Travis your expertise is incredible,to the point that I hesitate to describe your system as DIY!
I think you know this stuff better than most sales persons, and probably better than a lot if installers.
A lot of the DIY boiler setups I see described are very simple, lacking in advanced controls, or many controls at all.
The fireboxes are not well metered or controlled so there is real danger of creating a steam bomb.
A system employing Programmable Logic Controller to control fuel, air, and water flow, is worlds apart.
I have been looking for a diagram to go with your explanation, something showing the primary and secondary loops, and the metering valve.
I haven't found anything showing a metering valve persay, but the illustrations that show primary and secondary loops make me think that a metering valve controls how much water from the primary loop is injected into the secondary loop.
Can a pump on the primary loop accomplish much the same thing?
Welcome to Permies!
Me own mum has commercially purchased cages for her two small vegetable gardens.
We have had issues with the closures and with rabbits chewing through the plastic netting.
With that in mind, I suggest a high tunnel/hoop house, made of chicken wire or hardware cloth over EMT tubing or rear.
The radiator thing I've seen done in an Instructibles.
They were going for cooling more than dehumidification.
I like your toilet idea, it uses up the "cooleth" in batches,less waste that way.
No matter what, we want to use all that water/electric/cooleth more than once.
Direct irrigation, or a storage tank(pool?pond?)for future use seems like a good idea.
I've seen people skybluing about using heat renewable dessicants, a known technology and using thermal solar power as the renewing heat source.
Air to earth thermal storage systems rely on the relative cool of deep soil to condense water out of the air, taking the heat with it.
Often touted for their ability to heat a structure like a greenhouse, they can be used for cooling and dehumidifing as well.
Unlike earthtubes, they avoid the dangers of mold and mildew by being perforated.
The condensation is absorbed into the earth, and the native soil organisms easily out compete molds and mildews in that environment.
So maybe bring in air via perforated earth tubes, through a renewable desiccant filter and past a well water cooled radiator.
The constant positive pressure of chilled dried air could help keep out the humid outside air.
Ah, I think I see where I was confused.
Let me explain, it might help someone else.
Radiant heating systems and solid fuel boilers are so often discussed together here on permies that I conflated one with the other, but one is the heat distributing system and the other the heat generating system
As Bob illustrated, radiant floors can be heated by conventional means.
The solar preheating connection he mentioned might be suitable for connecting to a wood burning boiler.
Either of those two sources might easily exceed the working tempature for PEX, so they would probably require the use of a tempering valve.
I don't think there is much actual danger from a closed loop radiant heating system, but there can be danger from a closed loop boiler.
It sounds like an open loop radiant heating system has few downsides.
In fact, I wonder if such a system could be driven by a heat pump water heater that itself would be powered by PV solar.
That's a nice thing about radiant heating systems, the seem adaptable to many diverse heat sources.
You could run a loop through a compost pile or a dragons maw, with the right precautions.
I thought this post would be about poop!
Feeding pigs cow poop for instance.
Of course, insect and microbiological life play a part in that exchange as well.
It seems that every food can benefit from predigestion by microbes and such.
I wonder that more homestead pork producers don't keep chickens or guinea fowl right along side of the pigs.
Furrowing pigs would delight the chickens.
Pig poop would be a paradise.
This pairing seems like a composting super duo.
I do imagine some birds would be eaten, but not too many.
Oyster mushrooms and red wrigglers could also be good links in the chain.
I've been cultivating willow shoots for willow water, stakes, fodder, trees, etc.
I have them planted in my laundry to landscape filter and I want to include them in the sump of my multi barrel hydroponic hardwood cloner.
In the filter, they occupy three stacked milk crates.
The top two crates have had their bottoms cut out.
The crates are filled with sand, chicken bedding and potting soil.
I'm hoping the willow stakes fill the crates with roots and shoots.
I plan to try willow on a living shed roof in a grid pattern, tied at the junctions with wire,zip ties or twine.
The grid would go over a plastic sheet ,and be secured only at the edges.
