I like greenhouses, but I only like them for about two months of the year. For most of the year, a greenhouse is too hot or too cold or redundant because outside temperatures are perfect for growing.
My new building will be used as a greenhouse in early spring, then it will become a spa and sometimes bunkhouse /workshop until about October. From October until March, it will be a wood shed.
I have mountains of rock and I have access to free, 7 ft, used chain link fencing. The wire will be formed into round pillars and filled with rock, to form the four corners of my building.
A gabion wall of similar construction will form the north wall. The north wall will curve outward, since that is stronger than going in a straight line.
The east and south walls will be made of wood frames and glass which I already have. Someone salvaged 10 really nice panes of patio door glass and then left them at a site where I was working. Ka ching.
The west wall gets very little sun, since the forest and cabin block it. This wall, which is closest to the point of use for firewood, will be made of regular two by six framing, and will have French doors. There will be no openings in the glass walls or in the north gabion wall, which is made of rock and wire.
The gabion pillars will be about 32 inches in diameter. The north wall will be about 16 inches thick. This little building will be very heavy and it will be able to bear a very heavy roof load. The roof will be rubber lined and covered with soil. I will allow grapes to grow up over it.
I will begin this job by building some big hugelkultur beds. Rocks are a byproduct of soil sifting.
Sounds good Dale, How do you do your soil sifting for rocks? I have a backhoe and usually if I just pick up a load and drop it over and over again the rocks tend to end up exposed at the bottom of the pile .
I have Randy, the machine operator, dump the rocks at the top of a hugelkultur mound and the rocks roll to the bottom. I lay small branches in a crisscross pattern, so that they become a grid for sifting rocks larger than a baseball.
The first thing I intend to build from my fencing is a big sifter that will be laid against the side of hugle mounds. I'll make it about 12 by 12. The grid size is already chosen. It's the size of the holes in chain-link fencing. This is the same fencing that will form my gabions, so all rocks will be larger than the grid on the fencing. When working with the excavator, I usually have to help with the sifting process, since flat faced specimens don't slide as well.
The machine will also be used for filling the gabions. I won't have him dump the material in. I'll have the bucket of the machine held just above the opening of a gabion and then I'll work from scaffolding to hand fill the delicate wire cages.
Gabions are a great place to dispose of potato shaped rocks and other rounded stuff that doesn't stack well. Flattish, squarish and other useful building rocks will be set aside for higher uses.
Wood framing covered by a rubber liner and then, sifted mineral soil. I won't, put a special mix up there. Just regular dirt since I plan to grow grapes up and over the roof.
The soil covering is simply a means of keeping the sun off of the rubber liner.
I won't water it in the beginning stages, but in the future I may turn it into an aquaponic roof.
I expect the cost of the roofing membrane to be more than 50% of total cost. Almost everything else, except for some screws and caulking are things that I can gather from my land or from the city, for free.
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
posted 5 years ago
Yesterday morning, I was thinking about my new masonry stove and the need for firewood storage. Then I got called to look at a row of small cedars that need to be taken down. I had already been thinking about my pile of free fencing. When I put all of these resources together, it equals most of the building that is presented here.
This thread shows how I get good quality used fencing for free.
Diego Footer on Permaculture Based Homesteads - from the Eat Your Dirt Summit