WOW! That one is interesting! Being earthbearm intrigues me. We grow reishi in our greenhouse, under all the plants, in big pots with sand. Our chicken coop was cordwood masonry, I love some of those old techniques making a resurgence.
In our book I describe how I converted a coal bin into an indoor grow room.With your earthbearm which would be similar in some of it's characteristics, you need air circulation otherwise you will get molds in there. You also want to insure that water won't be standing-big giant NO NO. You also want to be able to control the humidity-seeing that you are from Wyoming this is huge! We have sold our place in Pa and live in Montana now so I am dealing with the dry air. I have some project sin the greenhouse, and along a small stream that splits my property. The stream/spring was a pre-requisite for me!
These are the factors that you have to take into account. Indoor growing is a challenge all by itself. I tackle how to set it up and how to run it www.mycelialmayhem.com Being in a semi-arid climate now, My local talks have been how to address those challenges. Indoor is the way to go if you are prepared. I would be interested in seeing your earthberm, maybe I could offer better advice that way.
Hope this helps somewhat. Writing the chapters on indoor growing and it's setup was much like indoor growing very frustrating but very rewarding too!
Location: Greybull WY north central WY zone 4 bordering on 3
posted 2 years ago
I haven't built the earth berm yet. I am still trying to figure out exactly what it needs to look like.
Tentative planning has 2 aquaponics fish tanks built into the berm with just a bit of an open window or hole near the top to work with the fish. The tanks will serve as the buttress for the back wall. At floor level between the tanks and on either side of the tanks my thinking goes to run 3 vaults back into the berm and plan to grow the mushrooms with them. If I line them up with the paths in the greenhouse I will have room to pull a rolling cart out of the vault to put mushroom stuff on. I intend to use earth tube based heating and cooling to help moderate the climate in the greenhouse.(one of 7 systems stack to hopefully render the greenhouse both self heating and self cooling) Since the mushroom vaults are part of my thinking for the air systems I will describe my rough thinking there.
There would be 1 to 3 air intakes up near the ceiling to take hot air in. Run this downward through large PVC pipes as ducts down to the level where the individual 4 inch drain line plastic line take off. To keep the cost down here use cracked pipes from the local pipe dealer that I can get for next to nothing and repair them. Since the pipes are buried in the dirt of the back wall a few small air leaks won't matter. In the bottom take off to roughly 10 parallel 4" drain tile pipes that wind down in 2 or 3 layers. The bottom layer run a duct up from those pipes to the front of the side 2 vaults. Flow the air to the back of the vaults and then sidesways to the back of the center vault. The air comes through to the front of the center vault and then into a solar chimney like they are using on the passive solar dehydrators. This provides passive air flow when the sun shines. The thinking goes like this on a sunny day the hottest air in the building near the peak is sucked down into the ground where the deeper it goes the cooler it gets. When it gets to the bottom and is as cool as it can get it is then sucked back up and into the fronts of the side 2 vaults, backwards along their length and sideways to the center vault and forward along the center vault to the chimney. That means the air flowing by the mushrooms in this part of the mode should have been the most humid air in the building because it was hot to begin with. When it is cooled relative humidity should rise.(assuming moisture isn't lost to condensation which is possible) So my hope is the air would be moist enough. The mushrooms would provide CO2 to the plants and a bit of winter heat. If the greenhouse is getting to hot still then pressurize the inlet air with a blower to increase air flow and heat transfer. In the early morning dump the heated air from the chimney back into the greenhouse air. When the temperature is high enough vent the heated air outside instead. This is one of my problem areas because we just boosted the CO2 in the air and now we are dumping it instead of keeping it in with the plants. So still trying to figure out how to build a heat exchanger to vent other air instead of the CO2 ladden air from the mushrooms. At night change some flow doors so the system drew air in low from the floor on the inlet tubes rather than high and vent air about half way up the chimney. Warm air rises and direction of flow should already be established so the system should passively pump the ground and stored solar heat back up to heat at night. There again if more is need turn the blower fan on to pressurize the tubes..
