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  1. #1
    failure to thrive AphroditeGoneAwry's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Want to build a Community Garden with Solar Greenhouse. Experience/Ideas?

    Hey Guys. We live in Northern Montana elevation 3400 ft, and we have a creek and large field. We also happen to be located in a fairly central location on our dead end road. We want to start plans to build a large Solar Greenhouse using recycled or earth-friendly materials, maintain a fish stock tank with circulating water; and have this be worked by us and the neighbors and residents of our road, predominantly, to promote local resources and community camaraderie. We plan to tap into an adjacent spring bog for our water, and hope that most of our energy needs can come from solar panels. We have no materials currently, other than some piles of rock and mud. There is also a natural shallow pond area near the creek, which will also be near the proposed greenhouse site.

    Has anyone built a greenhouse from plans? Does anyone have any experience with, or suggestions for, this type of venture? I am figuring this might take about 3 years from start to finish, since we are covered in snow about 6 months of the year. I think many people around here would pitch in to help build it.

    Thanks very much!
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  2. #2
    The Architect Alwar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aphrodite-gone-awry View Post
    We have no materials currently, other than some piles of rock and mud. There is also a natural shallow pond area near the creek, which will also be near the proposed greenhouse site.
    Check out this video on mud brick making, they are from the Open Source Ecology project. Not sure if mud bricks work for earth-bermed greenhouses, but if so it would drop the energy needs. The OSE YouTube Channel and Wiki have a lot of free farming and construction information, including solar tech videos. Here's another video with a simpler brick making device. You may also be able to extract energy from the creek during parts of the year using a Micro Hydroelectric turbine.

    I have built a greenhouse, but it was a commercial one with no earth-berm. It was made of some plastic material that looked like yellow crap after a few years so I'd use glass. The Permaculture Research Institute may have some resources on layout because they advocate synergistic agriculture methods like having chickens or ducks in the greenhouse to keep the pests in check.

  3. #3
    Artisan Conquerer Halla74's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aphrodite-gone-awry View Post
    Hey Guys. We live in Northern Montana elevation 3400 ft, and we have a creek and large field. We also happen to be located in a fairly central location on our dead end road. We want to start plans to build a large Solar Greenhouse using recycled or earth-friendly materials, maintain a fish stock tank with circulating water; and have this be worked by us and the neighbors and residents of our road, predominantly, to promote local resources and community camaraderie. We plan to tap into an adjacent spring bog for our water, and hope that most of our energy needs can come from solar panels. We have no materials currently, other than some piles of rock and mud. There is also a natural shallow pond area near the creek, which will also be near the proposed greenhouse site.
    Could you please elaborate on the purpose of the fish stock tank? Will these fish be for eating, or for release into a larger, natural body of water to grow further and then be caught later? I've kept aquariums since I was in fifth grade, and worked on a pond or two. If you wish to filter a big-ass fish pond, it is going to take one big bad-ass waterpump, possibly a structure like a waterfall to agitate the surface of the pond and allow for the exchange of O^2/CO^2 between the atmosphere and the pond water, and a King-Kong stack of various filtrate materials just to be a perfectionist. Filling the pond with Evian is optional, but will yield much prettier fish that are capable of speaking French if taught from an early age.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member avolkiteshvara's Avatar
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    My cousin did this and was able to get a grant from the city.


    He got around $25K for the project.

    This is all i can offer as I don't know how to use any hand tools.

  5. #5
    Senior Member ceecee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aphrodite-gone-awry View Post
    Hey Guys. We live in Northern Montana elevation 3400 ft, and we have a creek and large field. We also happen to be located in a fairly central location on our dead end road. We want to start plans to build a large Solar Greenhouse using recycled or earth-friendly materials, maintain a fish stock tank with circulating water; and have this be worked by us and the neighbors and residents of our road, predominantly, to promote local resources and community camaraderie. We plan to tap into an adjacent spring bog for our water, and hope that most of our energy needs can come from solar panels. We have no materials currently, other than some piles of rock and mud. There is also a natural shallow pond area near the creek, which will also be near the proposed greenhouse site.

    Has anyone built a greenhouse from plans? Does anyone have any experience with, or suggestions for, this type of venture? I am figuring this might take about 3 years from start to finish, since we are covered in snow about 6 months of the year. I think many people around here would pitch in to help build it.

    Thanks very much!
    I'm very interest to hear about your project, as this is something I would want to do. Perhaps not on this level and I am not sure about community involvement but for my own family.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alwar View Post
    Check out this video on mud brick making, they are from the Open Source Ecology project. Not sure if mud bricks work for earth-bermed greenhouses, but if so it would drop the energy needs. The OSE YouTube Channel and Wiki have a lot of free farming and construction information, including solar tech videos. Here's another video with a simpler brick making device. You may also be able to extract energy from the creek during parts of the year using a Micro Hydroelectric turbine.

    I have built a greenhouse, but it was a commercial one with no earth-berm. It was made of some plastic material that looked like yellow crap after a few years so I'd use glass. The Permaculture Research Institute may have some resources on layout because they advocate synergistic agriculture methods like having chickens or ducks in the greenhouse to keep the pests in check.
    This is great info. I've spoken to a couple people from Mich. State as well, specifically on turbine use for water and electric power.
    I like to rock n' roll all night and *part* of every day. I usually have errands... I can only rock from like 1-3.

