[permaculture] Re: Greenhouse design for southern climates

Kirby Fry peace at totalaccess.net
Wed Dec 31 08:09:40 EST 2003

Hi All,

We too are in the process of building four greenhouses here in Texas.  We framed number one yesterday and are about to order the materials for number two today.   At this point I have a lot more questions than answers.

The landscaping company I'm working for basically wants a hot house with a translucent shed roof sloping to the south and five foot tall windows (from the top header down) making up the east, south and west sides.  Their need is to overwinter tender plants and grow out sprouts and micro-greens during the colder months for year round sales to restaurants.  In my opinion they're going to let in too much light and heat as soon as April rolls around and don't even need all of that light for what they're doing through the winter.

Like Arlene I would like to know about a design that is most suitable to our hot and humid summers and mild winters.  The next two greenhouses I build will be here at our site for Cross Timbers Permaculture Institute and one of my main goals is to grow tropical perennials year round - dwarf citrus, banana, papaya, etc.  Both of these greenhouses will be attached to other structures - one an 8' x 12' chicken coup and the other my 18' x 24' straw bale house.

I think rather than a translucent roof it should be completely opaque and insulated, maybe with a semi-translucent panel every third or fourth panel.  If it were a stand alone green house I feel that the shed roof should slope to the north, letting in the low winter light and blocking out the high summer light.  

However the one attached to the south wall of my house has to be designed to not heat up the house during the summer and basically serve as a shade house during that warmest season.  I like and have studied the atriums in earthships and this is basically what I'm after.  All of the house's black water goes into a gravel wick that is in the greenhouse, much like an earthship.

Once upon a time I had the book, "Sol Viva," but lent it out before I got around to reading it.  Now I wish I had it on hand.  Hopefully, there's someone out there who has some good design information.  Cheers,

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