Alfalfa seed and compost would be heaped onto the roof and into the holes in the grid.
I imagine a messy, fuzzy, heavily rooted thatch will develop.
Maybe I can connect a ground planted willow stake or two to the roof top willow grid, thus giving the spliced together willow structure access to ground water.
I already have planted a willow stake directly in a pvc pipe and it is thriving.
The ablity to water before and during a wildfire seems like a hurdle.
I think I would choose to install a fire proof barrier in areas prone to wildfire.
I think stucco would do well against fire.
It's not used as roofing.
I'm told this is due to weight.
It is three times heavier asphalt shingles, but comparable to a 1/4" slate roof.
I think it will work.
I suspect the ceramic lining will shatter dramatically, and after that, you will be good to go.
Quenching should be a snap.
Those things can be heavy,so be careful with your back, etc.
This taboo seems to be culture specific .
I wouldn't do it,and yet I have baited a hook with a live worm.
Of course, live is exactly how most non-human animals consume their prey.
Since I was a child, I have had a horror of being paralyzed and slowly devoured, or eaten from within (bot fly anyone?) .
That other animals do it to one another isn't a reason to do it, or not do it, it just offers perspective.
Thanks everyone, for your responses.
James, you are on the money.
This neighbor asked that I not build a privacy fence on the property line.
He was concerned that it would block sunlight to his basement windows.
So I built a chainlink fence along that stretch to accommodate him.
Latter he complained to me and authorities about what I was doing on my land.
The authorities were only able to see my land from his property.
I was cited, fined, my property seized, trees ripped from the ground and I am still dealing with the outcomes.
I was furious.
But I stayed my hand.
I was looking for positive reactions that could help.
I just don't have the resources to devote to vengeance.
Eventually I decided to plant willows, in a line along the fence.
A hedge, quick growing and meant to obscure the view, thus helping him and me.
After the willow stakes sprouted, someone tried to break them off at the ground level.
Willow is tough, they survived, I straighten them up and they thrived.
Then they browned, withered, and died.
Then the well established crab apple tree, along the same fence line browned, withered,and died.
Then the peach tree across the yard browned and withered.
Other plants near to these plants suffered, but didn't die.
The peach tree might make it, but this year's harvest is stunted and tainted.
I am building a privacy fence, and setting up cameras.
I will plant along this property line with something new.
Roundup resistant plants don't produce roundup, they resist it, so I am fine with using them.
They emerge naturally via selection, as well as via genetic engineering.
I would sell this property, but no one wants it except for the hateful neighbor, and I just don't want that.
I could let the government take it, and I might.
I'm trying to avoid falling into the sunken cost trap,but right now I'm following the advice of my lawyer and building a privacy fence.
Spencer, your post is very inspiring!
I'm wondering if it will work if it's oblong, fitted to a rectanglular building as the roof?
If not, maybe a square?
I have a lot of pvc, garden hose, pex pipe and such to play with, so I definitely try out your ideas.
No proof of it but I'm convinced he did.
Killed my willow starts, my crabapple tree and tried the peach tree.
I'm building a fence, but he will probably spray anything he can reach.
My question, should I seek out roundup ready crops and weeds?
If nothing wilts, he will probably stop spraying.
If I can find something tall, it will block more poison.
If it sucks up the poison, I could discard the plants in the trash.
I will be putting our shed next to that property line, and bunches of mulch as well.
Any ideas on other mitigating this threat, or plants to use would be welcome.
I would avoid adding any clay soil, if possible.
The potted plant soil is ideal for a wicking bed.
I would try to find some fiberglass window screen as a barrier between the existing soil/ reservoir and the new soil/ plants.
I would plant things that most need a consistent water supply to flourish.
Tomatoes do great in my wicking containers.
If the horse poop turns out to be tainted , plant peas and eat the foliage.
The only plants I have had that didn't like a wicking container were the herbs, they seem to prefer some dry root time.
Welcome to the forums!
