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greenhouse suck factor

Matt Ferrall


Joined: Dec 26, 2008
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
    
    4
Lets see if we cant get back on topic."simple living"is embeded in the mythos of the back to the land movement and I do believe,in this hectic modern world,a deep urge many share.In personal observation and reading magazines like Countryside,I have seen repetedly the stories of people who attempted to achieve this mythos but failed.Overcomplexification often seems to be somewhat at fault.A greenhouse requires availability of water and maintnence/temperature control.Each activity has time and money costs=get a job=life isnt simple anymore.I have only this phone bill,work a job rarely and still grow a large portion of my food.


There is nothing permanent in a culture dependent on such temporaries as civilization.

www.feralfarmagroforestry.com
Matt Ferrall


Joined: Dec 26, 2008
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
    
    4
If people reading this are also in pursuit of "simple living",I would encourage them to learn from nature how to sustainably grow their food.Investing deeper into technology makes you more dependent on that.Ultimatly,you may very well end up running around instead of having a more peaceful existance.In the freetime gained by not pursuing the techno homestead dream,you will find the time to observe and learn from nature truly sustainable food growing techniques that you can feel good about and enjoy.
Robert Ray
volunteer

Joined: Jul 06, 2009
Posts: 1315
Location: Cascades of Oregon
    
  12
At what point in time does technology versus simple living kick in?

Water is needed for any food production.
Initial maintenance is a factor of developing any food forest or permaculture plot.

"There is enough in the world for everyones needs, but not enough for everyones greed"
(Buckman)
Matt Ferrall


Joined: Dec 26, 2008
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
    
    4
I will agree that it is somewhat site dependent.That is something beyond our control sometimes.Our food preferences is often easier to change.I eat 3 heaping piles of greens a day made from perennials rather than water demanding annuals.This is perhaps only possible in certain areas,the PacificNW being one.I would encourage everyone to look for similar solutions to their food needs.Moving away from dependence rather than toward.
Emerson White


Joined: May 02, 2010
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
I really disagree that it is more work on a day to day basis to have a green house. Sure you have to pay for it with a job, but after that it is mainly a low maintanence high yield per acre garden. It's fairly easy to grow most of your food by wet weight in a garden, but anything calorie dense is going to draw in competition. The result of this is that the calorie dense foods tend to either take a lot of time to process, or take a lot of time to find and gather, or come in windfalls (like nuts that come in abundance one year and not in the next. Greenhouses provide another barrier to competition as well as accelerating plant growth in cooler climates.
Robert Ray
volunteer

Joined: Jul 06, 2009
Posts: 1315
Location: Cascades of Oregon
    
  12
Freezing temperatures overnight for the last three in a row.
Without my greenhouse I'd be sad indeed. Berries have been bitten by the frost a bit but not too bad.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
Emerson white that i agree with you does not mean you have got anything right though it could. Thanks for the comment, after so much of my disagreeing  it is nice of you to exchange a rfriendly remark of the kind. nice of you.
  i have been worrying about agreeing with fred morgan about humans being mutualy dependent We are usually, that is a buddhist tenant,it also seems fairly common sense  but it gets to be a problem in agriculture.
      If Fred grows the feed and another keeps the pig then the closed sustainability circle will come undone, the manure  the mashed up and enzymed plants that new plants need to grow, which is the animals return to the land of what was taken out to feed it, will be on the pig breeders land and the veggies on Fred Morgans and this on a big scale is one of the reasons factory farming is disasterouse.
      Too much muck  in one place poinsoning the drinking water because too much manure for the land is more than the lands bacteria and plants can manage so the run of from the manure and modern manure is also full of the medicine that pigs are continually fed with because they are so strained living in close quarters that they get endless illnesses and are just kept perpetually full of antibiotics, and maybe hormones too to make them grow bigger runs into our water system. The wetness in the enormouse quantities of manure of a factory farm leach into rivers and poison drinking water.
      The farmers have no use for the manure they no longer grow their own feed and they would not have so much manure if they did because they would not be capable of growing enough food for that many pigs, the factories bring them cheap feed. so the manure just collects on their land becoming a health hazard.
        The stench of the manure makes the price of nearby houses drop and spoils the health of the village. An example of a factory farm was the one in Mexico was it where they said the pig flu started and the neighbors were complaining about that. The many cheap pigs created in these places mean that the locals can no longer sell their pigs . The factory farmer employed by the big meat company to run their enterprise on his land has a mercedes and others loose their jobs.
    This division of labour also means the hay somewhere else gets poor, becomes the poor thin hay that Susanne Munroe talks of farmers  having, the manure, the mashed and enzymed organic matter from plants, which in the normal course of things would be expelled on the feild the pig lived in, can get so far from the  farmers that grow feed that they dont even bother to try  get it back. rose macaskie.
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
Robert Ray wrote:At what point in time does technology versus simple living kick in?


Schumacher did a lot of pioneering work on this. It's a fuzzy line, but on the one side of it are tools that amplify a person's capabilities, and on the other side are machines that set their own pace and demand to be cared for.

Robert Ray wrote:Water is needed for any food production.


I believe he meant running water. There are definitely methods that limit consumption to precipitation + field capacity.


