Sunday, May 10, 2009

Underground Green House Project

Among other things. When ever I mention that I am building an underground greenhouse I get the strangest looks. Its just the walls that are underground. The roof is transparent and lets the light in. It's based on the idea of a walipini, first used in Bolivia I believe.


Kind of a low tech method of getting some plants growing in inhospitable growing areas. Such as our 2b. Any way all good fun. I picked a site on the side of a south facing hill North of our Re-Tired garden to give ours a try. It's right where the excavator is digging.


Far enough that there is no shade near it and close enough that I can power it. Mine will be a little different in that I am berming it with tires that will have packed clay in them before I put the dirt back. I haven't decided on using green house plastic or the corrugated type for the roof. Probably the latter as it will have to carry a snow load. And I need to figure out how to insulate the roof during the cold times. Some type of slider made out of two inch pink styrofoam..

I know of one other fellow in Endako that has a semi underground green house and he does really well with it.
The sloping trench to the left is for an access steps that will lead to an insulated door. The trench on the right is for draining any water that gets in the place. It will drain from some drain pipe embedded in a foot of rock on the floor. The trench will get filled in as soon as I get the drain pipe in.

Ours will be a little bigger than 10 by 20 by 12 feet deep at the back - sloping to about seven at the south side. It is oriented E/W so that the Southern Sun will catch it all day long. There are calculations that you can google to get the exact angle of the roof depending on your latitude.

We are also cleaning out the fuel shed. It was full of crap, old moss in bags and rags and used oil in various sized drums and odd sundry containers, discarded paint, a bunch of two by four lumber ( that will be used for shelving) and a log stand that held a large gas tank that was removed.


We did find a couple of treasures: an old brass fire extinguisher, a one gallon metal pouring container and a galvanized oblong cistern with a tap.

Really the fuel shed was a fire hazard and prime range for our ubiquitous packrats. Jo-Ann tried to get in the place a couple of days ago to rescue a "Cleofied" cat and couldn't get past all the crap.
With the old tank stand removed I am left with a hole in the floor. The log I am sitting on just rests on dirt. The board my hammer is resting on holds up floor boards to the left of my hammer. I guess the weight of the stand and tank kinda supported the floor. Like a fat guy on a teeter totter, balance can be achieved - but nothing better move.. Mike Holmes would be shaking his head at the structure, or lack of. I wonder what he'd say about the outbuilding that was built around a couple of trees - one of which just fell down. "It's all gotta come down!"

We need a place to keep all of our fuel and lubricants. Away from the outbuildings and our house so that if a fire happens it wouldn't pose too great a danger. We also need a temporary storage for the stuff in the Red Shed as that is moving over to the Re-Tired garden for use as a Garden equipment and potting shed. Perhaps the red shed will even get insulated and heated. It will have year round water and power as we dug that in last year in anticipation of the move.

Anyway We have the fuel shed pretty much dunged and swept out now and we've stopped, mid day, for tea. Jo-Ann's been running the skidsteer and moving pallets and me, and a few close friends, around- when we get to the lazy stage, which makes the whole clean up process a lot faster.

She's not having any fun. It's just work, work, work..

I will have to do some restructuring of the shed in order to cover the six foot hole the tank stand was built in. And I will have to jack it up to level it. and then wire brush the galvanized siding on the outside and paint it fire engine red with white trim. And replace a broken window. After the plants get in the dirt.

And of course starting to plant. Cabbages, Carrots, Beets, Lettuce, Spinach, Onions Tomatoes, and of course Spuds. We picked up some tomato and cabbage sets at the local green house yesterday. Expensive way to plant and that is why I want to get the green house going for next year.

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