Greenhouses forum: solar roof panels that allow light to plants.. and summer cooling

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Name: Gordon
Brooklyn , New York
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GordonHawk
Jan 16, 2012 10:46 AM CST
thought this might be of some interest.. sounds like a dream come true...
http://www.gizmag.com/umla-solar-greenhouse/21090/?utm_sourc...

well ... hope it was interesting...
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Feb 13, 2012 8:31 PM CST
definitely interesting -- probably not practical at this time for most of us, but who knows what the future will bring? now if only we could get some sunshine up here!
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Name: Gordon
Brooklyn , New York
Charter ATP Member Miniature Gardening Container Gardener Region: United States of America Butterflies Garden Art
Tropicals Plumerias Roses Ponds Birds Plant and/or Seed Trader
Image
GordonHawk
Feb 13, 2012 8:49 PM CST
the Upper part must have a long winter season... does patience wear thin awaiting spring.. any tips for us down here. on how to get through... it's still to long for us also..
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Weedwhacker
Feb 13, 2012 8:59 PM CST
Yes, it's usually pretty long -- although I live in the "banana belt" of the Upper Peninsula, near the northern shore of L. Michigan, which is a LOT better IMO than the southern shore of L. Superior, which is where winter *really* sets in. This year has been incredibly mild and very little snow, actually almost half of my garden is snow free right now, which is almost unheard of! As for how to get through -- read seed catalogs, make and revise (over and over) your garden plan, and, of course, hang out with other internet gardeners! and then I always get tricked by Mother Nature because when March rolls around my instincts tell me it should be spring, but we often get most of our snow in March and April, so that can be a little frustrating... Right now it's just really nice that the daylight hours are getting noticeably longer, the short days and lack of winter sunshine can be the worst part of winter up here!
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
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Name: Gordon
Brooklyn , New York
Charter ATP Member Miniature Gardening Container Gardener Region: United States of America Butterflies Garden Art
Tropicals Plumerias Roses Ponds Birds Plant and/or Seed Trader
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GordonHawk
Feb 13, 2012 11:17 PM CST
yes.. I try to keep focused on the coming year... now I'm starting new things from seeds and cuttings.. selling off seeds online... and other diversionary activities...
it has been warm and snow free here.. we got the biggest snow the end of october.. about 4".. and nothing since that has stuck at all.. real strange...
good luck making it through...
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Weedwhacker
Feb 14, 2012 9:14 AM CST
Just think how exhausting it would be to live where you could garden year-around ! Much better to have the winter break... Hilarious!
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
- John Powell / Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities
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Name: Gordon
Brooklyn , New York
Charter ATP Member Miniature Gardening Container Gardener Region: United States of America Butterflies Garden Art
Tropicals Plumerias Roses Ponds Birds Plant and/or Seed Trader
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GordonHawk
Feb 14, 2012 10:01 AM CST
well you can rationalize it any way ... 1/2 my gardening effort is setting it up.. and breaking it down.. without that aspect of it.. I could trickle the other 50% casually over 12 months..
it's only a matter of a short time that I move further south.. FL or perhaps HI.. CA is nice but priced a bit heavier than the rest... I'd been looking into going to central america.. and traveled about some.. scouring for a beachfront lot.. plenty there... but there's a lot of have / havenot issues there... I kick myself for not jumping on a few I saw years ago... one had monkeys in the trees.. and a lovely beach with sand dollars the size of your hand all over.. and off shore was a marine park.. where it would remain undisturbed.. and a lovely shore side lot that sat a little high over the beach... but I've passed up millions of dollars of property because I didn't overextend / push myself to make it go.. the worst was a building I was offered for $95,000 FOR 5 FLOORS... NOW EACH floor would go for 2 mil.. and the store would likely rent for 50,000 / month .. but I had the joy of not being a landlord for decades.. while I'd have had to float it and repair for little return..
any way... say what you like about heavy seasional changes in temperature.. but I'd settle for mango or no mangos... wet / dry ... there's always something to mark the time.
.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Weedwhacker
Feb 14, 2012 10:34 AM CST
I've never been able to imagine myself moving to another country, but the place you described with the monkeys and sand dollars makes me see how one could be very tempted... and while I was joking about the winter break thing, I truly do love where I live ! We don't have the weather disasters here, other than lots of snow at times, that make headlines on the news, very rural, lots of trees, lots of wildlife, Great Lakes, and you can still see the stars at night (and even the northern lights on occasion). If it weren't for the winters, mosquitoes and lack of good jobs I suppose everyone would want to live here -- so that's the thing I like best about winter. Smiling
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
- John Powell / Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities
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Name: Gordon
Brooklyn , New York
Charter ATP Member Miniature Gardening Container Gardener Region: United States of America Butterflies Garden Art
Tropicals Plumerias Roses Ponds Birds Plant and/or Seed Trader
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GordonHawk
Feb 14, 2012 12:40 PM CST
yes.. I've been near by.. and had noticed the mosquitoes you mentioned.. they dwarfed those everywhere else in size.. but were incredibly slow flying as I remember.... yes.. I've given up just about all night time sky beauty here...although the majesty of the big apple at night..helps to fill it in some.. and often we can see a dozen stars and Venus.. such a poor substitute to being able to make out the milky way.. which you thankfully didn't mention.. understanding the additional longing it might bring.. mmmm the northern lights sound grand.. a friend relocated to Anchorage and she has such praise for them .. the lack of good jobs is difficult to manage.. though..I've seen some Michigan neighborhood pictures.. and their decline in this poor market.. with foreclosures so rampant.. hopefully the rural nature of it there will slow the decline down.. as most folks were already living a tight / safe existence..
do you have a greenhouse.. I grow lots of tropicals so I bring alot inside with me.. and I make an 8' x 10 ' house on the roof top.. made out of 2" foam.. that's about twice the insulation value of your refrigerator.. and I keep lots there also..
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
Weedwhacker
Feb 14, 2012 8:31 PM CST
Gordon, it makes me so happy to hear stories, like yours, of "urban gardening." Somehow I think we have an inborn need to connect with the earth. I love reading about people that take a lot in an inner city somewhere, get the locals involved, and turn it into a garden... very sad to me to think how many people have no idea where food comes from (or what actual "food" really is).

