants would shade one another so that only taller ones benefit.

Think of how you would orient a flat plate collector for hot water.
It would make no sense to have two hugely inefficient collectors, one pointed east and one pointed west. A much more efficient orientation would point the collector due south and tilted toward the sky. Whatever angle of slope is considered best for a solar collector for any given latitude, would be an ideal angle for the slope of a south facing hugelkultur mound.

The whole setup in my professional looking drawing, mimics a bread box solar hot water system.
There might be a few high desert situations where low light levels in winter are not a problem, but for most people who live in an environment where a greenhouse is desired, low light conditions are more difficult to overcome than the issue of maintaining a suitable temperature. I believe my design addresses both problems better than those that ignore slope orientation as likely to be highly important.

One last thing.
The south facing slope is going to be less prone to mold and mildew, since it is heated and well lit for the entire solar period. Cool, shady beds would breed those conditions.
 
Tim Burrows
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All great comments guys, thank you all.

I'll just add I was imagining several of these of different sizes and you could open up floor space in between the mounds for other greenhouse activity or perhaps even to live in? or trees? Perhaps even tropical ones....I wouldn't mind a hammock between 2 exotic trees, between 2 tall hugeltowers, sheltered from rain etc...
connect several rows of them together and maybe a community kitchen inside the poly tunnel complex.

Is that doable or would the conditions inside be too uncomfortable to live? I am imagining rocket mass heaters, body heat, maybe double layered roof.... even an insulated sleeping area with plants growing all over the top....
 
Tim Burrows
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Here is a 3d model of my idea....imagine the greenish areas are full of vines, fruit bushes and veggies!.....Also the end an top would be sealed and doors installed so you could still drive a car inside......The ends are logs driven into the ground and planks of wood hold the soil back. Inside is mixed wood and organic matter. The roof channels all water into the top of the mounds.
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josh brill
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We have small hugles 4ft wide 20inches tall in our hightunnel. They are oriented almost N/S but with our location get more eastern sun. There is noticeably more growth on the east side during the winter. I would worry about snow load if you get any amount of snow in the winter. They should be spaced so you can remove snow with out to much trouble.

If you wanted to run them E/W you need more space because you would need to space the tunnels 25-30ft apart so they dont shade each other. Here in vermont there are a few growers who let the snow build up on the north side, and with a gothic style don't run into trouble.
 
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