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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Growing Dome-Let's Peek Inside!

It's amazing: two days ago it was snowing like all get out and today most of that snow is gone, the sky is blue, and the weather is a warm 64 degrees. In Southern California, that would be sweater weather, but I was in my short sleeved shirt, thinking, "This is warm!"
It's all relative.

So, how about a quick visit to the dome? That's the greenhouse that sprouted just outside our yard a couple weeks ago...the one that looks like a spaceship has landed.

Just think: two days ago it looked like this. Today, though, this was our view from the long porch.

Just a quick step through the gate.

The dome has two solar panels at the top above the door. One is to power a pump and waterfall that isn't installed yet and the other one runs the fan attached to some air ducts. I'll explain that in a bit.

Inside are two raised beds that circle the perimeter of the dome. This was the part that was not fun. I had neglected to tell Tom that he would be making the raised beds inside. Whoops! All we had were some photos of other owners' interiors, but no plans or directions. This caused some consternation (I am being gentle here, kind of euphemistic).

So we got to work. When we build stuff together, Tom is the surgeon and I am the nurse. (No, I don't get to wear a sexy nurse outfit. Get your minds out of the gutter!!) He wears a carpenter's apron but forgets to put his tools in the pockets, so I am the one who finds his measuring tape, hammer, pencil, square name it and Tom has mislaid it. I am the nurse who hands him the tools. So for a week we have been putting together these garden beds. They are two feet high. Under the beds is hardware cloth to keep out the gophers with weed barrier cloth on top of that.

The bed is lined with metal sheeting on the insulated outside wall and the inner wall of the bed is lined with plastic. I think Tom did a good job building these beds without plans.

These undersoil air ducts are connected to the solar powered fan. The fan pulls air through these ducts to keep the soil warm in winter and cool in summer. It also keeps the dome cooler in the summer. Tomorrow we will bury these guys under the soil.

This is the ceiling air vent. It automatically opens and closes depending on the interior temperature. There are two more on the sides. The reflective sheeting increases the available light in the dome.

When the beds are planted and nicely growing, we will come back to visit again. I couldn't wait to use the dome, though, so last week I planted some Earthboxes with tomatoes and basil and put them in the dome. They like their new home. It was 21 degrees last night, but they didn't even care!


  1. Wow!!! You're going to be able to grow a lot of stuff in there. I would have been ill humored after being a nurse like that but you made it sound so funny. I'm sure every woman who has been around a man who builds things can relate. I'm still laughing.

  2. I don't want to wait to retire to do this...I want it now! So cool. Great craftsmanship (yeah Tom!). Hope to visit sometime to see it for myself. It will probably be a veritable dome by then!

  3. this is a very complicated project and i am impressed with my too, bridge...behind every man...well, you know. anyway, the dome is quite a project and i can't wait till it's all filled in and producing. keep on keeping on! your theer


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