At any rate, I'm sure the photos you've seen have been from Detroit -- unbelievable what has happened there since the economy bit the dust, last person out turn off the lights kind of thing. I grew up in lower Michigan but have been here in the UP for many years (like 40 or so), and good or bad, the economy is always bad here, so it's kind of like you can't even tell the difference now. Except it seems like more and more people that we know are working 2 or 3 jobs to try to make ends meet... how do you keep that up?

I do have a greenhouse, but really just use it for growing seedlings which I first start indoors under lights, with minimum heating to keep things from freezing until those plants go to the garden. I also have 2 fairly small (unheated) hoop houses (7 x 15) that I'm experimenting with, it's really pretty amazing how much the growing season can be extended if you grow the right stuff and give it a little protection. Have you read any of Eliot Coleman's books, like "Four Season Harvest" ? He is pretty much my hero!

Had a salad tonight with alfalfa and radish sprouts that I grew on the kitchen counter -- something anyone, anywhere could do! We need more gardeners in the world!

"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
- John Powell / Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities
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Name: Gordon
Brooklyn , New York
Charter ATP Member Miniature Gardening Container Gardener Region: United States of America Butterflies Garden Art
Tropicals Plumerias Roses Ponds Birds Plant and/or Seed Trader
Image
GordonHawk
Feb 24, 2012 5:54 PM CST
Sandy... well.. your hero was in the NY Times today... thought you'd like to read a bit about him...

