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Wednesday, 29 July 2009 19:12

Tunnel greenhouses fend off winter’s grip

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A workshop on how to build a simple greenhouse will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 30, as part of the “Gardening in Cowee” series at the Rickman Store in Macon County.

Vegetable growers can easily extend the gardening season during the fall and continue producing into the winter by building a simple and very affordable green house that allows some vegetables to survive the cold weather.

Participants will help build what’s called a “tunnel” greenhouse, made from PVC pipe, wood and construction grade plastic, all held together with bolts and screws. The light structure is moveable or can be left in one place in the garden. A list of materials, diagrams and instructions will be provided to take home.

The workshop will be led by Ron Arps, a farmer in Jackson County with a Community Supported Agriculture operation. Arps is also a founding member of the project CREATE (Community Response for Energy Action and Transition Education), which promotes creative alternatives for people to grow their own food, build their own buildings, power their own transportation, produce power for their homes, and transform lifestyles to reduce fossil fuel consumption to help address the effects of climate change.

Rickman General Store is a community gathering place located on Cowee Creek Road, next to Cowee Elementary School, seven miles north of Franklin via on N.C. 28. 828.369.5595.

All-winter greenhouse harnesses power of the sun

A workshop on how to build a passive solar greenhouse will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 8, at Harvest Moon Gardens on Greens Creek in Sylva.

The greenhouse pattern is borrowed from Suncatcher Design Group, which employs proper design, materials and orientation to create a greenhouse that stays warm all winter relying only on the sun. Marsha Crites of Harvest Moon Gardens learned about the style during this year’s Organic Growers School from an environmental studies professor at Appalachian State.

“When I heard that a passive system in the Boone area could keep a greenhouse at 55 degrees Fahrenheit when the outside temperature was minus-2 degrees, I was sold,” Crites said.

Harvest Moon Gardens is a small retreat center and home to Crites’ landscape and garden design business.

“The elevation here is about 2,900 feet, and while winters seem to be increasingly mild in Western North Carolin, I like knowing that the perennials and herbs I cultivate for my business will be safe on even the coldest of winter nights without the use of electricity and other complex systems,” Crites said. “I may also use the greenhouse to grow salad greens and other vegetables that will keep me and my retreat guests eating healthy, fresh produce all year.”

Cost is $30 and includes lunch and dinner, including a campfire. There are still a couple spaces left. 828.586.2726 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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