Fri Oct 5, 2018
OSE Hours - 
Sun Oct 8, 2017
Mon Nov 16, 2015
Sun, Oct 25, 2015
Chicken House / Vermicompost
- Sources of Poultry Flooring
- Dura Slat ($15 per 24x48" panel + $15 for shipping per slat + $50 fee for orders of less than 50 slats]
- PolyMax ($22 per slat + $40 shipping for 4 slats]
- FarmerBoy (call for price)
- Red Rooster Website Red Rooster Video (no pricing or sales info)
Sun, Aug 23, 2015
Growing potatoes in a greenhouse
What I learned about potatoes:
- Potatoes need temperatures between 60 (ideal) and 70 F, moist soil (too wet and they rot, too dry and they die), and 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day.
- They also need to be hilled, which is easy to do with a container/bag.
- The potato's cycle is not tied to season or day length, they will just sprout after 6 months (their dormancy period).
- They can be hilled with soil, straw or leaves - soil and leaves seem to be the most successful methods.
- 1 seed potato can produce between 2 and 5 pounds of potatoes.
- Americans eat about 142 lbs of potatoes per year - that's roughy 1 potato per day.
- There are roughly 3 types of potatoes: early harvesting (70 to 80 days), mid-season harvesting (100 days) and late harvesting (120+ days). I think only the late-harvesting are adequate for long-term storage, but was unable to find any solid info on that (see note at the end).
- Early-harvesting potatoes produce smaller crops than late-harvesting.
- In any kind of potato, "new" potatoes can be harvested after approx. 60 days. Bottom potatoes can be harvested in the mid-season. And the entire crop can be harvested when the vine dries out.
- Soil used to grow potatoes should not be re-used for potatoes for 2 to 4 years - we'd have to rotate it.
Ok, so we know we can't grow potatoes outdoors because we usually don't have a long enough spring - between last frost and summer heat. So the only hope is to grow them in the greenhouse in the fall and late winter. Several people have successfully done this (see below). The only requirements are to provide the right temperature and control pests (which is a requirement for any greenhouse crop).
eHow says: "Growing potatoes in a greenhouse is virtually no different from growing the tuber out of doors. Potatoes require sufficient soil, a constant temperature of around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and water about twice a week. Greenhouses are necessary for those who live in severely cold climates, because potatoes will not grow through frost. Keep the windows closed at all times, except for on particularly sunny days to allow for ventilation. You can grow potatoes either in pots or beds inside of a greenhouse to produce a large, starchy harvest perfect for homemade fries or mash."
The Horticultural Channel plants potatoes in containers in August for Christmas harvest. Greta, who has a solarium kept at 70 F, starts one crop in January - for Spring harvest - and another in August - for Christmas harvest. She says "Growing potatoes in the greenhouse is fun and they do not require much care. Early potatoes started in January or February will have a late spring crop. Another planting done in August will have a harvest for Christmas Day."
Here's a discussion - on a survivalist's board - about growing potatoes in a greenhouse. One person says they grow potatoes year round - at first in the basement with grow lights and now in a greenhouse:
"We live in Southern Wisconsin and grow potatoes all year long. Now we do it in the green house but we use to grow them on ourbasment. It's really easy.
Take at least a 30 gallon garbage can and drill some holes in the bottom of it. Fill it 1/3 of the way up with dirt and then put your seed potato slices on it. Then cover the seed potatoes with about an inch of dirt over the top of them. If you want to plant more than one kind of potato use a different garbage can for each kind. In our basement we used a $10.00 Walmart plant light over each garbage can, had them on timers for 12-14 hours a day. Then when the sprouts get to be about 6 inches high, cover them halfway with dirt. Continue to do that until the grow over the top of the garbage can, then mound straw over them and stop watering them. When the tops turn yellow, put a tarp next to the garbage can to catch the dirt and dump it over. Collect your potatoes and put the dirt somewhere where you will not grow tomatoes or potatoes with it for at least two years. Bleach the garbage can and leave it out in the sun for a month or so and it's ready to be used again. We have a system set up where we plant potatoes every 2 to 3 months this way. It's so easy.
If you are growing them in your green house make certain it stays well above freezing in there because potatoes don't tolerate frost. If they do die back though make certain you harvest the potatoes that did grow. They will be baby potatoes and won't last long in storage but they can be eaten right away."
