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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

If I could design a system from scratch...

A Perfect Day

If I could design a system from scratch, and if I didn't have any constraints, I would:
  • Use a bell siphon for my ebb and flow (already in heaven on this)
  • Use locally sourced expanded shale aggregate for my grow medium
  • Site the greenhouse in a clear area with only norther shade
  • Make the walkway 36" wide and paved, so it is wheelchair accessible
  • Sink the fishtank and sump so the growbeds are about 30" high
  • Install a rocket mass heater under the walkway for winter
  • Install a rain catchment and storage system
  • Install a biosand water filter
  • Install a windmill and solar panels for power
  • Have a nifty greenhouse (like this Royal Victorian)

The Royal Victorian 10' x 15' Greenhouse

In the mean time, I have a wonderfully robust system where the plants are exploding, from which I'm already been able to harvest lettuce, beans, peas, strawberries, mustard, and basil.

Last night we had homemade pizza with pesto sauce made from basil in the garden. So I'm already in heaven!


  1. I have exploding plants, no fish yet, but no fruit - though I started later than you. I am suspecting a potassium deficiency.

  2. You may have already thought about a subterranean heating and cooling system, but if not, here's a couple of links. I'm considering one of these for its year-round efficiency (off grid if I can get the math to work out) and possibly a small rocket mass as a supplement for those really cold stretches...

  3. The Subterranean Heating and Cooling System (SHCS) seems intriguing - It would be nice if there were a better schematic, though I get the idea from the pictures. I still like the idea of a rocket mass heater to add thermal mass energy and would be interested to see if there's a scheme by which the two systems could be integrated.