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Has anyone built and used a Solviva-style greenhouse?  RSS feed

 
Laura Sweany
Posts: 289
Location: Onalaska, Lewis County, WA
6
chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur tiny house urban
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Many years ago, when I was just a baby permie, I went to Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA and saw Anna Edey, author of the seminal text Solviva, speak on her book and her ideas for a greenhouse that was passively warmed by sun and poultry kept in a northern compartment of the structure. The CO2 produced by the chickens was incorporated back into the southern growing compartment of the greenhouse by means of an "earthlung" that was a soil bed in the center of a trombe wall where the CO2-rich air from the chickens could filter through the soil and act as another input for the growing plants on the southern portion of the structure. For someone in a rather cloudy part of the world such as the Pacific Northwest, this seemed like a tremendous idea for encouraging winter veggie growth, not just a storage stasis for winter crops like that suggested by Eliot Coleman, Binda Colebrook and others.

Has anyone here actually built one of these nifty critters? http://www.solviva.com/
 
Henri Lentonen
Posts: 73
Location: Finland
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The idea is good, but too bad I dont have money to buy it, quote from the solviva.com:

"PRICE OF DRAWINGS: individual sheets: $50, the whole set of 13 sheets: $400"

But as the idea is good, I also have been thinking how to integrate compost to greenhouse - as many others too.

Not to say solviva.com would be bad, I think it is good to also sell good things - but I think better is, that we think ourselfs and when there is some good idea: maybe it is you, who can figure out a simple way to make it better?

As simple things, are the most best inventions. I think something simple, will also let us to compost inside greenhouse - without the ammonia in the air, or too much bugs.

I was wondering of the "earthlung" term, how it exactly operates? The air will not move by itself through earth.

There is many pictures of year around greenhouses. They basically just work couse they are underground.

Adding compost heat and CO2  to this - would be very much more growth to plants. As I understand, below 13 celsius (55F) plant growth is inhibit very much.

So in greenhouse, there must be more than that when the sun is shining and photosynthesis occur, so the plants will grow properly.

Also, here in Finland, the limiting factor of crowing plants inside your home isnt the sun power - but the sun photoperiod.

Even in winter the sun emits about 100w per m2 in Finland, in summer it is 600w.

Photoperiod is the cycle between light and dark, that plants use to start flowering. So growing for example chiles from seed in a sunny window on winter, just does not work in Finland and the plants most def will die: but adding just couple watts of LED, will give good growth.

So here in winter, you will need extra light just to adjust the photoperioid for example with LEDs. The intensity or watts of the artificial light isnt important, but adjusting the light for seedlings to 18 hours light and 6 hours darkness, is good.

Some link of subject:

http://www.treehugger.com/green-architecture/build-underground-greenhouse-garden-year-round.html

 
Laura Sweany
Posts: 289
Location: Onalaska, Lewis County, WA
6
chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur tiny house urban
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The photoperiod information is interesting, but I wouldn't be trying to get plants to flower and fruit in the winter - I'd simply be happy with leaves and stems. So with a bit more warmth and some CO2 it should work. This year I kept 4 rabbits inside my 6'x8' greenhouse, and if we hadn't had the worst winter in 30+ years, I think it might have been a winner for cool-temp, low light plants like mustards, lettuce, celery, etc. I also had a 55 gal drum and 30 gal bin filled with water to act as mass storage for daytime heat, but I'm not certain they really worked well.
 
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