The Modern Homestead says they have great success planting potatoes in a greenhouse in the late winter (which would solve the problem of the short spring): "In my experience, root crops such as beets or carrots, even though cold hardy, are also not suitable for planting in the fall greenhouse—they will grow, but do not receive sufficient energy in the shortening days to “make root.” I have, however, had excellent results growing carrots, beets, potatoes, and daikon (as well as the smaller radishes) in the late winter greenhouse, harvesting these crops up to two months earlier than their siblings in the garden." Several other articles mention planting potatoes in a greenhouse in January for Spring harvest.
The SFGate says "Fall Planting - As the weather cools, the season becomes perfect for planting baby carrots, lettuces and potatoes for winter harvesting. Potatoes are more successful in a heated greenhouse. Position the plants where they can take advantage of the waning fall sunlight. Using deeper containers provides more water and nutrients to your crops, which will improve them and make them easier to grow."
Off-the-Grid News says potatoes are ideal vegetables to grow in a greenhouse in the winter months.
The Royal Horticultural Society (of the UK) also says you can grow potatoes in a greenhouse during the winter: "The taste of tiny, tender new potatoes need not be restricted to summer. With a little bit of skill and good timing, they can also be grown for autumn and winter harvests, meaning you could enjoy them at Christmas."
There is one thing I'm still confused about. The consensus is that late-harvesting potatoes (planted in the spring/summer and harvested in the fall) will last 6 months in storage (a potato's dormant period). For this to happen, the skin of the potatoes needs to thicken before they're harvested - and this usually happens when temperatures drop to 45 F. It's unclear what happens with greenhouse grown potatoes. It might be the case that they're always "new" potatoes - the skin never thickens. I think this would be fine if we eat them as we pick them - rather than waiting to harvest all at the same time. But I did find an article that says you can "force" the skins to thicken by cutting the top growth and then waiting a couple weeks before harvesting.
Thu Feb 26, 2015
Sat Jan 17, 2014
- Overview of Solar Shades/Screens
- How to Select Solar Shades
- Sun shades for exterior use are more energy efficient than interior solar shades. Because they block the sun’s rays before they have a chance to enter and convert to heat.
- solar shades supplier
Sat Jun 7, 2014
Mon April 7, 2014
- Left message at Jamesport Lumber asking for contacts of contractors in the area: 660-684-6404
- Left message with two contractos recommended by Jamesport Lumber: Marvin Yoder - 660-772-3003; Jamesport Builders - 660-684-6931
- Jamesport Hardware Store: Parton Hardware 210 S Broadway St., Jamesport MO 660-684-6418
Mon Mar 10, 2014
- Swimming Pool: check delivery date
- Microhouse: order additional water heater, replace busted pipe, check and repair water leak.
- Solar Cabins: clean, paint, floor, whack weeds + lay straw.
Design work in the morning, infrastructure work in the afternoon.
Sat Mar 8, 2014
Fri Mar 7, 2014
Vertical Garden Materials Suppliers
- Sedum Master - Located in Canada, ships to US. Regular mat (17 varieties): $3.5 sq ft. Feather mat (lightweight): $4 - $4.50 sq ft. Mats not appropriate for walls (drainage and nutrients problems). Custom grow: need estimate. They also sell sedum in 4 inch pots.
- Plant Delights Nursery (North Carolina) - $11 for 3.5 in pot of John Creech sedum.
- Monrovia (California) - $14.99 for .65 Gallon of John Creech sedum
- Digging Dog (California) - $7.5 for 6-9 in. pot of John Creech sedum (not clear if this is the correct pot size)
- Succulent Gardens
- Oikos - $68.75 for 25 plants in pots (2.75)
For vertical gardens (short):
- John Creech: height: 2-4 in, zones: 2-9, spread: 3-12 in (plant 8 in apart), evergreen
- Silver Gem: height: 2-4 in (other source says up to 12 in), zones: 3-9, spread: 12 to 24 in, evergreen in mild regions only
- Dragon's Blood: height: 3-4 in, zones: 3-9, spread: 18-24 in (plant 10 in apart), evergreen except in coldest climates
For horizontal gardens (taller):
- Ogon (3-6 in) - zones 6 to 9
- Tricolor (4-6 in) - zones 2 to 9
- Palmeri (8 in) - 15 to 20 F (but it has been known to survive in 0F)
- Tetractinum (up to 6 in) - zones 5 to 8
- Sieboldii (6-12 in) - zones 3 to 9
My favorite variety: Sedum Spurium John Creech: "A very low mat-forming selection, this Stonecrop has rounded deep green leaves and small clusters of pink star-shaped flowers in the summer. Tolerates light foot traffic. Full sun / partial shade. Mauve / pink flower. 2-4 in. (5-10 cm). Zone 2-9." Some sources say it's deciduous, others that it's evergreen (?).
