Friends, it’s winter here in NE Georgia and even though today it’s a high of 50 F, tonight it dips into 29 F.
As you may know we grow year round here at Hillside Gardens using tomato cages laid on their sides, and 3.5 mil clear or white plastic sheeting over them in our growing beds. This works well though it can be a pain to keep covering and uncovering the beds so we don’t cook the cool weather crops when it gets warmer, or freeze them when it cools down.
If we had anywhere near enough flat space for a green house here I’d have one in a New York minute, but alas, it’s called Hillside Gardens for a very good reason. It’s steep. We’ve had to terrace and use berms and swale techniques as well as hugelkulture beds to keep the torrential rains from washing off our top soil or have enough space to actually have beds. So, a nice open greenhouse wouldn’t work here. But I consult professionally as a Permaculture Designer, so when I come across a particularly successful body of technology I get excited.
It means that my clients and friends (you) have options and an expanded opportunity to be successful in homesteading, farming, or just backyard growing (it can be downsized). In this case it means we can grow food in abundance regardless of climate change or fluctuation. It answers so many questions and solves so many problems like no problem with bug (or deer) control, protected from predators and unwanted hungry guests in the case of a societal meltdown. And if you planted trees out far enough from the perimeter to not shade the greenhouse but hide what you have, nobody would even know you have this installed.
I came across this gentleman thru my Permaculture contacts around the country. He’s figured out how to use the steady temperature in the ground 8′ down (53 F) and a tiny bit of electricity (which could probably be provided with solar but he uses the mains) and he grows year round – oranges, grapes, fruit, vegetables the whole magilla.
So, no matter where you live, no matter how cold or hot it gets there, you can grow year round using these geothermal techniques. This is such an amazing video I wanted to share it with you. Especially for you who make your living growing food, this is just astounding from an 85 year old retired postal worker with a bent towards growing and his interest in high school physics. This is Permaculture Design in spades. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD_3_gsgsnk
I also like using Rocket Mass stoves which use a small quantity of sticks to heat (very efficient) but this even beats that.
If you combined them, you’d probably be able to grow tropical plants. https://richsoil.com/permaculture/182-rocket-mass-heaters-permaculture-podcast-019 from master Permaculturist Paul Wheaten. This is just the tip of the iceberg though because he does a whole series of podcasts on this subject.
But this Nebraskan gentleman grows lemons in Nebraska winters!
He uses an unusual style of greenhouse that combines ground insulation, which only receives sun from the south, with the north side dug in and the downward wall covered with reflective metal or insulated shiny board. He doesn’t use flimsy plastic film, and what he does use (watch the video) is very long lasting and not likely to blow off in a blizzard.
It’s such an ingenious plan I wanted to share it with all y’all. (OK, I’m not from Georgia but I love these kinds of sayings – much like “how’s’yur’mama’an’em” – say it slow and you know it’s a lovely greeting).
If you then combine this with hydroponics, aquaponics (fish in the system of hydroponics), and chickens, you have the most amazing food production unit providing vegetative and animal protein food. Talk about living off the grid and making a good living too.
Happy New Year.
Check out my blogsite’s latest post on seeds, seed catalogues and seed saving.