"the qualities of these bacteria, like the heat of the sun, electricity, or the qualities of metals, are part of the storehouse of knowledge of all men.  They are manifestations of the laws of nature, free to all men and reserved exclusively to none." SCOTUS, Funk Bros. Seed Co. v. Kale Inoculant Co.
Robert Ray
volunteer

Joined: Jul 06, 2009
Posts: 1315
Location: Cascades of Oregon
    
  12
I'm perfectly happy with the use of hand tools and I don't ever see a clean break with some of the now known technologies to a primitive hunter gatherer lifestyle.
  Draft animals are a tool that requires maintenance that would be possible should easy oil and fossil fuels availability end.
Using the land to harvest water and the input required to achieve that isn't a simple endeavor in some cases but definitely worth the effort.
A simple life doesn't mean an easy life.
Greenhouse glazing is not a technology that requires modern industrial technologies. Though not perfect Romans used windows at 100 A.D.
A greenhouse is a tool and when looked at in that light its use is either a prudent and intelligent choice or it is a useless extravagance.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
i dont mind about technology, i like it, though i am not one of those who is crazy enough about it to find out how a lot of it works . I lke Strizkies hydrogen home, look up hydrogen home in you tube, a complicated home run by clean energy if hydrogen can be considered clean because though it does not dirty it explodes, still it is not his only clean enrgy method he uses solar energy direct and to make hydrogen and thermal energy. I like anythingathat will stop global warming.
 
  I want more technology, when the multimillionairs have made energy saving car that iis energy efficient and s a hybrid in the same quantities ford made cars in, I shall believe in their charitable intentions. Global warming will hurt the poor, the subsistent farmers will have to change and they are likeley to be less flexible than the modern world, they don't have so many agricultural advicers or money.
  When farmers they have stopped leaving land bare for a year as it is left fallow and started using cover crops for the year of rest, which crops will  that absrb carbon and protect the earth from the sun so the land does not heat as much, keeping things cool must help a bit with global warming, if their isnot as  much heat around that can't get past the global warming gasses that reflect it back again it must be better.
  The billionaires could produce free cover crop seed for the third world poor farmers  would want to put it on the land covercrops better soils so if they are free there is everyreason to use them.agri rose macaskie. 
Matt Ferrall


Joined: Dec 26, 2008
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
    
    4
Rose,glad to hear how you like hydrogen homes!This thread is about how greenhouses suck.Yes,a greenhouse is a tool.The tools production has an enviromental expense.The tool has the potential to mitigate for this expence.Is it posible for this tool to ever mitigate for its expencce.Does choosing to eat greenhouse dependent crops make up for the tools ecological expence?I would agree that in some very marginal areas for human existance,perhaps.
                                  


Joined: Jun 12, 2009
Posts: 175
Location: Suwon, South Korea
Emerson White wrote:
Self sufficiency is both wasteful and impossible. Humans evolved to get along with each other, especially where trade is concerned, because the humans who didn't died out. If you want to die out then yes aim for total self sufficiency, but Adam Smith made a very solid case for specialization.


That was and has been true, no doubt.  But actually, self sufficiency is becoming less and less wasteful, more and more possible, and easier and easier to achieve.  To a certain extent that's scary, too. 

First, people are becoming less connected to and less dependent on social/emotional/religious networks, as Robert Putnam's book, Bowling Alone has documented.  Lots of social statistics demonstrate and support this.  Second, technology, such as solar/wind/hydro-electricity, cheap sand-point well drilling and rainwater catchment, the Internet for dissemination of information and education/healthcare and self-care/entertainment, mail order shopping, increased longevity free of disease, have all contributed to self-sufficiency and independence.  The availability of rural land and the increasing ability to repair denuded lands, not to mention permaculture techniques, all contribute to it being easier than ever to live a life free of/devoid of a web of obligations.  Single-parent families will also increase as it becomes less economically necessary to be partnered.  When I was in Japan I had read about rural guys who reported being perfectly content with simply a rice cooker, washing machine, automatic tea kettle, computer, and high-tech inflatable doll (hard to get women to live a rural life there).  It is taking, and I think will take, less and less money to live such a life.  I suspect that the trend is very much heading in this direction and even accelerating.
Robert Ray
volunteer

Joined: Jul 06, 2009
Posts: 1315
Location: Cascades of Oregon
    
  12
Hemenway's essay on "The Self Reliant Myth" is a good read.
How to measure a greenhouses impact made of re-purposed materials? Do reused materials have a half life of some measurable ecological rad?
Does the measure of not having to produce the material being re-purposed have an ecological plus?
I think the mythos is a simple life is easy, A simple life is not an easy life as those that live by farming or ranching in rural areas well know.
Extending a season isn't necessarily bringing in exotics or non natives but just giving a boost to local production length.
Creating a suntrap requires effort, tool usage and would create the same question on the tools production, suntraps creation and their ecological expense/mitigation.
In some cases a greenhouse is an intelligent choice in its creation and use.
I hypothesize that the dense urbanization and those living and drawn to temperate regions like the West side of the Cascades does far more ecological harm than my small greenhouse in rural high desert Oregon.