I love your post, IBC are a great resource.
So, you would want these to be outside the building envelope?
Is your home at all insulated?
Clearly it has lots of thermal mass, but that may not be enough.
I wonder if glazing a wall could create a solar collector of sorts.
Would you run non-potable water in a loop, or would this be part of the potable water system?
What ways are you planing on heating the water.
Storing enough PV as heat to get thru an entire winter on seems unlikely, though it would be awesome.
It's hardly low tech, but some solar advocates suggest heat pump furnaces and water heaters as the most efficient way to use PV .
I have no experience with straw bales, but we do buy hay for our rabbits and the rodents love it.
A south facing(?) wall of IBC's could have a solar thermal collector on the face of it.
Two parallel walls could be the walls of a building.
Bunching them together in a cube would minimize surface area, heat loss and insulation expense.
Stack them along the wall of your home and they could shield that wall from cold air and summer sun, and the insulation would serve double duty.
Keeping the water thermally balanced might require a more elaborate plumbing scheme than just storing water.
Kill it.... with chickens!
Seriously, it chokes everything,and is of dubious edibility.
I can't pull it off of plants without hurting them, so I just break the stems as close to the ground as I can.
Chickens will eat/scratch it to death, along with all other other annuals in reach.
I still get it growing up amidst perennials, but not a lot.
Jerusalem artichokes might be a good soil building crop, they are no where near as persistant as the bind weed, while still spreading like wildfire.
Alfalfa, Austrian Winter Peas, or Cow Peas might do well in woodchips, being as they might over come any nitrogen deficiency.
Planting sweet potato, squash, pumpkin, or other running, viney crops into pockets of amended soil could let you cover otherwise inhospitable woodchips with greenery.
I think you could do it with minimal additional cost over fencing alone.
I think you will still need fencing.
It would keep out deer, birds and squirrels as well.
I wouldn't expect a huge amount of season extension, unless you add extra layers, like two rows of low tunnels inside of a high tunnel, on top of of row covers.
Actually, white row cover as the the rooftop would allow in precipitation .
Fencing underneath plastic sheeting goes a long way to prevent the pooling that tears up a lot of tarp structures.
If you have chickens, a structure like this could serve as a winter home.
Feed them compostibles all winter, plant in the soil come spring.
I think you could get by with deer netting if you are only protecting plants.
For protecting animals, a combination of hardware cloth in places where racoons could reach in to get a chicken, and poultry wire every where else should do.
We have homebuilt one my father in law picked up somewhere.
The tires are rotted out, but the frame and drive train are solid.
I hope to get my 11 year old on it for pedalling and peddling-selling off the back of an adult trike seems extra artisan,small batch, organic and wholesome.
There are kits for building trikes, and even no weld builds.
There are recumbent trike builds out there, but then you are back to being unseen.
There are also a lot of DIY and kit options for electrification that seem worth looking into .
The prevalence of scooters makes their parts more available,so adapting them to use with a bike seems like a good idea.
I only know one farmer,really.
Richard Steward of Carriage House Farm.
He has a family farm, but he has to hustle to make it pay.
He built a horse boarding stable.
People pay him for the space and the hay, but they provide the labor, mostly by hiring his tenant, who rents out the old farm house.
From there he got into grinding his own grain, thus selling corn and wheat for many times the commodity price.
Sells "waste"from the milling operation as chicken scratch.
Milling lumber from his own land.
Greens from his high tunnel(paid for in part by some gubmint program)
Hosting farm to table events with chefs.
Growing organic grain on his higher properties, conventional grain on his floodplain.
Selling directly to chefs as much as possible.
The list goes on, and it's mostly additions, not substitutions.
He is now running a commercial craft vinegar operation on his land, with a full commercial kitchen.
The vinegar is brewed from spent grain ,provided by his partners at Mad Tree Brewery.
Each batch is different, all very richly flavored.
I have no idea if this kind of variety is the norm for family farmers , but diversity seems to be his way of squeezing the most income and joy, out of the land, while leaving it better than it was when it was entrusted to him.
