How to Build Hoop Houses : In-House Compost Making


One of the essential principles of permaculture
is to make multiple uses out of every resource. In other words something that you build, or
buy, or acquire or work with, isn’t just useful for once, one opportunity, one use, but has
various applications. Let me give you an example. This is my potting bench, I’m endlessly going
through dirt, dead plants, old material, crop residues. I’m working here, so I need a place
to get rid of that stuff. So I built this in-house composting system. Slide the waste
in, throughout the winter I’m putting dead plants and hay and garden soil into this container.
And let me explain the various uses. Number one, I’m able to have an easy way to discard
my organic matter. Number two, we keep beneficial microbes and worms active all winter long.
Number three, we make some delicious soil which we use in the spring to, to mix up our
planting starter mix and our transplanting mix. And then finally, it yields heat, there’s
a small amount of heat that is produced by the compost inside the hoophouse. Now I wouldn’t
say it would be enough to heat the hoophouse, but inside here we’re talking about small
margins of temperature and if we can keep this space protected and slightly above freezing
most of the winter, there’s a wealth of things that will stay alive and continue to yield
for us right around the calender. Now I didn’t invent this idea, many people have played
around with it, but it’s a perfect example of how you take what you’ve got and convert
it into something useful. In-house composting.

4 thoughts on “How to Build Hoop Houses : In-House Compost Making

  1. Hmm. I thought this was going to be the opposite… i.e. using a portable hoop-house (or cold frame) over a compost pile to see if heating it up would help compost faster. I do know that a compost pile's heat is from microbes, but they seem to slow down a lot when the temps are below freezing. I am wondering if having a hoop-house on top during the winter would help the microbes to have their preferred temps to keep composting (as long as I don't get it so hot to kill them. Anyone's thoughts?

  2. the heat could be regulated by ventilating the house I.E. roll up the sides to create flow. also having exhaust fans would increase ventilation and dissipate the heat… yes? No?

  3. Besides he is talking about a small refuge bin of compost not hundreds of pounds of it and it seems he isn't after the heat for the purpose of heating the greenhouse although that is what I am interested in. How do you keep a greenhouse warm in near zero temps without an external source of heat such as gas or wood stoves etc. ?

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