Topic: Extreme Environment Gardening
So, I've wanted to be growing more food. Last year, I managed a dozen peppers, and a single stalk of basil. The kale, the rest of the peppers, and all the other herbs succumbed to coming from the nursery (Lowes Hardware lol) infected with pests. A dual infestation of aphids and cabbage moths just destroyed the kale. No matter how much manual removal and pesticides were applied I never managed to grow more than a few leaves.
Those peppers and basil were really good though, so I've resolved to start again from seed this time to better control the pests. But, we also moved from LA to Big Bear Lake, which means year-round, outdoor growing is out.
I've resolved to try greenhouse gardening,
If you're gonna greenhouse in freezing weather, you've gotta have a thermal mass inside to warm up other than just the air, cause the thermal mass of air is shit. The real way of doing this is: dig a 4 foot trench all the way around the perimeter and then bury sheets of foam insulation in the trench, creating a big icecooler of dirt that the greenhouse sits on top off. It doesn't need a bottom cause geothermal and drainage; you're just separating it from the frozen ground around it. Now you've got an enormous volume of soil that the greenhouse can dump heat into all day, that will radiate it back out, from the ground up. This is by far the best way to do this, and if you can manage it, do it. I did not manage it.
DAMN IT ROCKS SUCK.
So, my trenching ability aside, I decided instead on a floor, floating on concrete pavers, and to rely on buckets of water and pots of soil for thermal mass, and pick up some insulation for freezing days.
Next, you need to protect from rodents, as you are building a very nice warm shelter and filling it with food. Originally I had imagined some metal flashing buried with the foam insulation in the trench. I decided to try a shallower trench, and bury only the metal flashing. This was an utter failure. The trench was still shit, and the panel gaps between the flashing were wide enough to appear as premade mouseholes.
So, I settled on the way things currently stand. I gave up on keeping rodents from gaining access to the perimeter by tunneling, but covered the entire bottom of the floor with the flashing that was originally intended for the foamboard.
They could still theoretically squeeze through the gaps around the sides, so I'm laying down a floor border that should seal it up good.
Assembly of the frame was pretty slick. It definitely wont take a hurricane or WI blizzard, it should hold up to the snow and wind we get in San Bernardino County. Tolerances were about as good as IKEA, and everything had either an it-doesn't-matter-which-end-is-which design or an it-can-only-fit-one-way design, which made the picture-only, slightly obtuse instructions pretty usable. Aluminum extrusion is cool! I hadn't ever worked with this much of it before in such a variety of die shapes.
Have been putting off starting the seed trays till I had it up, but it's up, so that's next.
Last edited by Beeg (2020-11-17 05:22:03)