Easy DIY Pallet Greenhouse Or Chicken Coop This multi-purpose DIY project can serve as a great greenhouse or chicken coop. Easy to build for a very frugal price! There are loads of garden DIY projects on the web, the difference between this and others is that this is a multi-purpose garden addition, You can add …
84 Free DIY Greenhouse Plans to Help You Build One in Your Garden This Weekend Having a greenhouse is important if you want to grow food longer throughout the year. It’s not an easy task to build one, though. Some people prefer to purchase prefabricated greenhouse instead of building one themselves, but this can costs …
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Build A 300 Square Foot Windproof Hoop House For Under $500 If you have a big enough garden the no brainer is to have a decent greenhouse so you can grow vegetables pretty much all year round. You can build smaller ones but they seem to be useless after a season or two. This design …
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Brett Bauma “Makers on Acres”
On this episode of the Makers On Acres Tech, Build and Grow show we are talking indoor grow lights and indoor gardening!
Many of us may not be able to build a greenhouse right away, so what is our other option for year around gardening? Growing indoors! Growing and gardening indoors is fun and pretty simple once you get the right pieces in place. I have grown indoors for many years and almost enjoy it more than growing outdoors because I can interact with my plants on a consistent basis without exiting the home.
Growing and gardening indoors is not without its challenges, but it can be a fun experience. Many of the products on the market now make indoor gardening so much easier and more affordable than with previous technologies. One main concern with indoor gardening is light! With the advances over the last few years in the field of LED’s, lighting is not only affordable but effective. We will talk extensively on lighting and how to approach your buying decisions as well.
Fresh produce can be grown in a spare room, basement or kitchen. How much you harvest will all depend on how far you want to take your system and how much space you are willing to dedicate to it. If you are ready for some fresh greens, and more, year around without having to build a greenhouse, then you need to listen to this show!
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Listen to this broadcast or download “Indoor gardening” in player below!
As a permaculture design consultant and homesteader I am always looking for ways to integrate different elements of the homestead to work together synergistically. Chickens are one of my favorite homestead elements.
They provide so many different and useful functions: entertainment, garden preparation and clean up, tilling of the soil, pest (bugs and mice) control, fertilizer spreading, food forest management, of course eggs and meat, and heat for a greenhouse!
Normally, our layers are either paddock shifted or free ranged throughout the growing season from spring to fall. During the colder months we take a different approach for wintering over our hens. We integrate our greenhouse with chickens and sometimes rabbits.
Since I cannot stand chipping ice, I want a simple system designed to prevent the water from freezing. The chickens generate enough heat to raise the temperature in the greenhouse. During the day, when the sun is shining, the greenhouse benefits from solar gain.
Interested in the best self-sufficiency solution during a food crisis? CLICK HERE to learn more!
We use the deep bedding method for the floor. We do not muck out the coop but continue to add carbon material, mostly straw. The nitrogen from the manure and carbon from the straw provide the raw material for the microorganisms to do their work. Deep bedding becomes another compost heating element. This triple combination largely prevents water from freezing.
In permaculture, the idea of integrating a greenhouse and chickens is not new. The chickens (and rabbits) expel carbon dioxide which benefits the growing of plants. Winter is a great time to grow some microgreens, lettuces and kale.
Even though chickens do not require heat in the winter they seem to have a higher quality of life and lay better in this setting.
Discover how our grandfathers used to preserve food for long periods of time. CLICK HERE to find out more !
The design for this multi-functional structure is very simple and was made from basic lumber, cattle panels and greenhouse (10 mil plastic) remnants. This greenhouse cost us approximately $300!
We are located in Northern Idaho and our winters get cold but nothing extreme so this basic design works out very well for us. If we were in a very cold climate we would have to make our base greenhouse a cold climate greenhouse where we would insulate the structure except for the south facing side.
Source : www.motherearthnews.com
About the author :
Sean and Monica Mitzel homestead with their family on 40 acres and are using permaculture techniques and strategies for the property. The property is a demonstration and education site where they raise dairy goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits, chickens, turkeys and ducks. The Mitzels have planted more than 200 productive trees, and bushes and enjoy wildcrafting, propagating plants, and raising livestock. They enjoy teaching and equipping others towards self-sufficiency through consulting and hosting workshops. To learn more visit them at The Prepared Homestead
For most people, gardening is limited to the summer months, when the weather is warm. However, commercial growers don’t always depend on the weather being cooperative. While most farmers are limited by the weather as well, there are some who manage to grow their produce most of the year, if not all of the year.