 
Robert Ray
volunteer

Joined: Jul 06, 2009
Posts: 1315
Location: Cascades of Oregon
    
  12
Greenhouse discussion please.
Inflatable companionship would certainly require the use of mideast oil. A definite misuse of resources in my opinion.
I hope Paul would support  a don't ask don't tell stance on this. If he doesn't please at least don't tell me. 
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14853
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Let's keep the stuff here focused on greenhouses - especially the issues that folks with stars in their eyes might not know about. 

I moved one of the other posts to MD.


sign up for my daily-ish email / rocket mass heater 4-DVD set / permaculture playing cards
tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3082
Location: woodland, washington
    
  52
I'm planning a couple of greenhouses.  I'm going to try to make them relatively benign.  I'll be thoughtful about placement and I'll use quite a few techniques to assure they won't need supplementary heat or other energy.  I'll use salvaged material.  they will house animals, as well.  I'll probably ferment alcohol in them thereby further enriching them with CO[sub]2[/sub] and increasing plant growth.  aquaculture is part of the slightly longer-term plan.  they'll allow me to use living plants for grey water treatment through the winter instead of just during warmer months so those nutrients aren't lost.

I won't claim that these will be truly sustainable structures.  they are really a testament to my own weakness for foods that would be very difficult for me to grow without a greenhouse.  if I were a better human, I would just give up those foods for any of the incredible selection of food that will grow easily where I live, but I'm not willing to do that.  I'm greedy for the flavors I like.  given that fact, I do believe that my habits will have less impact if I grow the food myself in a carefully designed greenhouse instead of paying to have it imported from far away lands.

so I guess my greenhouses are really about mitigating the negative impacts of my own bad habits.  taking care in their design will mitigate the negative impacts of the greenhouses.


find religion! church
kiva! hyvä! iloinen! pikkumaatila
get stung! beehives
be hospitable! host-a-hive
be antisocial! facespace
Matt Ferrall


Joined: Dec 26, 2008
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
    
    4
well said Tel!Pretty hard to argue with blunt honesty.Enjoy The pvc glue!
tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3082
Location: woodland, washington
    
  52
Mt.goat wrote:
Enjoy The pvc glue!


I'm greedy for flavor, but I'm not a monster: no vinyl of any kind for my greenhouses.
                                  


Joined: Jun 12, 2009
Posts: 175
Location: Suwon, South Korea
tel jetson wrote:
I won't claim that these will be truly sustainable structures.  they are really a testament to my own weakness for foods that would be very difficult for me to grow without a greenhouse.  if I were a better human, I would just give up those foods for any of the incredible selection of food that will grow easily where I live, but I'm not willing to do that.  I'm greedy for the flavors I like.  given that fact, I do believe that my habits will have less impact if I grow the food myself in a carefully designed greenhouse instead of paying to have it imported from far away lands.
so I guess my greenhouses are really about mitigating the negative impacts of my own bad habits.  taking care in their design will mitigate the negative impacts of the greenhouses.


I sympathize.  The optimal, ecologically-correct thing to do would be to develop a taste for termites, maggots, grubs, slugs, etc., all of which can be eaten, not to mention many of the plethora of [s]weeds[/s] 'field herbs' that graciously populate our gardens.  But as the Food Network chefs would say, "Flavor is king." 

Of course, the problem with that is that 'flavor' depends on taste, and taste is to at least some extent culturally specific, and can also be learned, trained, can evolve, can change gradually or abruptly, can be imitated, sometimes respond to bodily changes, etc.  So I guess you get more permaculture points by persuading yourself that local pests are actually delicacies, but we need some joy in our lives, too.  And there is also educational value in knowing and appreciating what ginger and saffron taste like even though they're not native/local to most of those who post here.  It's a conundrum.  I think Mollison's solution is convincing; i.e., of using greenhouses to grow exotics where necessary.  And even if you buy into the health benefits of eating seasonally and locally (of which I do to a great extent, albeit without much scientific evidence) I think the benefits outweigh the detriments of allocating a percentage of our diets to exotics.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
I suppose i was always laid back about technology until green energy came in, and until the computer made up for all the lack of company,that seems to be a part of married life. With a computer You don't need to get ignorant because you have no one to say, "and have you heard of solar cookers", for example, so starting in motion your friends quest for information that often allows you to know more about things. or because you don't happen to know anyone who has a clue about anything. If you have a computer  you can go to  it with all your questions  and find out what you want to know. So i love the computer.
    Most other bits of technology that improve my life were just there when i was born, it seems that if I am used to something i don't feel passionate about it, so in order to get excited about  it needs to be something you did not have before and  now have.  Apart from computers  Clean energy is the thing that made me consciously keen on technology, passionately interested in it.
  If i were to think i could never have a green house it would be a sad idea though i donwould not kill myself for one, i have good memories of green houses.
    People have been talking about pollution all my life, it is a permanent worry, so it is great to think that energy can be produced without smoke.

