The Green Greenhouse

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Series of Pictures of How the House/Site Looks During Construction

 

One of the design specifications was a greenhouse for 12 month food production.  Our greenhouse is roughly 12x18 feet and 12 ft high, and represents a room in the house.  As you can see from the picture to the left, there is an herb garden on the berm in front of the greenhouse which is incorporated into Zelonedom.

The food we eat is imported from around the world depending upon the season.  During the summer, there is ample local produce from farmers and home gardens, but during the winter and spring it must be imported from around the country and world, in refrigerated trucks.  Clearly, there is embedded energy in the food we eat representing transportation fuel. 

In addition, we live in the country near a state forest and an outdoor vegetable garden has all sorts of enemies, not the least of which are deer, rabbits and slugs.  The greenhouse protects our food production from these critters.

As part of the structure, the greenhouse can use heat from our ground sourced heat pump to keep the temperature from freezing and can provide heat to the home during the occasional Western Washington sunny winter day. We have two ventilation systems tied to the greenhouse, exhaust fans to exhaust hot air during the summer and one to take warm greenhouse air into the house during the winter.  These two systems are controlled by thermostatic switches that turn on fans when the temperature increase to a specified level.  

In the summer, the vent to the house is turned off, and during the winter, the vent to the outside will be turned off. A duct was run from the top of the greenhouse over the reading room to dump heat into the entry way during the winter months. (picture on right.).

Greenhouse plants are watered from either the potable city water, or preferably from cistern water from the hose bib in the greenhouse. 

Finally, we've used recycled and reused products in the greenhouse.  The sink was purchased from the reuse center which deconstructs buildings and sell the useable waste to people with a need, such as me for a sink.  The growbeds are mounted on 35 gallon reused pesticide drums which were cleaned out, filled with water and sealed to provide thermal mass to absorb excess heat to be released at night. Finally we built the grow beds from Trex plastic wood.  This will prevent them from rotting.  Trex is a terrific product made from recycled plastic bags.  It is generally used for decking, but we used it for our grow beds and will use it when we build out containers for our fruit trees.

According to the Trex website, "Trex  products are made from a unique combination of reclaimed wood and plastic.... The plastic shields the wood from moisture and insect damage, so there's no rotting or splintering. The wood protects the plastic from UV damage ...  As an added benefit of your Trex deck, you are helping the environment because Trex is made primarily with recycled plastic grocery bags, reclaimed pallet wrap and waste wood. "  For more information go to www.trex.com.

We started flowers, herbs, and grasses from seed for landscaping during the construction phase in the spring.  Once these were planted out, we started our vegetables.

Early on, We discovered that a greenhouse collects an amazing amount of heat.  With the windows open and 2 x 300 cfm fans running, the temperature can easily top 120oF+.  Thus, we've installed greenhouse shades on the top windows to reduce the 80% of the solar gain, save electricity from running the fans full blast, and keep our plants from frying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


We welcome your comments on this site.
You can email Christine Garst at
cbgarst@aol.com
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