Having extra growing seasons or even growing year-round has some distinct advantages. More than anything, it can ensure a year-round food supply, rather than having to depend on the food that one has canned in harvest time. It also evens out the workload, rather than working a huge garden in the summertime.
The key to this is a greenhouse. Greenhouses were invented by the ancient Roman Empire for the purpose of growing vegetables 2. Considering that Rome is at a higher latitude than Denver, if they were able to grow vegetables there during the winter, we should be able to do the same in most of the country.
Although professionally built greenhouses are very expensive, made with aluminum framework and glass windows, you can build a homemade greenhouse quite cheap. A quick search online shows countless examples of homemade greenhouses, mostly made out of PVC pipe or 1 inch x 4 inch dimensional construction lumber and visqueen plastic sheeting. Of the two, building out of PVC is the easiest, although PVC pipe will become brittle after a few years if you have a lot of sunlight.
The key to using your greenhouse year-round is to maximize the heat produced inside it. Your goal has to be to keep the temperature inside the greenhouse above freezing. If you can keep it even warmer, that will be better for the plants. There are a number of things you can do to help accomplish this; not all of them need to be done, and you’ll need to pick a combination that works for your situation.
1. Use a double layer of plastic for the “windows”
Insulation helps, but most insulation blocks the light. So, instead of insulating the south and west sides of the greenhouse, use a double layer of plastic for the windows. That will double the R-value of the greenhouse. It may not seem like much, but it will help tremendously.
2. Use compost
The natural breakdown of organic material to make compost generates a lot of heat. Specifically, it is the bacteria that is breaking down the material which generate that heat. So, topping your garden beds with fresh compost before the cold weather hits will help to keep your plants, especially the critical roots, warm. Make sure that you add a good layer, two to three inches thick, as the bacteria like a warm environment. The thicker layer helps the bacteria create that warm environment.
3. Use black wood mulch for the walkways
The space between your planting beds is prime real-estate for absorbing sunlight and converting it to heat. This can either be left as bare dirt or covered with black wood mulch. Whatever you do, make sure that it is black or at least dark colored, as dark colors absorb more sunlight. Black-colored cement would be even better, although it would add a lot of cost to your greenhouse.
4. Add heat-absorbing barrels
One of the best things you can do is to place black plastic barrels, filled with water, inside the greenhouse, where the sun can strike them. The sunlight entering the greenhouse will be absorbed by the black plastic and converted to heat, warming the water inside. That water will act as a thermal mass, holding the heat like a battery, until it is needed. Then, usually after the sun goes down, that heat can be radiated into the air.
You must be careful about the placement of these barrels, so that they do not block the sunlight from reaching any of your plants. Remember that the sun will be lower down on the horizon, so sunlight will be blocked easier. The best place to locate these barrels is along the north wall of your greenhouse. For that matter, you can make the north wall out of them and then cover them up with white fabric in the summertime, so that they don’t create extra heat in your greenhouse.
5. Insulate the north side
The north side of your greenhouse isn’t going to generate any heat for you. That’s because we live in the northern hemisphere and the sun is always south of us. So, there’s really nothing to be gained by having the north wall be clear plastic, like the other walls and roof. You’re better off insulating it with Styrofoam sheets, helping to hold in the heat and blocking any wind.
6. Build your greenhouse partially underground
Probably the hardest, but one of the most effective strategies is to build the greenhouse partially underground. The deepest you’ll want to go is about 4 feet, with another four feet of roof sticking up above the ground. By building it underground, the earth around the greenhouse will act as an insulator from the cold outside air. The lowest that the ground temperature can reach is 32 degrees Fahrenheit, so if you have colder air in the winter, the ground will actually be warmer.
This works extremely well if you can build your greenhouse into a south-facing hillside. The sun coming into the greenhouse can warm the earthen wall on the north side, just the same as it warms the ground. Between the two, it will produce more heat.