Sedum has shallow roots and easily propagates from cuttings - they'll take root within 7 to 10 days.
We could purchase a few specimens and use those to propagate a sedum horizontal garden - which we'd then use to get cuttings for the vertical gardens.
Vertical Garden Models
Shallow wood box filled with soil and covered with galvanized mesh. Appropriate for succulents. This is probably the approach we want.
- How to Make a Succulent Wall
- Living Pictures
- How to Make a Vertical Succulent Garden
- Make your own living succulent art
- Woods appropriate for planters
- Size: We may need to make several of these and tile them as in this example (plywood and mahogany frame, root barrier behind soil behind landscape fabric held in with wire). We can also make our own large tray (a wood grid) rather than individual boxes - but individual boxes may be more manageable (can be removed more easily). Victoria Gardens built wall-sized panels which appear to use burlap in between the wire mesh and the soil (more Victoria Gardens photos) - they probably have wood shelves behind the burlap.
- Water flow/drainage: make holes at the bottom of each tray?
- Weight: will the wall withstand the weight? Perhaps use bookshelf approach where most weight rests on the ground and picture hanging hooks keep flush to the wall (may require a row of bricks below the bottom tray).
Not appropriate for succulents.
Vertical or Angled Pockets
Not appropriate for succulents.
Plastic trays with individual vertical compartments. Appropriate for succulents.
Thu Mar 6, 2014
HabLab To Dos for this Week
- Check water / install pipeline if needed
- Clear rubble outside
- Lay straw in front of the house
- Clean room for Chris
- Hang storage area curtain
- Finish cleaning fridge
- Wipe front door
- Wash sheets
- Wash vacuum filters
- Install new water heater
- Weld chimney
- Close old chimney hole
- Insulate new chimney hole
MicroHouse To Dos for next Week
- Cell phone signal booster
- Repair water leak
- Stucco south and east walls
Mon Mar 3, 2014
FeF Requirements for Year-round Operation
- Insulate bathroom/kitchen wall
- Robust water heater
- Sufficient heating for common room, kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms
- Finish interiors (paint walls/floor, close holes, finish ceiling, etc)
- Mud room (physically separate from main room)
- Covered porch/patio
- Outdoors and indoors firewood racks
- Finish exterior rooms
- Robust plumbing
- Robust water system
- Robust electrical system
- Robust internet
- Cell phone signal amplifier
- Gravel or wood chip paths connecting all buildings - for both pedestrians and vehicles
- A way to shovel/clear snow-covered paths
- Solar lights or reflective cells along the paths
- Draft insulation
- Permanent (buried) water system
- Permanent sewage system
- Permanent electrical system (30A)
- Internet connection
- Cell phone signal amplifier
- Two additional modules (bedroom + living/working room)
- Heating on all modules
- Covered porch/patio
- Outdoors firewood rack
- Second stove
I think the best contrast colors for dark brown walls are white, yellow and apple green. See for example:
Menards doesn't have any bright greens (only boring ones), but Home Depot does have one that looks pretty nice (bamboo leaf). So here's the palette I suggest:
Inline image 3
Links for the paints at Home Depot:
Bamboo Leaf (green): http://www.homedepot.com/s/Bamboo%2520Leaf%2520%2520paint?NCNI-5
Lemon Lime (yellow): http://www.homedepot.com/s/lemon%2520lime%2520paint?NCNI-5
Chalkboard Paint: http://www.homedepot.com/s/chalkboard%2520paint?NCNI-5
For the MH I think we should go with white for the walls as that will make the space appear bigger.
Fri Jan 16, 2014
Looked into Swimming Pool idea for morale management.