Sowing Seeds Soon

Finally, we’ve set the last paver and filled the planting bed with plenty of llama manure and topsoil. Scott attached the weather vane to the northwest eave. For the last several days we’ve been monitoring the low exterior temperatures, which have been in the twenties. Inside the greenhouse, temperatures have ranged from eighty during the day to just above freezing at night. We can almost taste the tomatoes, cucumbers, and greens we’ll soon be harvesting.

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The windows on the south side of the greenhouse face our vegetable garden. The four panels are polycarbonate, just like the “glass” on the roof. Two awning windows open with Univent Window openers, temperature-sensitive devices that work automatically. These windows work in conjunction with the solar-powered Snap Fan to regulate the greenhouse environment. Current temperature data seem to indicate, that using heat provided only by the sun, we may be able to grow plants all year long.

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Because we failed to think far enough ahead when the cement foundation was poured, we spent too many hours digging dirt out of the greenhouse and hauling it away in a wheelbarrow. We could have saved ourselves this labor if we had asked Tyler, our cement contractor, to spend ten additional minutes on the backhoe doing this for us. Ten minutes versus three days? Ouch.

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To simplify construction and because greenhouse work will most likely be done during daylight hours, our structure has no electricity. There is also no plumbing. Some water will come from precipitation collected from the roof via a rain chain and water barrel. The majority of the water will be drip irrigation from the spigot just outside the building plumbed through a hose fitting penetrating the south wall.

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Our weather vane adds personality. Pavers provide a space for a planting table and equipment storage. Amended top soil should yield fresh, homegrown produce. We’ve finished the construction phase and will soon be sewing seeds.

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Almost Ready for the Workshop

2015092137837In a frenzy of activity, Scott and I find ourselves nearly ready for the workshop to begin. Yesterday we hung the doors. They will eventually be painted robin’s egg blue. However, for the time being, we’ll remove the doors (leaving the frames in place) in order to provide easy access to the walls during the workshop.

2015092137838Because our greenhouse has a shed roof,  it will not meet the walls at a 90-degree angle. So we do not have to re-tie bales in custom sizes with angles to fit the roof, Scott built these boxes beneath all the eaves on the north, east and west walls. Our stacked bales will reach the bottom of these boxes. Then we’ll pack these boxes with light clay straw, which we will create using our own soil, water, and straw. Once each box is filled, we’ll attach diamond lath to the front to hold the straw clay in place and to act as the tooth for the first coat of plaster.

2015092137841Our Snap-Fan and solar panel arrived last week. When the greenhouse becomes too hot, the fan will automatically turn on and vent the space. Once the greenhouse is complete, the fan will be installed in the square box on the north wall. You can see space for the Snap-Fan in the photo above