This fall and this winter I have been thinking about a greenhouse I would love to build. It integrates the heat of slowly decomposing hay bales, chickens, and two 2 foot deep, 16 foot long raised beds. I have to admit that for now, its a dream as I do not have the financial means to put this together for now.
A greenhouse that integrates the heat produced by chickens is something much talked about in permaculture thought. If you google a bit, there seems to be some doubt that people are able to make this happen. As I have not built and tested my concept, I can not make any claims. I think, though, that a lot of the doubt comes from arm-chair gardener types who do not know much about gardening or chickens.
The hay bales are seen in the diagram, making up the north facing wall. There is a gap between the bale wall and the first raised bed. This gap, 16 feet long and 2 feet deep, 3 feet wide perhaps, will be covered by chicken wire, forming a chicken run between the two ends of the greenhouse.
On either end of the greenhouse will be housing for chickens (perches, areas to run, areas for feeding and watering) separated from growing areas by chicken wire. The growing area above two raised beds will be under the sloping roof of the green house. My vision is for this greenhouse to supply us with lettuces and nutritious greens through out the cold cold winter here.
I thought I would share some of what little is going on here, in the depths of winter. I have also been snuggling on the couch with seed catalogs and generally trying to stay warm without feeling too pouty that the garden is out of commission for the season.
We are also watching our 9 pregnant goats, some of them are quite large now with child. I continue to mentally prepare for labor and delivery.