Posted by: LittleDragonFarm | March 13, 2013

Growing in a greenhouse off grid- no electricity none, zip.

One of the things we use a lot are mini greenhouses- those little plastic things you can get at the DIY stores or the tractor supply stores. I like the ones you can walk in and not the little 4 shelf thing, although I have 2 of them as well.  We start all our seeds in them, squash tomato, fennel, herbs, spinach, lettuce etc.  This year we started artichokes.


Now we don’t have electricity to spare for a greenhouse to use fans and fancy warming equipment so we use water and old milk jugs or gallon size plastic jugs or really any plastic jugs… glass does not work as well. Also one color jug works no better than any other jug even if you paint it black.  The way this works is you fill the jugs with water and place the jug at the bottom of the green house without putting the caps on them.  The water then absorbs the heat from the sun all day long and gives off the heat all night long.  If you want it colder take a jug or 2 out; warmer add a jug or 2.  The water jugs also provide the nice moist or humid air needed by many little plants to grow well. One major trick to this way of managing your greenhouse is always use the water in the jugs to water your seeds/seedlings and then refill them.  This way the water is more likely to be warm instead of shockingly cold coming straight from a rain barrel or garden hose. One other thing is lighting.  We do not use grow lights or anything even close to that, we use the natural light given by the sun….So with that I m going back into the greenhouse….



  1. I watched a documentary on Machu Picchu some years ago, and the archaeologists wondered how they got food up the mountain to feed the city, because the summer is too short and the nights too cold to grow much of anything. Then they discovered that the Incas actually did their own gardening on top of the mountain.

    They had little irrigation ditches between all the rows of corn, which were kept full of water. Just like your water system, the sun warmed the water during the day, then gave off heat at night which kept the plants from getting too cold. That allowed them to extend their growing season into the spring and fall, when daytime temps were fine, but it got down to freezing at night.

    They think that the reason why Machu Picchu was ultimately abandoned, however, is that the weather changed–probably growing colder–so that, even with the “water heater” system, they still weren’t able to grow enough food to maintain the population.

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