I've know right!
One thing I've figured out is that anything like that is a possible biochar feedstock.
Bones, cooked to char, fueled by oil and oulinfused waste.
Might even smell good!
I have made biochar from napkins and bones, leftovers from BBQ night.
I've never built or used an oil burner, but I suspect distinct, separated liquid oil is already being recycled.
One still has to deal with separating out the plastic, unless you want to try cracking that as well.
I'm wary of the toxins could come with breaking plastic down into oils and gasses.
Low level heating/pressing/sinstering of plastic seems safe enough, but also a distraction.
OK this idea maybe pretty useless.
Clearly, bone to fertilizer up-cycling occurs on a large scale, and a house hold scale, but I was looking at it at side hustle scale, which needs more than a meals worth of bones and less than some reoccurring massive amount.
But the waste from chicken restaurants intrigues me.
I see napkins, and chicken bones and I think fertilizer.
The plastic straws, lids , containers and utensils are the fly in the ointment.
I wish there were a plastic magnet, or at lest a chick-en magnet, but alas.
I have considered the sorting powers of water, chickens and high powered fans, but I really have no good ideas.
Nicer restaurants would have less plastic, but also fewer bones, and better dumpster security.
Anyplace that you had a deal with would reasonably expect regular pick ups.
So there is not much here, in terms of ideas, just a vague wish to convert one waste stream into a phosphorus rich fertilizer.
One more idea.
Feed the unsorted mess of waste to superworms or hissing cockroaches.
Eventually, you have insects, insect frass and the indigestible plastic.
At that point, using air to winnow out the good stuf(the poop and the insects)would be more feasible.
Might want to check to see what if any chemicals the farmer is bringing in.
Maybe buy some young pigs, raise them
to slaughter weight?
Selling chicks, pullets and layers could be more profitable than eggs, kind of like selling bare root trees,balled trees or 3 year old fruiting trees, instead of selling tree seed.
OTOH, chicks do eat more than saplings...
I'm working on building an areoponic/hydroponic style cloner to use on food producing hardwood tree clippings.
There are other cheaper, easier methods,but none seem to be faster.
Mostly, I want it for bulk materials.
Manure, sand , road base, slab wood, blue barrels,totes, greywater, cardboard, leaves, logs, pallets, scrap lumber, sawdust, spent brewers grain, coffee bean husks, etc.
Things that are cheap, or free, for the taking, but hard to move without a pick up truck or trailer.
Once I master that use of a trailer, a tool trailer of sort would be the next thing I'd want, followed by a sleeping trailer.
The reason a pickup truck as a trailer is so appealing is the idea of the cab and under the hood as tool storage, and the bed being available for cargo or a sleeping pod...the dream dies hard!
I'm looking at popups with crappy canvas as donors for a utility trailer, though getting the boat/ trailer deal is tempting.
I figure I could use the boat as a raised bed over at my yarden, or flip it over onto a post and henge structure for a shed that would really piss off the neighbors!
Or maybe I could launch it and let it sink..just kidding!
A trailer/ boat combo actually seems better for a tool/ sleep pod.
Not much to some boat trailers without the boat, and closing in the boat with light frame work and poor-mans fiberglass would be cool.
Seriously though, I got plenty of ideas, but no ready cash, which isn't the worst situation for forcing better choices.
For example, a maybe a beat down but running pick up truck would be the better place to start.
I'm just using the cheap harbor freight staples.
Whatever the coating, I've never had a stapled together pallet outlast the staples.
I'm no plastic purist, either, just don't want to add swaths of it to my yarden.
No telling if the idea will work, but it's cheap to try.
Thanks for the props!
Not knowing your end goal, here are some alternatives: Soak in water, blend with drill powered mortar mixer, press/ drain it into a paper log,
Or make it into charcoal inside a stainless steel container,
Or just burn it
There are market gardeners that follow many permaculture principles, yet they use plastic mulch extensively.
