"In the 1800s, some Belgian and Dutch cultivators started experimenting with the placement of glass plates against fruit walls, and discovered that this could further boost crop growth. This method gradually developed into the greenhouse, built against a fruit wall. In the Dutch Westland region, the first of these greenhouses were built around 1850. By 1881, some 22 km of the 178 km of fruit walls in the westland was under glass.
These greenhouse structures became larger and more sophisticated over time, but they all kept benefitting from the thermal mass of the fruit wall, which stored heat from the sun for use at night. In addition, many of these structures were provided with insulating mats that could be rolled out over the glass cover at night or during cold, cloudy weather. In short, the early greenhouse was a passive solar building."
Henry Jabel wrote:I liked the serpentine wall, all the victorian walled gardens I have seen have had straight walls so it was interesting to find out they were making use of patterns in wall design even back then.
yeah i like those best too. i also like how they explain that the shaped walls have a better structural integrity...due to the curves...
This thread got me to thinking about my observations on trying to get the microclimate for different kinds of plants.
I am at 47 degrees north but relatively mild winters because of the marine influence. Some things like greens and peas suffer if thy get overheated by afternoon sun so having them on the east side of a heat storing wall works good.
Other plants like tomatoes and peppers seem to thrive in the afternoon heat and do well on the west side of the wall but benefit from the cooler morning because they don't pollinate well when they get too hot.
The long clear sky summer days hear is too much light for some plants so with a north/south wall it cuts the day in half. In the winter the day is too short and the sun angle is too low but the vertical south end of the greenhouse gets enough light. I have been packing all my wicking barrels into the greenhouse in the winter even though they are not growing anything to the north thy supply additional mass to temper the temperature swing. but I grow things all winter in the ones on the south end.
Some random thoughts about adapting greenhouse design to match your latitude and temperature extremes.
yes i love this idea - both extremely simple and completely genius !
Hans post above makes me think of the benefits of a high hugel bed, vertical gardening, terracing and other strategies, which will also create warmer micro climates for stretching the growing zones.
i have been in transition lately, and suddenly think i might move to a zone 5a growing zone....coming from a hot zone 8, and previously a mild zone 9...well this is quite a different situation. i will have to relearn gardening again if i do take the plunge and relocate to a cold zone. its got me visioning the perfect high thermal mass/ earth bermed or undergroundgreenhouse again, been doing a bit of reading...
trying to dream up a way to bring some of my sensitive zone 8 plants with me...IF i do end up moving...
love the whole maze of the multiple walls in those pics...it would take quite a team effort to reproduce something like that on a massive scale. but all those thermal mass warmth collectors all built up together could make a place 2-3 zones warmer....
even on a small scale with hugels and terraced levels and such, some things built up to also hold up mats and blankets and such....well that is something but not quite up to the heat gain of the massive fruit walls all joined together for acres and acres....
Along my front driveway (concrete) there's a long narrow flowerbed. Behind the flowerbed is a 30 inch high rock retaining wall (because the yard is higher than the driveway). That flowerbed never quite freezes, not even after a month of -20F temps. I pitch snow over it from the driveway, which insulates too, but so much heat comes out of the dirt behind the rocks that it melts holes in the snow, with enough warmth to feel with your hand.
So now I'm thinkin' a series of rocked-in trenches might make a nice footing for self-heating greenhouses.