We will have challenges when we finally settle up at the Broken Badger in Bickleton. We plan to try to produce the majority of our own food, but our weather is extremely unpredictable. I've looked into the history of the weather in Bickleton and there is a possiblity of freezing temperatures at any time during the year. Yes, it can freeze even in July and August!
January or July??
While that is a rare event (the average lows for summer are in the 50's), since we are going to be self-sufficient we need to plan for the worst case scenario, if we can. A lost harvest means a winter with less food than we should have. Right now if my garden fails, I can run to the grocery store. Up there it will mean stone soup and pine needle tea. Yikes!
I need a greenhouse. I need a greenhouse with a footprint the size of Texas. I may need multiple greenhouses. I actually love the earthy smell and ambient warmth of a greenhouse, so this really doesn't hurt my feelings much. But then there's the other challenge... the wind. Part of what we love so much about the area is the fact we will be able to generate power from the wind. Part of my challenge is the wind loves to destroy poly film structures. I'm worried that polycarbonate sheets will be too lightweight as well. (We can get some serious gusts up there!)
I think good ole fashion glass will be the way to go. I suspect they will mostly look like these:
Tomatoes, peppers, melons... all these warm weather crops will need to be protected from chilly nights, but also need to kept from frying during the heat of the day in the greenhouse. It will be a delicate balancing act. My goal is to have a system to open the greenhouse during the day, moving air through, then to close back up at night. I have not come up with an actual design yet. But this one comes close... I like that upper row of windows, so easy to crack open, release the risen heat and create a low to high air flow.
For some of the 'medium' crops (not really needing the warmth, but not happy with a freeze either) I will most likely use some type of cold frame. Something that can be closed at night to keep warmth in and cold at bay, yet fully opened during the day as long as it stays above freezing!!
Of course, we'll also have to build an orangerie to house our tender citrus trees. It will problably look something like this:
I wish!!! But seriously, I'm hoping to keep some more tender trees and plants from dying in the winter.
What are your thoughts on the challenges ahead? Any interesting building materials or structures for the garden? Scary experiences with wind destroying all your hard work?