Heating A Greenhouse Using Compost & Thermal Mass Techniques… – Eco Snippets

Heating A Greenhouse Using Compost & Thermal Mass Techniques…

Heating A Greenhouse Using Compost & Thermal Mass Techniques...

In this video I show different methods that I am using to heat my newly built 16 meter square greenhouse. The main heat source being heat generated from a batch compost pile. About the greenhouse:

Some time ago I found 4 bent tubes – I put them aside for an eventual greenhouse – Since then I have been collecting things to build this green house wood (from palettes), windows, and divers bits and pieces. What i actually bought was the special uv resistant greenhouse plastic sheet and wire. This was a low cost construction.

The green house has three areas: 1- Several shelves that are made into the hill for see germination, 2- The central path, that also is used to store the water in bins, and the compost pile, 3- A planting bed. Given that the soil is rocky clay mix where I live I created this bed using the lasagna method: layers of alternate organic matter (rich in nitrogen and carbon), compost and soil.

The methods I use to keep the green house from below zero temperatures during the night include:

  • Hot composting, the Berkeley method, producing high temperatures and a usable compost after about 20 days.
  • Water storage, water is an excellent accumulator of thermal mass, I plan to add more water storage bins.
  • Part of the green house is in the hill so this too serves as a thermal mass, accumulating the heat during the day and returning it during the night.
  • The position of the greenhouse that is protected from dominant winds
  • And of course during the day the sun !

The compost pile:

  • The size to begin with is about 1m50 height, by 1 meter x 1 meter.
  • To make this I use one bail of hay, 5 garbage bins of horse manure mix (see bellow), two garbage bins of water, I also trough into the water some manure, soil from different parts of the garden and some ash.
  • The nitrogen part is a mixture of horse manure, horse urine and wood saw dust- really powerful stuff. I get this for free at a local horse stables.
  • The carbon part is hay from a local source. I am given for freehay bails that have begun to decompse (perfect !)
  • The pile is made and left to stand for about 4 or 5 days, during this time the internal temperature rises up to and over 60 degrees Celcius. At that point the pile is turned every 2 days about 5 or 6 times. By that time the compost pile has totally cooled and can be used in the garden. I generally let it rest for a few weeks after that and add soil to it. Then use it where I need it.

Other uses of the heat from the compost:

You may have noticed in the video that I had a few trays of planted seed pots on top of the compost pile. This also promotes fast sprouting.

Temperatures:

At the time of making the video (3rd week of February) the outside temperature were between -3 degrees Celsius at night to 12 degrees Celsius and the inside temperatures inside the green house ranged between 5 degrees Celsius at night and 45 degrees Celsius during the day!

Check it out below…

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(4) comments

Allen Townsend Dragconis Zortak

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Bridget Waterhouse

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    But probably not in Canada

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