Mike Jay

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since Mar 24, 2016
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Northern WI (zone 4)
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Recent posts by Mike Jay

That seems to me like a fairly large and time consuming build to generate heat on a temporary basis.  RMH's for greenhouses are usually built differently from those for less humid places like houses.  I wonder if there are smaller ways to generate some heat for your situation?

Do you have access to enough leaves and chicken wire to cover the entire greenhouse?

How about a candle heater like this:
3 hours ago
I just found one video of Paul that discusses wood chips in hugelkulture.  The pertinent part starts just before the 5:00 mark.  This is an older video so the thinking on this may have evolved.  But that's where I got my misconception.

4 hours ago
I'm not a hugel expert but I'm pretty sure they strongly suggest to not use wood chips in a hugel berm.  I think you want logs and sticks.  I think it's due to the chips tying up a ton a nitrogen for a long time so the growies can't grow.

6 hours ago
I agree that if you have mass (foundation, etc) it should be inside the insulated envelope of the building.  I'm not sure about the floor though.  My soil temp 7.5' down is 45F.  When I place my greenhouse over it I believe that heat will continue up to the floor of my greenhouse.  Having a constant 45 degree floor should help me keep my greenhouse warm all winter.  Alternately, keeping the greenhouse above 45 will help the earth heat rise up under the greenhouse.  If I was trying to maintain a 60 degree floor, I think I'd have to insulate under the floor. 

As a side note, the GAHT or earth battery systems have different insulation needs because they're storing added heat underground.

6 hours ago
Hi Anthony, it sounds like you have a very cool build about to start.  I may have missed it but why are you insulating under the greenhouse as opposed to insulating outside the foundation (vertically or with a wing/skirt style)?   Then the soil becomes part of your thermal mass.  The same could be asked of the house but I'm guessing that it would feel cold underfoot.
10 hours ago
I think you're on the right track.  I just have a couple thoughts/concerns. 

Lifting the exterior corners makes sense to me.  Lifting on a 4x4 that is connected to an interior wall may or may not work as well.  Is the top of that interior wall touching the trusses?  So when you lift it, it lifts the roof? Otherwise the wall will lift and the roof may not.

Could you just bolt the 4x4 horizontally to a few studs in the exterior wall (near the bathroom wall) and bottle jack it from there?  Once it's up and you have your temporary wall built you can take the jack away and have the work room you need.

My second question is about exterior sheathing.  When you lift at a few places, the only thing holding the wall together is the sheathing and top plates (assuming the bottom plate is useless).  So the shear forces on the sheathing are high.  Hopefully it's in good shape.  Potentially using a long 4x4 (or better a 2x10) that goes the full width of those rooms to jack against could help keep the wall together and the roof flat as it raises up.

Hopefully I'm understanding you and I hope this makes sense.
13 hours ago

Kenneth Elwell wrote:Making the compost more towards "brown" would definitely have solved the ammonia problem.

Awesome, that's reassuring!

Kenneth Elwell wrote: the compost exhaust can be bio-filtered through finished compost under the seedbeds (pgs. 96-97 of GB's CPWH shows one example) which handles the ammonia and odors, but also keeps the CO2 inside.

Yes, I've seen those "biofilter" options, they do complicate things but they are a possibility.

Kenneth Elwell wrote:Why not make your North wall/roof more conventionally framed? (like the Univ. of Missouri solar GH) It could have a vertical wall that might make shelving or hanging of your SHW pipes easier, and make that clipped NE corner easier to frame.
It would save the time of making the (now a different shape) trusses for the North side, and maybe shorter time to complete. (My projects seem to take three times longer than I hope...especially if there's "custom" parts I'm making)
Lots of things get simpler, flat wall panels for insulation and sheathing without cutting strips, joist hangers and brackets that fit the lumber...

I've tried to come up with layouts with a vertical North wall and a sloped North roof but the issue usually boils down to then needing a ridge beam and posts to support the peak.  Or making the north wall and roof into triangle trusses of some sort.  While I don't need a clear span structure, I kind of want one.  Maybe I'm overthinking it but I can't figure out how to easily make flat surfaces work on the North side.  I am definitely open to ideas here though.

If I go with styrofoam insulation on the North side, I can use thin enough sheets to bend to the radius.  Then if I run horizontal purlins I can bend corrugated metal roofing to the radius.  Or I could try the billboard tarp idea. 
14 hours ago
Thanks for the link to the wing insulation Pearl, that's exactly what I'm talking about doing.  It looks like they suggest straw as the insulating material for the wing.  I'm thinking I'll go with styrofoam just to make sure it still works 5 years from now.  Unless I'm totally uninformed   I'm not too worried about moisture due to my sandy soil but it will be good to direct water away from the footing.

I'm hoping to avoid horizontal bars if I can.  The footing and the two trusses make a triangle.  But it's a big triangle so I'll have to be ready to add cross braces if I notice it deflecting under snow load.  The cover will stop at the peak so I will need a board that goes E/W along the ridge to attach the poly to.  But I believe it doesn't have to be a full sized ridge beam.  I will have diagonal boards going across the face of the South wall to brace it plus the North wall roofing should also provide good lateral bracing.

Thanks Ebo for the offer!  That's awesome!  I'm fairly dumb at electronics though.  I've heard of arduinos but I have no idea how they work or how to make them work.  But if the data collection part is easy enough for a mechanical guy like me to do, I'll happily take you up on the offer! 

I wish I had a university nearby with some excited horticulture grad students looking for a project...
1 day ago
Yup, I'm sure I could figure out the elevation if I was ambitious enough.  So far I haven't been that ambitious

And the joke is at a point in the movie when the experts are bouncing jargon back and forth using their weird words.  Riley has no idea what they're talking about so he gets into the conversation by just making stuff up.
1 day ago