    Green houses can be used as pacific, solar energy, heating your house, systems, You take the hot air from the top of the green house  into your house. The window of your green house has to face  the low winter sun, the south, for heating in winter and the green house should have a roof that reduces heat loss ,  with a big overhang to stop the summer sun over heating your house in summer.The sun in the south is high in the air in summer and so would not shine into the green house ..
      You can find out about that use of energy in the site -abundant  energy in harmony with nature-

        It sounds great no one using energy and everyone living in the wild but i can't imagine how it would work, there did not used to be so many people around in the old days.
i approve of suggesting permaculture for those who would like to live in the country but not everyone will want to .
     Imagine knowing the energy was clean you could have air conditioning and put the heating up as high as you wanted, You would not feel bad about traveling around all the time etc. the technology for clean energy is great. 
 Today a man on CNN was saying that each town ought to be drawing up a plan for how to have its own clean  energy and drawing another plan for how soon it can get that going, Great. agri  rose macaskie.

   
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Hi, I'm new here, and just butting into this conversation to say I hadn't seen anyone mention Anna Edey's book "Solviva" about greenhouses (if someone has, and you all already know about it, forgive me!).  I found the book very inspiring though I won't have a greenhouse because I live in a hot climate (Central Texas).  But others up north might benefit.

http://www.solviva.com/


Idle dreamer

tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3082
Location: woodland, washington
    
  52
solviva has come up elsewhere on the forum.  interesting stuff.

early in the thread, paul wheaton mentioned hoop houses on commercial farms.  I've got some experience with those.  built four of them: 20' x 95', galvanized steel pipe, single-layer of polyethylene.  actually, built two of them twice.  the first two were knocked down in a nasty flood.  the second two will probably be knocked down in the next nasty flood.  the extra produce, mainly tomatoes, produced in these houses paid for their direct cost in the first year.  externalities are much harder to calculate and I'm sure the full cost would take quite a while longer to pay back.

a couple years ago there was more snow than usual in the Pacific Northwest followed by some heavy rain.  hoop houses all over the region collapsed under the weight of the wet snow.

so, there you go.  a couple more greenhouse warnings.
Robert Ray
volunteer

Joined: Jul 06, 2009
Posts: 1315
Location: Cascades of Oregon
    
  12
Living where I do there is always a concern with snow load.
  My house attached poly carbonate panel greenhouse has had over two feet of snow on the panes with no sign of failure. I do rake the snow off of the structure. But just about everyone rakes the snow off of their roofs during the winter here. There has been snows heavy enough to collapse garages and houses. If I were not to be home during the winter there would be problems.
My hoop house has survived the same snows but it is buttressed internally, because I am aware of the danger. The internal structure allows the hanging of my hydroponic troughs and a skeleton for secondary covering  for winter protection of hardy plants (ala Coleman).
One good thing about living on the top of the hill is that flood danger is relatively remote.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
My house is on top of a hill but i have water coming up through the floor of the kitchen welling up through the tiles the ground on one side of the house is higher than on the other i  duga a ditch round the house to bring down the level at one side at least in the ditch to the level on the other that worked a bit . YOu can lead wqter off to were you want it to go the origen of swales is that i suppose.
I am on top of the hill front back but not left right the hill is higher than my house on one side it is a ridge. agri  rose macaskie.
                            


Joined: Oct 05, 2010
Posts: 37
Location: australia
leah you are right permaculture is no exclusive club
permaculture has evolved to assist the world, its main tenet being a pragmatic approach handed down from bill mollison, if it works well it becomes part of permaculture (bill still reads 30-40 books a month)

on a far lighter note let me tell you about my greenhouse
it will be a place to meditate, to read, to enjoy the foliage, to propagate, to experiment, to develop,and to warm adjacent buildings... but the most important part is this....

it is an observatory ! (yes an observatory within a conservatory)
our friends family and clients will be able to sip local grape juice whilst reclining on a heated cob bed gazing out into the northern sky (apologies to upside down americans and others) where a wonderland of galaxies will tell them or no whether I have cleaned the windows lately!!
viva all things good!
http://www.gardenfarm.biz/rocket.htm

hardly ever leave the farm- don't want to- the internet saves me a million road, air and sea miles, provides at least 25 extra lifetimes, connects to friends who can stay on the subject, and gives me access to the brightest people conscious......
http://www.gardenfarm.biz
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
If you look at paul wheatons video of a cob village the houses in it seem to be made according to the ideas that you find in the site  "Abundant enregy in harmony with nature" they have big window i suppose facing south that will catch the winter sun light and a big overhang on the roof to stop the hot summer sun that gets up high in the sky from coming in and over heating the house in summer. Since i read about his idea of getting the sun to heat you in winter but not in summer i have noticed it is true the midday sun in the south is very low in winter and would come in your windows and in summer, it is way up in the air and shines on the roof as much as on the south side of your house.
  i looked a cob village again recently after reading someones discussion of how sepp Holzer makes alcoves in rock tha ttrap the sun, to look again at the alcove in the wall in cob village inside which the temperature can be thirty degrees hotter than outside i shall correct this tomorrow i have to check that out and it is hard to judge distances in a photo the sort of alcove without a roof did not look so very deep but the man walked into it and he took three big step into it . Sepp holzer has made some with the rocks on his land where he can grow lemos, right up in the alpes, impresive . a lot of facts here to check tomorrow, rose.
jacque greenleaf
volunteer

Joined: Jan 21, 2009
Posts: 464
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
"you can't fool a potato or corn into paying you for a substandard product or a job done badly."

