I realized that I needed to take a step back and explain what my objectives are in building this greenhouse and the design that I have chosen. I live in the high desert with temperatures ranging from -20 for weeks at a time to 110 in the summer. I've been gardening in this climate for over 20 years. I've had cold frames, and have one traditional, above ground greenhouse. I also have raised beds and garden plots. Here's a photo of how my new greenhouse looks today.
The type greenhouse I have chosen and built is called a "Pit Greenhouse". I got the general idea from a book I have called "The Solar Greenhouse Book by James McCullagh and printed by Rodale press. This type greenhouse is designed for extreme temperatures. The premise is that you use the ambient temperature of the earth ( at four feet below surface) to keep a steady 50 degree temperature all year round. Of course it needs a little help to keep the temperature just right. I will explain this as I show how it has been built.
When it is complete, I plan to experiment with different methods of gardening. I've always been an organic gardener, but I plan to try the Mittleider method, hydroponics, aquaponics and of course some of my traditional organic gardening techniques. I'm building this greenhouse as a laboratory, open to the public. I plan on documenting temps, lighting, nutrients, home made aquaponic and hydroponic equipment. I've read the latest mags such as Maximum Yield and Garden Greenhouse and Gardener and I've seen the pretty pictures, but everything is too expensive. This is a back to basics experiment and I'm only interested in growing food. (cucumbers, tomatoes, brocolli, lettuce and many greens). My goal is sustainability for my family. Being able to grow year round in an area that is not gardening friendly. I also raise chickens...I'm the 4-H poultry leader for my area. I feel that the food chain is being compromised and people need to have more direct control over what they eat. I believe in buying locally, but most of all growing your own.
Be sure to ask questions. When it is all done, and up and running, perhaps you can even come visit. When it is running well I will be posting pictures and information often. My next post will continue the building sequence. Soon to come...