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Posts Tagged ‘greenhouse’

Attached greenhouses have numerous advantages in addition to just growing plants.

Attached greenhouses have numerous advantages in addition to just growing plants.


“Building your own greenhouse is a great idea if you are a gardener and want space to start seedlings, or grow plants that require a longer growing season than your climate can normally provide.

But a standalone greenhouse is one thing — an attached greenhouse design for your house brings in a whole other host of benefits to be considered that extend beyond the conveniences of growing food more easily.

Read on ahead to learn about all the reasons to consider an attached greenhouse design for your home — they include providing additional free heat, extending living space, and supplying space to grow food for a longer period of time.”

Read the entire article at the source: The Year of Mud
And while you’re there, check out Ziggy’s Timber Frame Workshops at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage.

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Grow space in master bedroom

Grow space in master bedroom


Garden window

Garden window


Greenhouse window

Greenhouse window


Living wall planters like this one could be made with pallet wood or other recycled wood for free. Pots can be removed as needed.

Living wall planters like this one could be made with pallet wood or other recycled wood for free. Pots can be removed as needed.


Greenhouses are great for growing your own food and flowers, but they take careful planning and a fair amount of time and money to build. Small indoor gardens are a simpler, lower cost option. These indoor gardens go by various names such as kitchen window garden, windowsill garden, garden window, greenhouse window, indoor herb garden, indoor planters, indoor grow space and grow bed. Use these keywords to search the Internet and you’ll find lots of affordable ways of adding plants in your home. Indoor garden possibilities range from growing a few herbs or sprouting wheatgrass on the windowsill, to modifying a bay window, to more elaborate grow spaces like the top photo above. Maybe I’ll revisit this topic in the future because the concept is so practical. Many times there is little or no cost if you use recycled plastic food containers, potting trays, compost and basic supplies you probably already have around the house. And the benefits of having some fresh produce are well worth the time and effort.

And in case you missed it, you can also grow plants in window wells.

Image source: Touch the Earth Ranch
Image source: Garden Windows (nice image gallery of possibilities)
Image source: According to Lia Blog
Image source: Crib Candy

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Earth-sheltered Passive Solar Earthbag Greenhouse (click to enlarge)

Earth-sheltered Passive Solar Earthbag Greenhouse (click to enlarge)


“Harmony of human habitats with nature, the use of soil and solar energy enables us to build energy-efficient shelters, produce healthy food, process waste and meet the material and spiritual needs in a sustainable manner and in accordance to the local environment. Join us during the earth sheltered passive solar greenhouse building workshops and explore the world of eco-design!”

Source: Cohabitat.net

Sorry we didn’t see this workshop announcement until now. It was in September, 2011 in Poland. You might want to write and see how it turned out, and check on future workshops. Or if you’re one of the organizers or designers, please drop us a note with an update. Remember we have a free Workshop page and Bulletin Board to post announcements.

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GERES free online PDF has complete greenhouse building details

GERES free online PDF has complete greenhouse building details


I think you’ll forgive me for double posting on this subject after you see GERES free online greenhouse building PDF. I’m reposting on the subject so no one misses this. The information in the PDF is top notch. It’s rare to find books with so much detail, even those for sale. Details include drawings for numerous designs and different building materials (adobe, brick, stone, rammed earth, earth berming), alternative roof materials such as wood poles, how to support the plastic sheeting with rope, check lists, material list with cost estimate, ventilation guidelines, and more. These building methods would apply to almost all cold climates except extreme polar regions and where winds are too strong.

Also, I thought I’d provide a little background on the man behind this amazing award winning greenhouse that’s helping thousands escape poverty. “Vincent Stauffer, a French Thermal Engineer, is the main contributor to this manual: he has led the design process, the experimentation and the diffusion of the model of greenhouse presented in this manual. He has been working since 1992 in the field of solar energy and since 1998 in the Hinda Kush – Himalaya area. With GERES, he contributes to the development of solar poultry farm, passive solar housing, improved stove, food processing and woolen transformation in Hindu Kush Himalaya.

