Thursday, November 8, 2012

Monday, June 20, 2011

Remembering Joel Levenberg

Growing peppers and tomatoes in Colorado is a challenge--they like warm nights. The greenhouse shed is an attempt to keep the temperatures warmer at night. I have been fairly successful with it as I have had both tomatoes and peppers set fruit.

The inspiration for this came a friend who enjoyed challenges. He was the one that gave me insight into keeping temperatures warm at night as a the way to get better tomatoes. Perhaps it was the competitive spirit in Joel that drove me to a solution beyond something simple like a Wall of Water.

Joel Levenberg loved the challenges that Colorado provides, including back country skiing. Sadly on May 21st, he died in an avalanche. He left behind a lot of folks who will really miss him. It is cliche to say that he died doing what he loved--but he did.

Here are some Cayenne peppers that are ripening and still setting fruit.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tomatos and peppers have fruit

Almost 5 inches of rain this May, most all of it in the last couple of weeks. Things have been cool. Also had a nasty hail storm--enough that the roof salesmen have swarmed on the community. Peach tree, strawberries, grapes all took some beating, but they look like they will survive.

Of course everything is fine in the greenhouse. Cayenne and green pepper plants are blossoming and holding fruit, although the green pepper lost a few in the cold of the last couple of days. Tomatoes are doing great. Golden Zucchini has male and female flowers and they just recently 'synced up' so hopefully fertilization will happen.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Reached 100 degrees yesterday!

The Oregon Scientific temperature sending unit says it reach 100 degrees for about 15 minutes yesterday. Veggies were fine as far as I could tell. Still pretty hot for the first week of May in the front range.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Warming up finally

Here is a view of the solar shed with the 60 watt panel on it. Supposed to be in the 70's this week, so we will see how hot it gets in the grow tent. I was successful at installing one of two additional 12vdc fans in the tent heat sink. This brings the number up to 3, that are running at about 10.2 volts straight off the solar panel.

Here is my boy enjoying the warm evening weather after scolding me with "iphone away, iphone away, daddy, iphone away."

Monday, May 2, 2011

Time to upgrade the solar heat sink

You can see a pretty clear "before" and "after" since I changed the fans from 12 vdc supplied by a transformer and 120vac to solar pv on May 1st. Their are two ways to hook up the solar pv, which in my case is a 60 watt panel. One supplies about 21.4 volts and the other about half of that. The 21.4 option is really for a 12 volt system with a charge controller that keeps it around 12 volts. So as to not burn out the existing fans, I ran them at half of the 21.4 option, nominally a 6 volt system. So they run slower. And they don't run at all at night.

Confused? Me too. But the outcome is clear: a low of 45 degrees at night and a high of about 92 during the day. Death Valley like temps, probably not optimal for veggies. Hope the buds didn't die.

So today I ordered a charge controller that will keep things at about 13 volts. Also, I will buy an automotive 12 vdc battery so the fan can run at night and keep things a bit warmer. Hopefully this will lower the highs and raise the lows. Tonight, however, I am going to add two more fans. As it is only the beginning of May with these highs in the lower 90's, I am going to need more ventilation so as to keep it from getting really hot.

Thermal grow tent

Here it is folks, an inside look at my thermal grow tent. Again hippies you can see no license required. That is a golden zucchini in the foreground and a tomato in the back. The plants are in pots that are sitting on a 6 ft by 2 ft by 2ft box filled with river rocks. In the background is a dryer duct that allows fans installed in the box to suck hot air during the day from the top of tent and the blow the air throw the river rocks back up into the tent.

No need to go to the gym on the day I shoveled all those rocks.

Inside the box there are two .25 amp 12vdc computer fans that as of yesterday are running on solar power. During the day, the rocks cool the air (and themselves warm up) that is forced through them. At night, the rocks help keep the plants warmer. Before the solar hook up, I had a an extension cord and a 12vdc transformer running the fans 24-7. Not sure if the plants get colder at night now since the plants are only being heated passively at night without the fans since no solar. May have to add a 12 vdc battery. Next post, some photos of the solar panel.