The warm sunny weather has raised the temperature in the greenhouse and we have begun to plant some seedlings. At the end of December my dad finished the greenhouse on the south side of the garage. We are catching and using the energy of the sun and water so we can extend our growing season. We placed 4 IBC tanks against the side of the garage in the fall and my dad built the greenhouse around it. Our intention is for the water to keep the greenhouse temperature warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Water has great insulating properties and holds heat and cold a lot longer than the air. Unfortunately when he was finishing up the greenhouse the temperatures were well below zero and a couple of the tanks froze a bit. Dad got a pump going and started getting the water moving around and with a couple of sunny days the water melted. It hasn’t frozen since and now that we’ve had a few more sunny days the temperature of the water and the greenhouse has crept up. On a sunny day the temperature in the greenhouse has reached almost 30 degrees C. This also means that now the temperature in the greenhouse doesn’t go below zero. I’m sure it would if we had a sustained cold period but it doesn’t look like there’s much chance of that anymore this year. Our theory is that next winter the water will retain the summer heat and keep the greenhouse warmish for most of the winter.
We planted some seeds in the last couple of weeks. We've got some perennials like sorrel, bee balm and catnip coming up and also a few vegetables like kale, cabbage and brussel sprouts. This week I started tomatoes, peppers and onions.
We are also catching the energy of our food waste by composting and my dad has built a rolling compost bin to help that process. It’s a prototype but the idea is that we can roll it around to mix the compost and encourage it to breakdown. In addition to creating soil it will help us store the energy needed to move compost from one place to another. No more wheelbarrows, just roll the thing out to the garden with the finished compost. Patent pending. We've used recycled pallets and a few large spool ends that I found on the side of the road. Another permaculture principle in action--no waste, but that's for another month.