What is a forest garden greenhouse?
Our forest garden greenhouse is based on the work of Jerome Osentowski from Colorado USA (his excellent book on the subject, The Forest Garden Greenhouse, is available here). Over many years he has pioneered the use of ground heat storage systems (that he calls ‘climate batteries’) to store heat from summer and autumn to use in winter, to enable a growing system for subtropical or tropical plants.
Our greenhouse was erected in summer 2016, after initial groundworks involving burying air pipes in the ground (air is blown by fans through these to store or release heat). In addition to the soil heat storage we have also designed a ‘water wall’ where a large volume of water can also function as a heat store. Water is quicker and more efficient at storing heat than soil, but it also releases it quicker. The idea is that the water wall evens out day-to-day variations in temperature, whilst the soil storage evens out longer-term variations.
We’ll be planting a subtropical/tropical forest garden inside the greenhouse, starting in 2017. This will include lemons, oranges, avocados, mangos, bananas, payapas, starfruit etc.
As far as we are aware nobody has set up this kind of system in the UK with a montoring system to record not just above ground climatic variables but also below ground. Some of that data will appear on these pages in real time, as well as historical records.