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/23/garden/living-off-the-land...

he says he harvests from his unheaded greenhouse all year.. using solar gain in his rock walls... in the greenhouse I did at mothers.. and had about a 500 gal fishtank to help with heat storage I also had system of paths/ vents through the slab of the house .. where I'd take the hot air out in the day time and circulate it through the house slab and back into the greenhouse some 5* cooler... that heat was left in the slab inside... the entire slab sat on 3" of foam and was wrapped on the outside with foam.. to maintain the heat inside the house..
yes the rural economy is always slow... that was what I was mentioning... mightbe less of a difference.. I'd asked mother how being a child in the depression was .. she said it had been so tight there in the rural area that they didn't notice it being there.. or knew when it had left.. in the family there were 9 kids on a working farm ... I remember it well.. as her parents worked it till the day they died.. and an aunt still lives there... although the big old barn... made out of indestructable cypress lumber.. now sits as the siding on a new house..of one of the relatives that built on the land...
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
Weedwhacker
Feb 24, 2012 10:50 PM CST
That's a very interesting article, I had no idea he had bought land from the Nearings! At any rate, harvesting from my unheated hoop houses year around - or nearly so - is my goal. Timing (of planting) is everything, and so far I have not quite mastered that!

Sweet that the barn has been upscaled into siding for a new house... Smiling
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
- John Powell / Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities
/ Share your recipes: Favorite Recipes A-Z cubit
C/F temp conversion / NGA Member Map
Name: Gordon
Brooklyn , New York
Charter ATP Member Miniature Gardening Container Gardener Region: United States of America Butterflies Garden Art
Tropicals Plumerias Roses Ponds Birds Plant and/or Seed Trader
Image
GordonHawk
Feb 24, 2012 11:12 PM CST
yes.. thought you's like to hear about him.. along with hearing what he has to say in the books.. nice price of $33 /acre.. i'd like to get 3000 acres at that price.. most anywhere.. maine has plenty of rocks to use...for lots of projects.. too good rain.. and on the coast.. what fun..
OH..I miss it as the barn though.. it was one of my first barn experiences... cows below.. and an area for roosting chickens.. I'd love to go gather the eggs... when I was in Al for awhile.. I got chickens there... I at fiirst.. before building mothers house.. I had an old fish market I lived in on the TN river.. problem with it was it had millions of black widow spyders... I got the chickens to keep them under ontrol... they would spend hteir waking hours... looking to eat anything 5' or below... they were on duty all the time just looking for something to move.. then i moved into mothers barn that came with her land.. an old cow pasture... great soil now... while I was building her house. I resided the barn and put on new doors.. she eventually sold the barn and the corner lot it was on.. it still looks great these 35 years later .. i like barns.. .. the open feel... i has thechickens there .. and got some ducks to go in the pond... funny.. I hatched them from eggs.. and they never knew an adult duck... just me as the leader.. and I never flew.. so neither did they... then one day some wild mallards landed to visit mine.. it was like you could see the wonder of it all in their eyes... flying... now why didn't I think of that... they started flying some... but just from the pond to the barn... they didn't have any desire to fly anywhere else really...
of if eating was dependant on your planting/timing .. I'm sure you'd get it down really quick..

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dogpack
Mar 18, 2012 1:13 PM CST
The electricity expenses are way out of control for me. I have medical equipment which relies on electricity and I'm concerned that if I don't find a way to get some solor soon, I may have to decide if I'll eat or have electriciyt. Actually I'm not to this point but with everything going up in price regulary and my fixed limited income staying stagnent, I might have to amke these kinds of decisions; I hope not.

Does anyone know of any way to get solar electricity through a grant, foundation, or any other source? What is causing my challenge is th e up front costs of getting solar. Also, Do you know wjere I could get lED light bublb without having to pay an arm leg and a few fingers. I hope to eventually reduce my electrity costs by getting more LED lighting in the house. Maybe I will be able to get an LED plant light bulb or 2 eventually. My green house exists in my mind right now. It would have to be very wheelchair as in power wheelcahir friendly and more. I have hearing loss, am legally blind, and use a wheelcahir so getting around in a greenhouse would be an adventure. I garden in the house.

I've been getting a few plants for Christmas, my birthday, and whenever someone doesn't want a plant. Many years ago, I had a huge collection of plants when I was working as a piano tuner/technician. After I got hurt on the job, I had to move in with my parents and when I moved my plants there they didn't survive. So now, many years later, I'm trying to rebuild my plant dense jungle.

I like the green house idea and hopefully in the future I might be able to have a wheelcahir friendly green house. I have a dream to hold onto. :-)

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