Curtis Stone, Justin Rhodes, the fit farmer, the permaculture orchard guy, all use plastic mulch.
They seem to favor silage plastic, and expect many years, or even a lifetimes worth of use.
Some have noted the huge amount of earthworms they find under their plastic as the deciding factor in their continued use.
I'm not a profit making farmer of any kind, much less a no spray/beyond organic farmer, so I hesitate to condemn the practices of those who are.
I don't mind suggesting alternatives, even untried ones.
In my yarden, hardboard lasts for years in direct contact with soil.
It's the board that pegboard is made of, and made of compressed wood fiber, no glue.
I find the pegboard allows in water, and suppresses most weeds.
I prefer it, because water sheets off or pools on the hardboard without holes.
The pegboard makes for good footing as well.
I've never had weeds grow through the holes, but if they did, I think the flat surface would make weeding extra easy.
A potentially more durable idea, but utterly untested, is basalt fiber cloth.
Made of spun stone, it could last a long time.
The color is naturally black, the weave can be very tight.
A caveat, tiny bits of some stone fibers have a history of causing health issues, but that's true of tiny bits of anything.
The problem with either of these ideas is cost.
Neither will beat the initial monetary cost of plastic, and they are untested in the long run.
Plastics long term effects look pretty grim, but those costs are not figured into upfront financial costs.
I'm not sure about the environmental costs hardboard or basalt fabric, I just know they will return to the earth, in way that plastic will not.
Is that enough? Cellophane comes from woodfibers, and, will eventually return to the earth, but creating it requires toxic carbon disulfide.
Maybe cellophane, blackened with added carbon particles would be a good plastic substitute.
I'm building 3'x3' panels from heat treated pallet boards.
I'm leaving the nails in and holding them together with staples.
My lot is not beefing friendly anyway, and I expect most steel to corrode away before it gets loose in the soil.
Their backs will be layered with cardboard, maybe as much as an inch thick.
The point is to create a durable,presentable weed barrier/stepping stone from mostly free material.
I have grass to kill, and the city objects to cardboard or carpet.
Slab wood from a mill, rounds from a log, petrified hessian (burlap) and a bunch of other ideas might work for a small time operation ,but I'm not sure if they would work for a large scale farmer.
I only recently found out about Kratky Hydroponics .
I like its as an extension of wicking beds/container gardening.
Mr. Leon, a keen advocate for wicking containers shows us the Kratkey method at work in one of his green house.
Being cheap and adverse to being dependent on purchased chemicals, I looked into compost tea as a replacement for hydroponic nutrients, they have some history being used to good effect.
I anticipate starting my plants in a relatively large container, with relatively rich medium.
Peat moss and rabbit poop for instance.
This will make it more like a chinampas, the water providing some but no where near all of the fertility.
Salad greens, being expensive and pretty cold hearty seem like excellent crops for this.
I'm imagining a green house with an insulated northern wall lined with 55 gallon barrels, stacked two high.
The next row of barrels would be topped with half barrels, a large net cup protruding into the barrel beneath.
Arrange more of these in aisles, leaving minimum space in between.
Right now I'm cutting two icing bucket sized holes in each barrel lid.
I'm using what I got, and the ability to easily swap out plants might prove to be superior.
One bung in each barrel has a live willow cutting in it, to encourage rooting from the food plants.
I'm trialing 3' of 3/4" nylon rope inside a pool noodle,as a wick, to guarantee water to the plant roots.
Theoretically, its not needed, the roots will grow after the water if/when the level goes down.
So, I'm probably negating the one thing that is Kratky proper about this, and making wicking containers with huge reservoirs and small amounts of soil.
Oh well, I can't help experimenting, at least until I NEED to make progress.
A lot of what motivates me is pursuing lowered cost/reproducibility.
I have gotten my home made bread down to less than 0.50$ a loaf, with great quality and ease of production, through this madness,plus it's fun!
I might try a bottomless bucket, lined with one leg of a pantry hose, and filled with wicking soil, as well.
