Monday, October 22, 2012

Our hothouse/greenhouse

This is the work we did this year, 2012.  It will be both a greenhouse for growing and a drying area for preservation of food.  

The area next to the door is a screen opening for ventilation.  There is an insulated (R-11) panel covering it now for the colder times.  The chimney is a solar chimney.  Below the vents is a window facing south with a selective coated copper piece behind it.  This heats the air causing it to rise and creating a draw.  On the outside is a solar collector I made from materials I had from 35 years ago.  I just tested it.  The incoming air was 60 F, the out flow (and there was a noticeable flow) was 140 F.  There is a food drying cabinet below the chimney with 10 2’ x 3’ drying racks.  The collector will be connected to the food drying cabinet so it not only adds hot air but extends the length of the chimney creating more draw.
The skylights will have insulated panels for the freezing months.
The shed roof at the end has a well and water pump that irrigates our orchard and makes water available year round.  The well can be powered with 110, 12 volt dc or manually.  See:

We have had freezing nights and 3 days on no sun and the temperature has been 50 F or higher in the hothouse every morning.  The rocks in the front will be an herb in the front will be an herb garden.
It is a grand experiment and a steeeep learning curve.

It is a grand experiment and a steeeep learning curve.

Inside we have the drying cabinet beneath the chimney.  Here it is with shelves and closed.  On the one side is a small opening that will allow air directly from the room to enter.  Not built yet is the duct that will connect the solar panel to the drying cabinet.  The duct will have a door that either allows air to flow into the drying cabinet or allow the heated air to flow into the room.  The scaffolding allows us to work comfortably at the drying cabinet.  It will be used for other purposes as we learn.  (The color of the walls is white but the light off the green wood acts strange?)



  1. jealous....(how long did it take (hours) to build?

  2. Nate H - we started in April. There was me and a younger man (33). I am 69 with breathing problems from radiation for cancer and emphysema so I say 1 and one half people built it. We had it enclosed in a month, first of May. Insulated, sheet rocked and painted by beginning of August.
    I believe with two people full time, it would have been a month.

  3. Very, very nice. My only concern is will you get enough light for a green house.

    I got your link from the PO board (I'm the one with the rocket mass heater in my green house). Thanks for posting your blog so others can learn from you.

    1. careinke - I planted seeds in pots the first of october - tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, peppers. I was just playing to see what would happen. So far all are doing well as of November 3. We have had freezing nights and days of 40 F. So far the hothouse has been 50 F each morning. Yesterday, November 3 with full sun, it was 90 F in there. I don't expect to make it year round but even extending growing will help. Our other greenhouse which I will put pictures up is still producing. We brought in tomatoes and peppers yesterday.
      Having fun, not knowing what we are doing.