Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Before Starting

While the temperature is still a bit on the cool side, the sun is out today. I'm starting to get the itch to make some plants grow.

This room in our barn is where we store our pots. We have a couple thousand containers in sizes ranging from 3/4" plug trays to one gallon "cans." Just outside of this room I have a table (full of junk at the moment) that will be my production area. I will stack trays of pots, fill the pots with soil, and then place seeds. Stay tuned.

Some of the seed catalogs we use to find the varieties of seeds we'll need. We get a lot more seed catalogs than this each year, but these are the ones we tend to use. We try to buy organic seeds when they are available.

This is where all of the magic will happen. Note the small solar panels above the door. The panels drive a fan (to the right) to provide much-needed air circulation. The geodesic is a very efficient design, structurally strong as all get-out, and the double-paneled plastic "windows" do a great job of heating to space. Today the air temperature is 45°F and the interior of the greenhouse is at a balmy 80°F. At the very top of the picture you can see a ceiling vent that has opened (also solar powered). There are four such vents. At this time of year, the temperature inside will stay at about 60°F even on cloudy days. We will supplement the heat at night with a small space heater.

Soon this floor will be crowded with shelving units full of plant starts. The reflective material on the back wall helps direct the light from the low winter and spring sun. The three big water troughs in the back are full of water to help regulate the air temperature. During the day they heat up, helping to keep some warmth in the room at night. Then, as they cool down, they help keep the room cool for a while in the morning as the day heats up. Even though the greeenhouse is well-ventilated, during the summer the temperature can reach 120°F if we don't take action with additional fans.

Friday I will purchase as much organic potting soil as the bed of my truck will hold. The plan is to mix the soil with a bit of our compost. Our compost is chock full of red wiggler earthworms, and I will try to make sure there is at least one worm in each pot. All of this will not only help the plants in their early stages of growth, but also give them a little extra help when they are transplanted into soils of unknown nutrient content.


Crash said...

This is going to be fun. R.B. Fuller would be proud to see this.

Not going to thank you each time for the photos; you know I like'em.

joxum said...

I now officially suffer from greenhouse envy.

Did you build the dome yourself?

(hoping to find time to plant my chili seed real soon)

bastinptc said...

Joxum - We bought a kit from in Colorado. Some friends came to visit and four of us built it in two days.

Memphis MOJO said...

The geodesic dome reminds me that I was at SIU when R. Buckminster Fuller was a professor there in the design department. During that time, his picture was on the cover of Time magazine. Even though SIU was known as a party school, it made me feel good about my college.

Memphis MOJO said...

Also meant to mention that the photos are terrific.

bastinptc said...

And just like Bucky's initial buildings, ours leaks.