Yes, but which job is being done well? (Rose does not live in the US, so the farmers she is talking about may or may not be relevant to your contentions.)

Here in the US, you can indeed claim that US farmers do produce a lot of potatoes and corn. But whether it is done poorly or not depends on your definition. If all you are concerned about is tonnage of salable product, you are leaving out a lot of things that are also important, like soil and water conservation and toxics buildup.

Doing a job well does not mean that the job is worth doing in the first place.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14853
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I just deleted a post here.  I read about five words in the first sentence that were suggesting that somebody on permies.com was less than perfect and I didn't bother to read one more word before deleting it. 

I would like to thank one the long time participants of these forums for clicking on "report to moderator".

This is just a reminder about "be nice":  If even one word is what I think is less than kind, I will delete the whole post.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
it is nearly the end of November here in the great white north, and it was snowing today..and I'm happy to report that I'm getting plenty of salads and greens from my tiny little greenhouse..and wouldn't be if I didn't have it..if that was the case I would be buying greens and lettuces every week..which I don't have to now..as they are growing heartily along in my greenhouse..thank God..I love it !!


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
Robert Ray
volunteer

Joined: Jul 06, 2009
Posts: 1315
Location: Cascades of Oregon
    
  12
Second little snow flurry in my area this season Parsnips are still going strong, greens always.
  Sweet carrots and fresh beets will be on the turkey day menu.
  Heads of cabbage little bigger than a soft ball right now I see Kim Chee in my future.
I love my greenhouse. Unusual this year but gladiolas are in full bloom right now in the greenhouse attached to the house, they probably won't last too long.
                              


Joined: Nov 18, 2010
Posts: 2
jacqueg wrote:
"you can't fool a potato or corn into paying you for a substandard product or a job done badly."

Yes, but which job is being done well? (Rose does not live in the US, so the farmers she is talking about may or may not be relevant to your contentions.)

Here in the US, you can indeed claim that US farmers do produce a lot of potatoes and corn. But whether it is done poorly or not depends on your definition. If all you are concerned about is tonnage of salable product, you are leaving out a lot of things that are also important, like soil and water conservation and toxics buildup.

Doing a job well does not mean that the job is worth doing in the first place.


Absolutely, I agree. It's all subject to definition of job well done. I didn't know Rose didn't live in the US, but having lived in a few places around the world I find Farmers to be at least intelligent if not optimal at all times, hardly a group of less than intelligent people than average, especially on the subject of farming. I mean they are not up on the latest cool language on the street for sure, but that's hardly a meaningful marker of raw intellect. Farmers who own their own land & have for generations heartily agree with you on the subject of toxic build up. I know they are constantly looking to replace what farming takes out. Crop rotation tech & supplemental elements are constantly improving. Sad thing is we learn from screwing up. Soil Science now understands what a few decades ago was almost completely unknown. Unfortunately there are still idiots & unscrupulous short sighted people involved in farming. That's more an exception all the time.

The US sends food around the world, the job those farmers do literally stands between many people around the world & starvation. In that light best yield seems to be pretty important right? Not that a different system may not be better still, but it's usually bureaucracy involved in government backed loans they are pushed into that stifle innovation rather than the farmers themselves.  Russia just had a terrible plague of fire I think it was, and much of their wheat yield was was destroyed. Without high production many would starve, actually many will starve, many do starve, we just don't hear much about it and what the actual causes are.

My father farms about 80 acres & grew up farming much more : ) which gives me a bit of insight into that world. I just ate a bunch of his pinto beans from this year, an hour ago. Man they are good!

Dad has 150 IQ, he's brilliant in many ways, but there is always someone who knows more about something. He's also a Contractor. The guy is an idiot as far as making money, but in growing things, taking care of animals & building the guy is a genius. He's not in boring intellectual company among farmers.

I grow on a small scale for myself & whoever I give some to. I am totally organic, I make my own compost & I use activated compost tea. I harvest my own seeds & start my own plants. I like heirloom stuff, even grew tobacco in Idaho (though I don't smoke). I plan on a heated dome to grow year round & some plants from warmer climates, when I can get it together. So obviously I'm more into the small optimal growing situations, than large scale farming. I also see miles upon miles of farm land & I don't see how the world could be fed by people who do their little thing even on numerous acres. As far as wheat & corn & other staple crops for the world I don't think I could do it much better as far as quantity, even on a small scale. I would love to see more people grow food though. Every little bit people grow eases up on the world supply that much more, and I've a feeling we are going to need all we can do. I'm constantly trying to get more people involved in growing food in stead of so much grass.
                              


Joined: Nov 18, 2010
Posts: 2
paul wheaton wrote:
I just deleted a post here.  I read about five words in the first sentence that were suggesting that somebody on permies.com was less than perfect and I didn't bother to read one more word before deleting it. 

I would like to thank one the long time participants of these forums for clicking on "report to moderator".

This is just a reminder about "be nice":  If even one word is what I think is less than kind, I will delete the whole post.



I've been checking out this forum to learn more, and I'm really digging what I read. A lot of really good leading edge stuff here & the environment in the forum is very nice. I took the words I responded to a little personally because I know many farmers, my father farms & he or they are not anything like obtuse idiots. I get where I went wrong, and like I said the forum has a very nice atmosphere, and I'm sorry I detracted from it with my first post & that it was motivated by aggravation I let get away from me, as much as a wish to add my personal perspective so the poster would maybe take that into consideration on the subject.

Anyway, you have an amazing forum here, so much sweet information I've been hungering for. I was very excited to find it. I love to experiment & grow. I hope I can add something good here some time.
josh brill


Joined: Sep 06, 2010
Posts: 86
    
    1
A greenhouse is a tool.  When used correctly it is very helpful.  Any tool can be abused, overused, relied upon as a crutch.  As a food producer i want more people to buy goods at a community scale.  Part of my strategy is to have a wider selection of goods available year round. Mobile unheated high tunnels let me achieve this.  While people are at my stand they also have a change to purchase lambs quarters, dandelion roots, wild berries and countless other edibles that if offered alone would draw a much smaller crowd.  Is it leaning on foreign oil of course it is.  I'm looking into designing a movable greenhouse that is made from reclaimed glass its a challenge , but i see it coming in a few years.  I typing this on my laptop and you folks are reading this on your computer,phone, ipad etc.  On a scale of environmental damages in the long run I think my electronics are way higher on the list if not at the top.  But they are tools and we have convinced ourselves somehow that they are okay. 


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rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
I wonder what jacqueg was talking about as concerns the gardeners in Spain and me.
      I did say in one post i did not want to ask the neighbors how to do things. For one if you plan on trying no dig and mulching things that they don’t do, it is a bit uncomfortable asking them what to do.
    For another I know people know lots of things that can be useful but I find other adults so unwieldy, they don’t just tell you things, they want you to think like them and if you don’t they will start to menace you, or go through your husband to try and make sure you do what they want and other such tricks. They push and shove me. I am so tough on these forums that it is hard to imagine a different me but I was incredibly soft before. It takes a long time to get people to see you differently and start to treat you a bit bettern some say tha tpeoploe treat you better if you are nice if you are too nice you get turned into a door mat. 
     The toughies call you tough while they shove you around, I don’t know how they can’t see that you are not good at shoving back but while they wrap you round their little fingers they give you a bad name as a bully. Bill does that in the film Kill Bill, in all the scenes beatrice Kiddo  is the one who is deferential to him and looking for love, while he is off hand with her. For instance when she says wistfully, “when shall I see you again” he says "that was a song I used to like in the sixties”. He does not mind being separated from her for a year or two or leaving her with a murderouse assasine and yet he has persuaded his brother and friends she manipulates him. It is always a good idea to reduce the person you want to push around’s credit and what more devilish way of doing it than pretending you are reality the one who gets pushed around. You can tell who has got the credit, they are the  ones who get the support though they might look like the weak ones and if they get the support and have always got the support and go on pretending that their partner is the one who steals credit, there is some reason to wonder if they are honest. Bill gets the support in the film s.kill bill two.. 
      Men are always saying it is their wives that push them around when usually the power is in the hands of men, more money and more choice of where to live and who to meet because society does not criticise them for insisting on their own first right, second and third right, in choice of friends and districts, and as they were the ones who had to earn money that made sense.You stay were your family and friends are or your best work interests are and that gives you a lot more power than your partner has to decide on the way of life you are to live. I am sorry if men are offended but htey have called us scoldes and the weak sex and silly and frivolouse and such for centuries so i think tha ta bit of intersex bickering is the norm.and they can't ask us not to join in.
    That was a good idea when men  were the only ones that earned the bread but it is a cruel reality for their partners, survival choices often being cruel,. Choice of friends has to do with psychological realities like if you are shy you may want to be with quieter people, or less pushy ones or being with noisy ones is an agony because you think noisy people are tastless and feel your  life is to be wasted on loud mouthed goofs such as me . So making friends with someone elses friends is emotionally hard. Your choice of friends helps with your business and with your power in the family, if they are your friends they back you up not your wife. WIth all this power men take most of the important decisions the decisions and their wives are left scolding impotently which makes the wife look like the bossy one.
      It is a big sacrifice to try with another persons group of friends, we have to find money and look after children which leaves most people with little time to spare and if you want to keep in with any group you need to give them a fair amount of time so if you give that time to your husbands friends the possiblility of getting to know those you would like to be with is greatly reduced. If you are a farmer and spend time with other farmers you will hear their knews about farming and learn more, that goes for all professions, knowing the right people gives you power. I dont mean diabolic power just enough to help you on. Not doing so leaves you very vunerable. 