The original plan was to use large scraper tires like in an earthship to make the back wall. 4 rows high and bolted together and then fill and pack with the loader/backhoe and then backfill behind In 2 of the columns cut side walls out of the lower 3 tires and add bolted on posts to the outside to maintain strength. So a 3 tire high tank area was created. Build a cob cone in the bottom and cut a window in the tread of the 3rd tire up and put a plastic pond liner in giving a cone bottom round tank of roughly 600 gallons for the cost of bolts and pond liner.(I can get the tires for free) But this one idea is shot down by perception. Everyone I talked to was concerned about the tires being toxic in some way. There isn't a single bit of good scientific evidence that they would be and even if they were most of the things a tire could put off the greenhouse environment would naturally deal with. But in this case perception is reality whether it is the truth or not. So now I am trying to figure out how to build affordable forms so I can tap the waste stream concrete from our local concrete plant. They throw away as much as a couple of hundred yards a year because of things going wrong and overages etc. By stacking solar, geothermal/ground mass, compost internal, compost external, water storage heat, Rocket mass heater and bugs/animals/mushroom I think it should be possible to build a system that will basically heat itself all winter long even in harsh WY winters.
posted 2 years ago
I'm blown away! But it is that style of thinking that had me take a chainsaw and make a bird-bath totem out of stump. I have pictures of that project in the book and in my talks. You probably have a better grasp on your system than I am imagining. There are two areas I'm thinking of when I read through that (three times to try and grasp it) One is the old root cellar ideas where a buried pipe outside helps provide fresh air in and keep water away. The best example I have seen of this that may help you is in Sepp Holzer book, he does some "Hobbit house" storage caves out of trees, rocks, soild. You may want to look into those concepts and incorperate what you can. If you use basic piping you could create a "shut off" for when it gets really cold.
Secondly the issues of elevated CO2 is a problem for mushrooms- You will get long spindly stalks and small cap formation with elevated levels. Certain mushrooms we did would NOT fruit when levels were high. They would create the primoridia mass but never fully mature. Elevated CO2 with Reishi will give the antler form as opposed to the conch form. The antler form is sought after in Asian markets more so than the conch. So that is something to think about.
By the way it was a trip to Cloud Peak for a week that really got my wife thinking of a western move!
Location: Greybull WY north central WY zone 4 bordering on 3
posted 2 years ago
I hadn't thought of elevated CO2 levels being a threat to the mushrooms. I had figured that mostly the system should breath by itself a couple of times a day most of the time and that the stagnant parts of the day were not a threat. How long does it take for elevated levels to be a threat to the system? If they mushrooms have normal air quality for at least a couple of hours twice a day is that good enough? I realize volumes of air and volumes of mushrooms affect this number. Just looking for best guess. I was trying to make this work somewhat completely passively. While at times electricity was necessary to improve performance the goal is a system that will at least sort of work as long as nature works.
It just seemed like a natural fit. The dirt has to moved anyway to make the berm so making man made caves of sort saves in total dirt moved, increase soil/air contact for geothermal gain, and the mushrooms provide a winter time CO2 source to hopefully boost greenhouse production while at the same time making organic matter compost for the plants. Caves are mildly too cool for most types of mushrooms so some added warmth was a goal which made incorporating the "caves" ie vaults into the air circulation system makes sense.
As for standing water around the mushrooms I think that one is low risk given the rest of the plans. For the deepest level of the in ground geo-air system part of it is intended to be multipurpose. The deepest drain pipes would go back to a casing for a sump pump to deal with the green house flooding. Bury the lowest level in washed rock and use the piping system that looks like interlaced fingers to force part of the air out and into contact with a bunch of the washed rock. Enough washed rock and then this part of the system could also be used as an emergency storage tank for draining another tank in the system. Say 10 yards of washed rock was used. Pore space for spherical material of consistent size is .26 of total volume. That is 270 cubic feet of volume times .26 giving 70 cubic feet(525 gallons) of pore space to fill with air or water. Most of the time it would be air but for short term use it could be filled with water. If tanks sizes are right around 600 gallons per tank that would mean a tank could temporarily be dumped down into the ground in an emergency if needed for repairs. Between over flow capacities on other tanks, wells and sumps that are dry most of the time and this storing 600 gallons temporarily should be doable. But most of the time this will provide good protection for the mushrooms against being flooded. If they are on rolling carts that pull out of the vaults that would give another about 4 inches that the whole floor of the green house would have to flood by to have standing water near them.
Thanks for the info.
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