I wish my biochar production was on point, I would love to try it as my wicking medium.
I will grow some legumes in the barrels as well, perhaps in a tube/sock(?) in the second bung, to see if it shares nitrogen with the other plants.
I can imagine a perennial legume feeding annual salad greens this way.
If my barrels were white, I could imagine Azolla in the reservoirs.
Maybe a barrel of Azolla, for nitrogen production, would do instead.
I've often thought Azolla in a cut down IBC tote would make for a nice green roof for a stationary chicken coop.
Azolla in a thermal solar system is another weird dream...
We needn't bother with circulating pumps, Kratky hydroponics doesn't call for them.
Kratky reservoirs can be kept at the same level or allowed to lower, but must not rise above the initial level lest the roots drown.
We could reserve one barrel for adding water, and chain the rest to that one.
I have found half inch barb fittings plus garden hose make for a very cheap leak proof connection.
Add hot water to that barrel, heated by wood stove, PV solar or thermal solar, etc.
Maybe boil water on a rocket stove, run a condensing coil through the barrel of water.
Add the condensate to the sump barrel.
Most all of the heat captured, and yet tempered.
I'm looking for a propane powered clothes dryer , with the idea that I could smoosh two turds with one bone, but that is really out there.
Maybe build an insulating stem wall, along the front of the green house, and mount a water coil heater there.
Keeping the glazing to a minimum and capturing the heat with a loop that can be a one way thermal trap, seems like a good plan.
On the other hand, keeping things as temporary as possible might be better.
Double layers green house plastic, with another layer of plastic over each barrel, could really push the seasons, cheaply.
Turn the whole thing into a shade house to continue lettuce production into the warmer months.
Wrap the barrels in white to keep the reservoir of water cool.
If I can source them cheaply enough, my new back solar back "porch" might consist of Kratky barrels.
My other solar back "porch" is two cut down IBC totes, made over into wicking containers.
I have a willow growing out of one, I'm not sure what to grow in the other, hardy kiwi maybe?
Add a tent, with clear sides and you have a nearly attached greenhouse, but there are no local building regulations on tents (under 400 square feet) or on planters of any size.
Since I'm aiming for convenience and the thermal benefits of being adjacent, not connected,I don't want the green house(s) to be "attached" anyway.
Shielding an entire solid brick exterior wall from winter air, and summer sun, will be marvelous, if I can pull it off.
Since they Kratky barrels only need a relatively small hole for the plants to access the water, most of the surface is still available to walk on and adsorb solar energy.
If I find using nylon wicks inside of hoses delivers enough water, the holes can be smaller still.
The 'porch" is beneath where my second floor laundry and my bathroom are.
If I'm confident the solar 'porch" won't freeze,running the grey water through a Solvia style vermicomposting filter, and into the "porch" barrels could be great, for (minimally?) heating the "porch".
The overflow water could go right into the downspout drain to the sewer in the winter, and onto the grapes/blackberries during the summer.
How about llama or donkey guard instead of a dog?
Or maybe, just use llama or donkey period, skip the goats.
The use you have for them resembles keeping guinea fowl for tick control, and I would expect a some losses.
I've been looking at craigslist trailers.
The cheapest ones are the ones that come with a boat, and they INSIST you take the boat!
Flat 4x8 utility trailers come next in price.
By the time you get to an enclosed trailer, you are looking at about $1000.00 for a horse trailer.
The small pick up I was thinking of converting weighs 3000 plus pounds(!).
Apparently engines and transmissions are not very heavy, though I can't nail down a specific number.
A dodge caravan weighs about 3,800, and I would want to keep the seats, so, no better luck there.
Mind you a small horse trailer could easily weigh 2,400 lbs.
New 4x8 trailers can be 330 Lbs.
A DIY teardrop trailer could weigh 900 lb.
A DIY foam trailer could weigh 5-600 pounds.
My conclusion-this idea is very appealing, but doesn't pan out.