Add a heater, if you must
When all else fails and these ideas don’t keep your greenhouse warm enough, you might have to add a heater. This becomes more likely the farther north you go. A small space heater inside your greenhouse may be just enough to break the chill, especially at night. Don’t worry about producing too much carbon dioxide, as your plants will consume that, converting it to oxygen.
Finally, grow cold-weather plants. All plants are assigned a “growing zone” in which they grow best. These zones come from a map produced by the USDA and equate to the temperature encountered in those areas of the country. During the winter, pick out plants that grow best in the northern part of the country. This will be indicated by a lower growing zone on the seed packet.
Do you have a greenhouse? What tips would you add to the list? Share them in the section below:
When you look at vegetables in the grocery store in the heart of the winter, they may look a bit tired and lacking in color. Wouldn’t it be great to have fresh vegetables all winter long? It doesn’t have to be a dream — it is possible. During winter, vegetables can and do grow – slowly — but they do grow.
Why Winter Garden?
One benefit of winter gardening is not having to weed as much as you do in the summer. There are fewer pests, fewer weeds and you don’t have to water much, if you need to water at all. Winter temperatures actually “store” or preserve the vegetables for you.
Winter gardening is one way to ensure you continue to get your organic, healthy dose of fresh vegetables year-round.
Options for Winter Gardening
There are two main ways of winter gardening. You can either grow crops to harvest during the autumn or winter, or you can plant crops to overwinter and harvest early in the spring. If you aren’t so keen on growing crops for winter, you can always prepare your garden for spring. You can decide on the mulch to use and the surface you want, and mark and lay paths or add new garden beds.
There are a few planting options. Whichever one you choose will depend on your location, the severity of your winter and what vegetables you want to grow.
Three options are cloches, cold frames and greenhouses. When you use a greenhouse (also called a hothouse, potting shed, nursery and glasshouse,) make sure you put it in a clear spot to maximize sun exposure. Greenhouses are the best way to go if you want to garden year-round. They use solar radiation to keep a warm atmosphere in the building so plants can grow.
Garden centers usually have simple kits to build your own style of green house, and often they are inexpensive for a small one. There are also two particular kinds of greenhouses to mention, as each has their own contributions to winter gardening. One is a cold house; the other is cool house. Cold houses allow for warm temperatures and protection from outside elements, but can still have temperatures drop to below freezing inside. Cool houses do the same thing, but keep temperatures around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. (A cool house requires a heating source.) Growing seasons last longer in cool houses.
Polytunnels are another useful tool to help winter gardening. They are great to use if you live in an area with strong winds. Polytunnels protect against powerful winds and heavy rain. They don’t really protect too much against frost, so be aware of that. Polytunnels also protect against hungry creatures like birds, who will want a bite of your crops.
Whatever you choose, consider starting the seeds inside your home. Many times, growing your own seedlings results in stronger plants than store-bought seedlings. You can even collect seeds from your own plants. Once the seedlings are big enough, they should spend some time in a cold frame to harden them up before planting outside.
Potted plants need care, as their root systems are vulnerable to cold. Move potted plants indoors to a greenhouse or at least close to your house for some protection.
Hardy Winter Vegetables
Herbs do well in the winter, especially with some protection or cover. If you are looking for vegetables, the list of hardy vegetables is long and varied. Here are a few:
- Spinach: popular, tasty and easy to grow.
- Mustard: another great crop for winter.
- Cabbage: birds love this plant, so it may need some protection. Plant 12 inches apart and put soil around the stems to protect against the cold temperatures.
- Lettuce: can be picked throughout the winter. Once the plant is established, it may be able to grow unprotected.
- Beets: considered a root crop, beets can take around 90 days to mature.
- Spring onions: these vegetables store well after harvesting. Harvest in the early spring.
- Kale: dark green and leafy, you can get several winter harvests from one plant.
- Carrots: fast-growing. Can be sown in November in greenhouses or outdoors in late July.
- Potatoes: plant in August, keep soil loose.
- Garlic: easy to grow. Plant 2.5 inches deep and one foot apart. There are plenty of varieties.
Protecting your plants is half the battle. Always add some mulch after planting for the winter, and plan to harvest during the warmest hours of the day.
Winter doesn’t need to be gloomy or boring. Plan your gardening for tasty, year-long enjoyment.
What advice would you add for winter gardening? Share your tips in the section below: