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Regrouping on the Home Front

Updated: Nov 13, 2019

OK, well, we knew all the balls were in the air...

It looks like we will not be able to swing building the shell of our tire bale home before winter. We are balancing cost with ease of building, and to try to get the shell in place this quickly would require hiring most of that chunk, which we can't afford...

So now we are thinking of putting our second project first, since it should be a much smaller and easier build...

We are hoping to build a greenhouse from a kit. Not just any old greenhouse -- but a Greenhouse in the Snow. This design was invented by a retired postal worker in Alliance, Nebraska, Russ Finch, who we visited last summer on our way to visit our land. It's a low grade geothermal greenhouse, sunken 4' into the ground. It's supplemented by geothermal tubes buried under the surrounding terrain to bring moderate temperature air into the greenhouse (cooler air in summer or during the heat of day; warmer air in winter or on cool nights). It should work great in our climate, where we have 30-50-degree temperature swings every day. Even in frigid winter, midday temperatures here are usually above freezing, and even in the heat of summer, our nights are usually in the 50s.

This video by Kirsten Dirksen highlights Russ Finch as he gives a tour of his original greenhouse at his home, explains the ideas behind it, and shows off the produce.

With a full-length trench dug 4' below ground, this greenhouse design gives you enough warmth and vertical space to grow bananas and citrus trees as well as more conventional garden veggies like cucumbers and tomatoes.

On our land, we will still need to hire the earth-moving, but after that the kit build should be doable. One of our neighbors has earth-moving equipment and a gravel quarry, and he will be helping us with the culvert fix mentioned in an earlier post, so maybe we'll be able to hire him for the greenhouse prep as well.

You may have noticed the "thinking" "hoping" "maybe" "might" ... so OK, yeah, the balls are still in the air, but we do have a few more ideas of how we might manage them!

Wouldn't winter winds be a great work incentive for us as greenhouse farmers?!

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Kimi BrownKawa
Kimi BrownKawa

Umm.... We'll survive with our propane heater in the popup, I'm sure . But maybe we'll get a hankering to check on the plants more often than otherwise...!


Bruce Ishikawa
Bruce Ishikawa

So, will you be sleeping in the garden this winter?

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