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new Greenhouse in the Snow build in the New Mexico high desert

 
Posts: 59
Location: New Mexico
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foraging greening the desert homestead
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We are [almost!] ready to start building a Greenhouse in the Snow geothermal greenhouse kit on our high desert mesa homestead in New Mexico!  We have been eagerly following Kani and Miles's WyOasis project and are thrilled to be following about six months behind their greenhouse work, which they have so generously shared here on Permies.

Here in New Mexico we needed a building permit (even for a kit-built greenhouse), and that permit required engineering drawings!  Seems like overkill, but the good folks at Antioch Machine and Greenhouse in the Snow, who sell the kits and support the builds, came up with the engineering plans that passed muster with the state, so we have permit in hand!  We are ordering the remaining needed supplies and hope to break ground within two weeks.

We would welcome a helper or two if there are any hardy folks who would like to spend a few days or a couple weeks in the high desert in winter to learn side-by-side with us!  We've posted this work on the WWOOF website if you are a WWOOFer, and you can also get a feel for our project on our (non-monetized, ad-free, geared toward friends & family) blog BrownKawa Farmstead.

We are a couple of newly retired farmsteaders and our mesa is in NW New Mexico (four corners region) near I-40, Grants, and Gallup.  I imagine we will be working on this for the next couple or several months, so timing is flexible.  The WWOOF or blog links will give you a good idea of what our area is like, and some of our more recent posts give a hint of what accommodations might be like -- if interested, we can fill you in on details and answer any questions!

One interesting thing about being a Greenhouse in the Snow customer is that you quickly learn that they are a microbusiness, are very accessible, are continually innovating, and each build is unique.  We will be posting our progress here as we move forward.
 
Posts: 43
Location: USDA Zone 3-4/Sunset Zone 1a/in South Central WY
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Great to see you getting started. Don't forget to take and post lots of pictures!
 
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Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Howdy Kimi, I am looking forward to seeing what you do with yours. Seems like all of the folks who are building these are still learning about them and experimenting with the system.
 
Kimi Iszikala
Posts: 59
Location: New Mexico
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Kimi Iszikala wrote:We are [almost!] ready to start building a Greenhouse in the Snow geothermal greenhouse kit on our high desert mesa homestead in New Mexico!  We have been eagerly following Kani and Miles's WyOasis project and are thrilled to be following about six months behind their greenhouse work, which they have so generously shared here on Permies.



My error!  WyOasis is Kani and Lyle's project -- Miles is the brother who helped them out.  Sorry about that!  [I am apparently unable to edit my original post to correct my error...]
 
Kimi Iszikala
Posts: 59
Location: New Mexico
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Update... our excavation is done and we've started on our post holes.  I posted a detailed blow-by-blow on our blog.

Excavation:  https://www.brownkawa.com/post/digging-in

Post holes (so far): https://www.brownkawa.com/post/holy-moly
 
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Hi Kimi, I'm so excited to watch this process for you guys.  I've been watching the WYosasis build and recently posted a question but haven't had any replies.  I was wondering what your thoughts were on this design vs a more dedicated Climate Battery design like CRMPI uses. I know greenhouse in the snow uses a drain tile for storing heat, but I'm talking about a greenhouse design that recycles all of it's air under itself instead of piping tubes outside the greenhouse.  I love both concepts and especially like the sunken design of the greenhouse in the snow.  But I wonder if more drain tiles underneath for storing heat would improve it.  Do you have any thoughts?
 
Kimi Iszikala
Posts: 59
Location: New Mexico
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Seth Marshall wrote:Hi Kimi, I'm so excited to watch this process for you guys.  I've been watching the WYosasis build and recently posted a question but haven't had any replies.  I was wondering what your thoughts were on this design vs a more dedicated Climate Battery design like CRMPI uses. I know greenhouse in the snow uses a drain tile for storing heat, but I'm talking about a greenhouse design that recycles all of it's air under itself instead of piping tubes outside the greenhouse.  I love both concepts and especially like the sunken design of the greenhouse in the snow.  But I wonder if more drain tiles underneath for storing heat would improve it.  Do you have any thoughts?


Hi Seth, thanks for.the comment!  I am afraid I am ignorant and can't answer this question.  Our greenhouse will be my first opportunity to play around with geothermal at all, directly.

For us, though, managing heat will likely be more of an issue than managing cold.  Our sun in the high New Mexico desert is intense year-round.  So whether or not circulating the air directly underneath is beneficial for harvesting heat in colder climates, it would likely not make sense for us.  

It does get cold here in winter (growing season is only a couple days longer than my old home in Wisconsin, for example), and it's nice and cool when the sun goes down in summer.  So there will definitely be times when we will appreciate the added heat.  But I am pretty sure we will be using the tubes for cooling more than heating.

I am certain there are others in the Pemies world better equipped than I to answer your question intelligently!

Thanks again for asking, though!
 
Kimi Iszikala
Posts: 59
Location: New Mexico
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Update...

We finished our post holes, took delivery of our geothermal tubes,  had the geothermal trenches excavated, and tubes installed!

That was a milestone for me, since I've been having nightmares about someone falling into that 8-foot trench ever since we decided to build this thing!  Here are the blog posts since I last posted here... I will try to add more photos to my permies posts directly when I get a chance...
From my phone I can't even tell if the links below are hot...

https://www.brownkawa.com/post/how-to
https://www.brownkawa.com/post/roly-poly
https://www.brownkawa.com/post/one-day
https://www.brownkawa.com/post/a-rock-and-a-hard-place
 
Miles Flansburg
pollinator
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Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Kimi, when you get done with the posts in the pit area, and are installing the walls behind them, tamp the fill dirt behind the wall as you go up. It is amazing how much force the fill dirt will apply against the walls and slowly force them inward.  Just something we ran into up at the Wyoasis build.  Not sure if you have talked with Kani and Lyle lately about that?
 
Kimi Iszikala
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Location: New Mexico
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Miles Flansburg wrote:Kimi, when you get done with the posts in the pit area, and are installing the walls behind them, tamp the fill dirt behind the wall as you go up. It is amazing how much force the fill dirt will apply against the walls and slowly force them inward.  Just something we ran into up at the Wyoasis build.  Not sure if you have talked with Kani and Lyle lately about that?



Thanks, Miles!

If I understand correctly (from convos with Kani too), they built the retaining wall from the bottom up, right?  We are planning to build the 12' panels and then install each behind the posts... so we'll be back-filling after the 4' wall is all built... we will try to take it bit by bit and tamp from bottom up, but it will be behind the 4'wall, so might be a little hard...

I did hear from Kani recently about the retaining walls... we are setting the posts in concrete, and managed to get them 24-29" deep, so we are hoping that will help.
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