      Also, when you try and find out about gardening from neighbors, they tell you some things and not others, which is easier to manage on you tube than in real life because in you tube  you just look through enough different peoples bits of advise in a short time to cover the whole theme. I don’t believe in casual conversation as a method of learning or not at least from scratch, at least not in Spain, if you have alternatives. Talking to others to get information has, until now, been tough that is the bad thing about it not the potential of the ohthers to understand that has been tough. 
      I think it would be different if I did not really want to know how to grow cabbages, if I was just asking to get some extra tips or to learn different ways of doing it then talking to neighbors would be very interesting. . As I need to learn how to grow vegetables from scratch, almost, i have never grown vegetables or any annuals except pansies. Neighbors are unlikely to help much, they are not very thorough teachers, they probably are to their children.One person on th eforums said you have to give plants what they want like if they like a lot of nitrogen then you have to give it to them it seems that if you give a lot of nitrogen to potatoes they grow leaves and

     It is as Jacqueg says more than likely that they use herbicides and pesticides so interaction is hard or asking them for advice is not sincere as it seemes to be just a  it is just a way to explain that I don’t like chemicals. I do use a bit of chemical fertilizer though, a bit to get things going and not everywhere.  I have tried things neighbors do, like preparing a small  a small mound of earth as a place to plants seeds in.
      I thought it was teenagers who got cross if you did not agree with them in all particulars but it is everyone or so many people that  it is all the ones I know, they get incredibly cross and start trying to oblige you to be like them when they discover you differ from them radically in something.

       The other bit of what jacques says is also true, here concern about the earth is low and before getting involved with the permaculture forum I was almost uniquely interested in seeing if i could better my soil, rather than in feeding myself, a main permaculture aim. I did think if I bettered my soil I might get others to copy me because they would see how well my plants grew. The biggest thing that has come of my efforts to better things, mostly by not stopping the bettering themselves by letting everything grow, is I suppose, that the grass at the bottom of my dip no longer dries out totally in summer so it seems that things are changing.
      I was also into writing against practices that worsened soils and I did go around observing the soils around me as well as trying to better the soil in my garden so I was attached to reality in as far as I explored my surroundings attached me to reality.. These are not interests of my neighbors or at least the ones I come into contact with, or at least as far as I know, communication is never complete.
     You can grow things in poor soils with the right fertilizers though the soil won’t hold and retain as much water for you if you don’t better the soil in hsense sense o the organics talk of more organic matter in the soil rather than in the chemical senses looking after the Ph .

  My efforts to better soils are useless next to those of the great permaculturists who plant lots of trees and cover everything with lots of mulch, maybe they inoculate the plants or mulches with fungi, put in swales and ponds all in one year and get immediate results. My bettering of soils is tremendously slow and stupid, still, i know what people are up against who don’t have many resources or get up and go to find mulch. Like the use i have of the car is occasional and time off from household duties is also occasional at least it is hard to say cook for yourselves I am off gardening”, very often, so picking up mulch is not easy and I lack any group remotely likely to put themselves at my service  even as a swap for other services. I think a aspect of machismo is for men to reduce as much as they can a woman’s chance of getting into a group. Agri rose macaskie.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
paul wheaton, what have i done this time, i have not insulted anyone as far as i know.Mind you i  did not reread the thread . Did you make a mistake about the bit i just sent  i dont think it was insulting. I have  a copy but its a bit late at night to go over it.
      I find people in the village very intelligent, that does not make them easy to talk to, it is complicated asking about how to garden, especially as they don't use permaculture methods, I am about to do something that they aren't going to like or that seems silly to them or the way i do it is silly. Mind you if i asked them i could get my own ideas into the conversation and that would help the xxause maybe, i am a bit wet somtimes or sometimes go back to being a bit wet, about doing my bit to teach others to fish, at the same time as getting information off them.
     Mulching seems like a fire danger to them, for instance ,and it is one in summer. The fire fear is a hard one if you want to better soil and increased vegetation, fire fear is a interest that tends to demand measures that spoil the soil because they lessen vegetation.
       It is not my experience that the other gardeners  like things i do till maybe later when they have had time to think about them a bit or never.  They have things to teach but people only let go of their knowledge bit by bit and i want to get vegetables going quickly. I do use the virtual village and get knowledge from market gardeners all over the place like there is one and i think he is spanish, his name for a fig tree is Spanish, that  i like in new england, that you find with the words, "permaculture New England" he has a wonderfull hoop house taking of greenhouses and it is probably necessary in new england.  agri rose macaskie.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
mt goat said green houses need maintenance like heating and cooling which is true.
    If you read about pacific energy, buildings, this should not be such a big problem. If your green house shelf is supported on petrol canisters full of water, the water in them will help even out the temperature in the green house, taking up heat during the day and letting it off slowly at night.  This seems to me contra instinctive, baths cool down quick enough but i have read it in so many places, like in articles in magazines on houses written by architects, as well as those written by green hippy type people, that i think it must be true. Maybe it is htat the main heat comes off water fast but it holds onto a certain warmth for a long time.
    If you have a lot of rock or earth, thermal mass in your green house as well as that given by quantities of water that in your oil canisters or a swimming pool if you are very rich or very hardworking and inventive, the rock brick and earth will like water absorb warmth when it is too hot, and let warmth off at night, which is the reason cities are so hot at night in summer, the buildings are thermal mass and absorb the midday heat and let it off at night heating up the night an d stopping it from being a relief to overheated residents.
      A stone or earth wall, as exists in the green house dug into the hill and so backed by an earth wall, that  Paul Wheaton films  in one of his videos, it is a green house that disobeys the permaculture rule that you should have what you most need near you. They have to climb a mountain to get to it. Maybe it was a clandestine green house.

