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 Post subject: Re: 3B Dreams
PostPosted: Mar 27th, '18, 02:12 
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LazyK any pictures of the overall system? I watched the video but only catch a hint of the greenhouse and how it's put together so I'm interested in seeing more. I'm in southern Michigan and you seem to be having better luck keeping warm in North Dakota than I do... you kept Tilapia alive through the winter in the system? What kind of heater are you using? A hot water house heater??? Yikes I can't imagine keeping my Tilapia in my system through the winter (well maybe keep them alive but not growing/breeding).

I've also sat and wondered where all of my ladybugs went... I released 1500 last summer inside the greenhouse that I figure went out the window when they automatically open with no screens on them but I just released another 1500 about 2-3 weeks ago and rarely ever see any of them... maybe as it starts warming up they will crawl out of the woodwork. My next attempt will be preying mantis. I have 5 egg sacs which they claim hatch 50-200 preying mantis per egg sac... so 250-1000 preying mantis... I'm imagining it will look like a scene from some horror movie when I come out of the greenhouse screaming covered in preying mantis... I will split them between my greenhouse and my hoop house but that's still a lot of bugs! Hope they stick around / do a better job than the lady bugs...

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 Post subject: Re: 3B Dreams
PostPosted: Mar 31st, '18, 16:46 
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Hi Rob, my unit has been a work in progress. Basically it's 16'x10' with the main floor 4' below ground level. The sump is another 4' in the ground so 8' down and below our frost line. Twinwall poly carbonate with 4mil sheet plastic on the roof. The ceiling is opaque and side walls clear. The wood side walls are normal 2x4 frames that are stuffed with Flax straw and there is probably a foot of flax straw below the gravel on the floor. Flax has a great R value. I wanted to use discarded sheep wool (belly trims are given away) in the walls but it was the wrong time of year to obtain it.

The best heat we had was when I had 40x55 gallon water drums on the north wall. Those were removed for space and I should have left them in.

I've moved and changed things progressively and last summer removed the small fish freezer (I needed more fish space but the freezer worked perfect for overwintering live fish) and replaced it with ibc totes. These really need to be insulated better if I want to keep fish over the winter. I have a 500w inline heater that heats water as it comes from the sump to the ibc. I also installed a milk box heater for blizzard days after losing my 4yr old Tom last winter but it's not on unless it's -20. Right now unless I get my ibc's insulated i will probably reroute the water from sump to bed and back and just harvest the tilapia before winter sets in and not cycle the ibcs. I have a indoor tank that will house a few breeders and will bump the heat and get them breeding in Jan /Feb so I will have new stock for the spring.
All subject to change of course.....does that help?

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 Post subject: Re: 3B Dreams
PostPosted: Mar 31st, '18, 19:43 
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That sounds amazing that is for certain. Thank you for sharing.

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 Post subject: Re: 3B Dreams
PostPosted: Apr 3rd, '18, 01:21 
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So it sounds like the main difference of what you are doing might be that you've built an earth sheltered greenhouse...? 4ft below grade, so the ground will give you quite a bit of insulation. I'm probably only around half that many water drums, I'd love to fit more but the way I laid everything out adding more barrels took too much room (or would have been blocked by my fish tank so wouldn't get any sun).

I'm above grade except for my sump might be dug down a foot or so below grade. I need a bigger sump, so that might eventually get dug down farther because right now my sump is only 40 gallons, I'd like 200-300 gallons or more for the sump so I don't have to top the system off as often. I don't know how far below grade I can really go because my water table is pretty high. I'm within a couple feet of the water level already so unless I dig it out and cement it in place I might have problems going below grade. I'm running a propane heater now on the pilot light to keep it warmer in the greenhouse... I can get about 3 weeks out of 15lbs of propane and keep the greenhouse above 50F from the looks of it although it was late winter before I got my heater installed so next winter will be the real test. I was able to keep the greenhouse above freezing with passive solar but just barely, so I added the heater. I think with the heater I should be able to keep tomatoes growing year round for about $5 a week in the winter... I think our min temps are about -15F.

I eventually need to shut my system down long enough to do a reconfigure. I think I need to get an outside system set up for summer growing first that way I can still have AP running while I reconfigure in the greenhouse and be able to move plants all back inside before winter... maybe I'll work towards a few outdoor beds this year and try planning ahead for next year to be able to rip out the inside of the greenhouse next summer.

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 Post subject: Re: 3B Dreams
PostPosted: Apr 6th, '18, 09:27 
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Rob, It really helps regulate the sump being below the frost line. Our water table is high so I have to keep the sump full too. I sometimes wonder if I should read up on the geothermal lines and see what it would take to run pipes...prob more than I want to mess with at the moment but as long as I get my salad during the winter it's all good.

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 Post subject: Re: 3B Dreams
PostPosted: Apr 9th, '18, 21:27 
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I would think it should help cool in the summer too cooling the sump tank. The bigger the sump the more it would stabilize in both directions I would think.

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 Post subject: Re: 3B Dreams
PostPosted: Mar 22nd, '20, 20:21 
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Well after a tough battle with Springtails I shut the system down for 3 months of freezing winter to attempt eradication by no plants and cold as crap weather. I propped the door open to ensure the greenhouse didn't keep it warm. Well three months of below zero hopefully helped. I dug out one bed yesterday and not a bug to be seen. Not to say eggs or the odd sneaky bugger couldn't be hiding but it's not the white mat of bugs. I was actually impressed with how clean the bed was....root free but sadly no worms and I normally have a healthy population.

I used Neem oil and ACV in my list of sprays with no success. Even Ladybugs...the only natural I didn't try was Mantis bugs. Still hopefully I have got it under control now, yes beaten by millions of bugs but not throwing in the towel.

One bed to go but that will have to wait until Monday as I can definitely feel all the shoveling I did yesterday. The sump and one IBC is full of water to start heating for the return of fish from the house tank. Will post pics in a few days.

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