The Renewable Energy and Environment Group (GERES) is a French NGO created in 1976. It works in a dozen of countries in Asia and Africa, promoting renewable energy resources and energy efficiency through a development process controlled by the local actors. GERES encourages the use of local resources with the objective to respect the environment and provide well-balanced development schemes.”
GERES Greenhouse PDF: A Manual of Solar Greenhouse Construction
Now I need to research their solar houses…

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GERES Insulated Greenhouses

GERES Insulated Greenhouses



GERES won an Ashden Award in 2009 for their work building solar greenhouses in Ladakh, India. They have now started construction of similar structures in Kyrgystan.

The Himalayan winter isn’t kind to vegetables. Temperatures as low as -25 centigrade and low rainfall mean that crops grow for only 90 days a year. In winter the local population has to rely on dried or expensive, imported food.
Yet in such a harsh environment, the climate also offers possibilities. The sun shines on average for 300 days a year. And it is from that sunshine that the Groupe energies renouvables, environnement et solidarités (GERES) have developed a solution to the shortage of fresh produce.

Their solution is a greenhouse – or to be more precise 586 greenhouses by 2008 supporting over 50,000 people by the sale and barter of produce. The new greenhouses are designed both to absorb as much sun as possible via heavy duty UV-stabilised polythene on their south side, and to retain the heat in heavy walls with thick insulation. A network of 64 greenhouse owners acts as a local resource to promote and support construction.

Greenhouses cost US$600 with owners providing some of the materials for the walls and roof and arranging construction based on GERES’ design. However, local surveys suggest a 30% increase in income as more produce is grown – spinach and strawberries are very popular – with the total cost paid back in four years.

Source: Ashden Awards
Source: Ashden Awards
I hope someone builds a greenhouse like this with earthbags for comparison.

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Mike Oehler’s pit greenhouse design

Mike Oehler’s pit greenhouse design


I see at least two main approaches to building a pit house with earthbags:
1. Mimic Mike Oehler’s greenhouse design using earthbags instead of poles and shoring.
2. Mimic conventional walipini pit greenhouses. That’s what I’ve chosen to do in the following drawing. It’s very similar to typical walipini’s, so follow the directions in the link. Which one is best? It would be good to build both designs and measure their performance to see how they compare.
Earthbag pit greenhouse insulated with scoria or pumice (click to enlarge)

Earthbag pit greenhouse insulated with scoria or pumice (click to enlarge)


Related:
Earthbag Pit Greenhouses
Note: high quality greenhouse plastic film is recommended, not ordinary plastic sheeting.

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The Earth-Sheltered Solar Canadian Greenhouse

The Earth-Sheltered Solar Canadian Greenhouse


The Earth-Sheltered Solar Canadian Proposed Structure

The Earth-Sheltered Solar Canadian Proposed Structure


Follow the adventure of building an earth-sheltered structure in Canada, six hours north of Winnipeg. In brief, they’re exploring how to optimize Mike Oehler’s earth sheltered concept using earthbags. Their greenhouse was a success (an amazing feat that far north), and now they want to build a larger structure. Their plans remind me of ancient Native American designs in Alaska (minus the glass, of course). So the challenge is how to improve upon the indigenous designs that evolved over centuries.

“It will take a couple of years, but in the end we are going to put up an earth-sheltered solar structure that will serve as a shop, wine lab, and hopefully a diesel distillery, along with a small apartment. It will be built in the same fashion in which we built our underground greenhouse, except that it will have a dirt roof, and an atrium between its front wall and a retaining wall uphill. This week we slowly started clearing trees from this area…an hour in the morning and an hour of cleaning up. When this is done I shall survey the plot. Then we will call in a track hoe which will excavate the hole for us.”

Source: The Earth-Sheltered Solar Canadian

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