  If you want your green house to make use of pacific temperature moderating techniques, your green house must be south facing and your wall that is your thermal mass be on the north side of your glass front. Then you get the thermal mass wall to absorb the heat . You also want a solid  roof on the green house with a big over hang to the south, then the green house will not over heat with  the summer sun, which spends most of the day high in the air and can’t shine into to it because of the roof but it will get the winter sun which is low even at midday and so will shine into your south facing window. Just go out and observe how low the winter sun is to see the sense of this. I did not think about it till i read about passive solar heating .
  Larry hartweg who is good on passive solar energy, you find him in google with the words "abundant energy in harmony with nature" he explains all this much better than me insists on the importance of having a solid roof. He say glass in the roof of a building is a big way of losing heat you should not have windows even in your roof i love the light that comes through the windows in my roof so I shall just have to bare getting cold. So a roof that is a thermal buffer is essential in a green house if you don’t want sudden changes in temperature. Mind you plants flourish with big quantities of light and a solid roof would reduce the light. .
    The roof will stop you losing too much heat at night as well as stopping the green house from getting too hot in summer.
    The houses 'in the cob village filmed by Paul Wheaton seem to be built with these rules in mind, they have big windows, i suppose facing south to catch the winters sun.
Maybe a way could be found that was not too cumbersome of shuttering the green house at night, You could make something like a big tea cozy  to stop heat loss. Maybe even one with transparent material, plastic sheeting with plastic straw inside it that could be left on while you went on holiday.
  There is a type of glass with low emissivity, low E coating that might help reduce heat loss from the green house too. Michael Strizi talks about it in his hydrogen home video. But you can find it with the words, low E glass and greenhouses. 
  If you live in Alaska these ideas might not apply and in winter you might just need to get marijuana growing kit, a room covered in silver paper to increase the light you are using to grow things with . rose macaskie.

                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
Greenhouses can be a useful component of a permaculture system, but they are usually rather small compared to the hydroponics techno crowd.

I think it usually makes no sense to try to produce lots of food in a greenhouse - too capital intensive, can move one away from the strengths of permaculture. But for winter protection of plants that may or may not survive unprotected, and for starting seeds early, or a few extra tomatoes to brighten up the off season,  a small greenhouse can make good sense. The same is true of cold frames, cloches, floating row covers, etc ... like jbreezy said, they are a tool. Use a hammer to bang the occasional nail, don't use it to dig a swale! 

I've got a 12' x 24' hoop house that I built for about $300 - slightly more than one dollar a square foot, less when spread out over the life of the structure.

My GH is under a tree that provides a large degree of shade in the summer, much less shade in the winter - which is good, as a greenhouse in the full summer sun can fry plants pretty quick.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
  Jonathon bryon, What a good idea, having a decidouse tree to shade the green house in summer.

  You say that people  cannot grow much in in green houses? In the south of Spain, in Almeria, there is what they call a sea of green houses, that they say you can see from outer space, I don't know how far out. They are made of the flowering stems of agave american, a cactus type plant which sends up a long flower stem, when it flowers, to hold the flower head, that is used there as posts to light constructions such as for three the shade for seaside cafes, as the pillars of the green house and sheets of plastic as the glass. I went on a sea side holiday near there so i have seen them.  They produce the green winter vegetables of europe, in these make shift green houses, together with a few other places, like israel, probably marrocco and some others. So, maybe suprisingly, green houses get their main use in the hottest bits of the country producing winter vegetables.

I  have been trying to get myself off to Turkey, to go on the course given by  bill mollison and geoff lawson, mentioned on these forums. I have had series of problems that have reduced this plan to nothing. I found i could not find my passport and when i found the embassy would give me a emergency travel document, i found i had mistaken the date of the course  and it was half over, it began on the  the 21st annd not the 27th. Not wearing reading glasses is not a good idea if you are doing something importante.  I am stuck  at home as usual which feels very frumpy after dreaming of being in Turkey with big shoots in permacultture and maybe getting myself a certificate in same.    i will have to wait for the next course they do. agri rose macaskie.
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
I am not saying that it is impossible to grow lots of food in greenhouses - it is very possible. I worked in greenhouses in Iceland where there were papaya plants and bananas and figs ... possible, but not usually practical. Capital costs and resource use are very high with large greenhouses, and they usually encourage people to ignore nature instead of working with it.

I am saying if we emphasize permaculture ideas, most of will not build large greenhouses. According to Mollison's philosophy, it is ok to have a patch of grain if people like grain, but not so big as grain is not the central focus of PC. It is ok to have a small garden where the soil is tilled, but again, that is not the central idea of permaculture. Extending that, I think it is ok to have a small greenhouse, but not so big. Permaculture is about harnessing the a multi-canopy design based on locally adapted perennial plants.
                          


Joined: May 10, 2010
Posts: 34
I think green houses are good ideas for city or semi-city dwellings. I have 960 sq. ft home on a 1/4 acre in Olympia with a south facing concrete slab out the back door of my house, roughly 198 sq. ft. I am considering a green house for my own starts as well as aquaculture and place to get some privacy away from the rest of my beloved family, whom I love but need breaks from once in a while. I'd like to also use it as a place to store cuttings that rooting and things like that. It's be connected to the house and a place to also have baby chickens before they go their henhouse.
 
 
subject: greenhouse suck factor
 
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