Monday, February 15, 2016

Plant order forms available in April

In a typical year, I am taking plant orders by February for the upcoming growing season through my Pre-Season Prep service. This year, and hopefully for 2016 only, my timeline has changed a bit. I am waiting until early April to send out order forms, although I still plan to have summer crops ready for your gardens around Mother's Day.

There's a good reason for this delay—I am still in the midst of completing an array of projects that M R Gardens undertook in 2015 when the farm expanded to 2.5+ acres. The biggest of them—a passive solar greenhouse.

This greenhouse is a much more involved project than the typical aluminum frame hoop house with poly rolled over it. The 800-square-foot greenhouse is designed to limit the amount of non-renewable resources used to heat and cool it. It collects the largest amount of heat during the coldest days of the year and stores that heat in thermal mass for it to be released at night. When the sun is high in the sky during the warmest days of the year, less direct sunlight enters the greenhouse and vents open to cool it.

While passive solar greenhouses have been around since the 1960's, they are still few and far between and a bit experimental, especially at this scale. Every locality and every site are different, making the needs for each greenhouse unique. As I see how the temperature fluctuates in this greenhouse during the next few months, I can make adjustments for optimum performance.

I look forward to sharing more details about this design in the future. Check back for announcements about tours. I am also looking for volunteers to help me put the finishing touches on the greenhouse—so contact me if that interests you.

In the meantime, if you'd like to receive my order form for summer vegetable starts, beneficial flowers and herb plants, please e-mail and I can send it as soon as it's ready. Thanks for your patience!