So fun for me to watch more people start to come Into the permaculture world, how has the greenhouse been for you now that you've had it a while? With any build there is usually things that we wish we'd done different, what's the biggest "mistake" you felt like you made?
Also is miles going up there and helping you out or yall just friends over the web?
Devon, We are related so I get to visit and help out when I have time off. Might be a bit tougher this year as I took a new job with less days off. Kani says they ate one of the oranges the other day and are waiting for the rest to ripen up ! If you get a chance you should contact them for a tour and check it out. You are not that far away.
I would also love to hear every detail on what you have learned from this process. What, if anything, you wish you had done differently. What works better than expected and what is lacking.
I wrote awhile ago asking if you knew about the Climate Battery design used where the tubes remain under the footprint of the greenhouse to 'charge' the earth underneath with warmth during the day. This is a different design but from what you've learned how do you think it would compare?
I ultimately want to understand which designs work best. I've even heard of someone using an old radiator as a heat exchanger with water running through it (along with a fan) and into barrels or an IBC tote. There are also solar evacuated tubes that could be used to heat water storage tanks. And I've seen the use of phase change materials to store and release heat.
I'm at 5b at 7500' and really want something that works for me, but I couldn't afford to do it twice if the first build isn't up to standards.
Sitting in Cheyenne looking at our record breaking snow and wondering how much yall got from this storm... Or were you north and west of most of it? I was wondering how the greenhouse handled it. And of course yall just trying to get to it.
In the south when the wind gets to 75 mph they give it a name and call it a hurricane. Here we call it a mite windy...
Location: USDA Zone 3-4/Sunset Zone 1a/in South Central WY
Sorry I didn't reply sooner, somehow I didn't get a message that folks had been asking questions.
Devon, just give us a holler to come and visit.
Seth, we do have 1 battery bank tube through the center which we hook up in the fall. It has kept the ground fairly warm. The citrus and avocados are thriving. In looking at our recording thermometer, we did have a week of cloudy days in January and the temp inside dipped to 32F for about 15 minutes. The lime and large avocado near the windows suffered slightly, but they are springing back. The tomatoes on that end also bit the dust, although the peppers are fine. Were we to do it again, we'd use more tubes and place some coming into the middle as well as the end. The blower is placed to blow the air, but it doesn't push enough through the tubes, so I'd also place a "sucker" blower at the incoming ends to help move the air more. Also, we'd place the blower on the east end if we were going to have windows. I'm not sure they are really needed. It's nice in the summer to open the greenhouse, but when we started leaving it closed, the temps regulated themselves somewhat. The biggest problem we've had (besides some bugs) is keeping it cool in the greenhouse. Even in the wintertime the temps can get high if it is sunny outside. We are in Zone 4 and the greenhouse works great. I think it is due to the walipini effect of being 4' below grade. This design would work well at 7500' as it provides so much protection from the elements.
The peaches and plums we planted in the vestibule have all bloomed and leafed out. I hand pollinated, but am not really expecting fruit this year as we don't have any pollinators yet. We had problems last year with aphids and the dreaded red spider mite! This company doesn't sponsor me, but I have to share them - Arbico Organics has saved the day. We got 10,000 ladybugs that arrived ALIVE! No more aphids, and we haven't seen any this spring either. Also, I ordered mite predators. Assassin bugs and some other crawlies took care of the problem. I'm amazed. And we didn't have to spray at all. I think we might have a mouse. As soon as the strawberries get some red, they get chewed. Dang cat is slacking.
Dorothy, we've had a low snow year. It has all evaporated and/or melted and we are already dry. Dang it. If it is going to be cold and windy, we should at least get some moisture along with it. We've been sitting in the below 10% humidity, with most days in the 1-5% range. Being in Cheyenne, you should be one zone warmer and will be able to grow more plants than we can. There is a permaculture group in Laramie County with some really nice folks.
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