Super Greenhouse
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Super Greenhouse: The gothic arch design is stronger, gives better ventilation, and does a better job shedding snow and ice.  

 

Proper planning captures the sun's heat
There are no mechanical devices in the greenhouse, other than a small blower used to inflate the two layers of 6 mil plastic that cover the greenhouse. The blower produces insulation by creating a create a dead air space between the layers of plastic. Perhaps more importantly, it also keeps plastic taught so that it is not affected much by wind. There are no fans for heating or cooling.

Being solar-heated, the greenhouse capitalizes on solar gain, stores it in the earth and also is supplemented by the ambient heat of the earth, which is 55 degrees F (about 13 degrees C).
"The bigger the greenhouse the less perimeter area there is to the volume. Because of that you have less heat loss from the surrounding area. The less heat we can give away and the more we can store is a better deal."

Proper planning is critical from the beginning. "Light is the key element to growing in the winter. Even deciduous trees will shade a greenhouse in the winter. You can give up hardly any light at all. Make sure that you know your site and understand the limitations of the sun on the horizon throughout the whole year. It's really important," he says.

The Gothic arch design gives better penetration of sunlight and ventilation than the usual half-round Quonset hut style greenhouse. It is oriented east-west instead of the usual north-south so that you get the maximum amount of solar gain with the largest amount of surface facing south, Moore explains. "The arch design is much stronger than Quonset-style greenhouses and also sheds snow and ice more readily."

Of course, you can't grow tomatoes in a greenhouse like this during the off-season, the grower says. But Moore can -- and does -- grow many other things out of season. For example, he plants some potatoes inside the greenhouse the day after Christmas and harvests them in March.

"We are in production from the third week in March and the week before Christmas when the farmer gets worn out. We could really run year-round if the farmer didn't get so worn out, and I think we will have to find a way to do that."

Moore worries about losing customers during his present mid-winter lull in production. "Whenever you leave and don't serve that market somebody will fill that void. If you can keep products going every week through the year it makes a huge difference."


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