  6. #6
    failure to thrive AphroditeGoneAwry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alwar View Post
    Check out this video on mud brick making, they are from the Open Source Ecology project. Not sure if mud bricks work for earth-bermed greenhouses, but if so it would drop the energy needs. The OSE YouTube Channel and Wiki have a lot of free farming and construction information, including solar tech videos. Here's another video with a simpler brick making device. You may also be able to extract energy from the creek during parts of the year using a Micro Hydroelectric turbine.
    Thanks, Alwar. I love the idea of using my pond's mud and clay as mortar somehow. I wonder how they would be in comparison with treated wood beams for vertical wall support? I've been leaning toward the idea of recylcing glass in bottle walls for the greenhouse; clear glass for the south and east facing walls, dark amber filled with an unfreezable fluid for the back (to emit heat at night and help keep temp fluctuations at a minimum), and blue and green in an artistic design for the scorching west wall. I would also turn the west wall bottles open spout out to catch the wind which sometimes blows down our draw so that they might sing a song to those who garden within. Check out these pictures on my blog. Here's one for an example:



    I realize weight bearing is an important issue and that's where my ISTP comes in. Obviously I need to have a strong foundation horizontally and vertically, along with appropriate frost building techniques. While we can't use water directly form the creek in large quantities due to ecological issues, my s.o. did have the idea to use it for energy like you suggested for the solar panels' batteries or something techy like that. Good idea!

    I have built a greenhouse, but it was a commercial one with no earth-berm. It was made of some plastic material that looked like yellow crap after a few years so I'd use glass. The Permaculture Research Institute may have some resources on layout because they advocate synergistic agriculture methods like having chickens or ducks in the greenhouse to keep the pests in check.
    Interesting, although they'd eat the plants. Yeah, I want to avoid plastics/synthetics as much as possible. Been there, done that, and it's so yuck. Have you heard of the Nearings? Helen and Scott? They were into sustainable gardening in the 40's and 50's and built many, many rock walls and roads and things just with a few implements and their hands and time. I want to totally get away from this needing to be done immediately, like everything else we do. This will truly be a labor of love for me. And my hobby.

    Quote Originally Posted by Halla74 View Post
    Could you please elaborate on the purpose of the fish stock tank? Will these fish be for eating, or for release into a larger, natural body of water to grow further and then be caught later? I've kept aquariums since I was in fifth grade, and worked on a pond or two. If you wish to filter a big-ass fish pond, it is going to take one big bad-ass waterpump, possibly a structure like a waterfall to agitate the surface of the pond and allow for the exchange of O^2/CO^2 between the atmosphere and the pond water, and a King-Kong stack of various filtrate materials just to be a perfectionist. Filling the pond with Evian is optional, but will yield much prettier fish that are capable of speaking French if taught from an early age.
    It's called aquaponics, evidently. Here's where I learned about the idea.

    [youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qZPwBPAqks"]Will Allen of Growing Power[/youtube]

    The fish waste feeds the plants which clean the water which goes back to the fish. I would use edible fish. Some private gardeners just use goldfish.


    Quote Originally Posted by avolkiteshvara View Post
    My cousin did this and was able to get a grant from the city.


    He got around $25K for the project.

    This is all i can offer as I don't know how to use any hand tools.
    Very intriguing. Thanks for that tip. I'll file that away. I'm sure I could get grant money.


    Quote Originally Posted by ceecee View Post
    I'm very interest to hear about your project, as this is something I would want to do. Perhaps not on this level and I am not sure about community involvement but for my own family.



    This is great info. I've spoken to a couple people from Mich. State as well, specifically on turbine use for water and electric power.
    I haven't even thought about turbine power. We get pretty good wind here in the spring. I wonder if that would be feasible for us. Good idea.

    I will keep posting as we go forward. I'd like to hear about your process as well.
    Ni/Ti/Fe/Si
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    The more one loves God, the more it is that having nothing in the world means everything, and the less one loves God, the more it is that having everything in the world means nothing.

    Do not resist an evil person, but to him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer also the other. ~Matthew 5:39

    songofmary.wordpress.com


  7. #7
    The Architect Alwar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aphrodite-gone-awry View Post
    Have you heard of the Nearings? Helen and Scott?
    I haven't, that reminds me of Jim Bishop, who built The Bishop Castle in Colorado. He began in 1969 and continues to add new features and stuff to this day.

  8. #8
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    Here's info on government incentives, tax credits, rebates etc.. that apply to building a solar greenhouse. There's a lot available recently.

    Energy Savers: Financial Opportunities

  9. #9
    failure to thrive AphroditeGoneAwry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajblaise View Post
    Here's info on government incentives, tax credits, rebates etc.. that apply to building a solar greenhouse. There's a lot available recently.

    Energy Savers: Financial Opportunities
    Thank You.

    I bet we could get money pretty easily. Not sure I want to, at least not right off the bat.

    Update: My ISTP has been looking into making a wind-powered turbine and using solar energy. He seems excited to use his Ti skills for this. Between wind, water (creek), and sun, I wonder if that will be enough for our energy needs for the greenhouse.
    Ni/Ti/Fe/Si
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    ~Torah observant, Christ inspired~
    Life Path 11

    The more one loves God, the more it is that having nothing in the world means everything, and the less one loves God, the more it is that having everything in the world means nothing.

    Do not resist an evil person, but to him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer also the other. ~Matthew 5:39

    songofmary.wordpress.com


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