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Carpio, N.D. 58725
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Marv's Blog
A valuable lesson in recycling
Written by Marv Baker   
Sunday, 04 March 2012

It isn't too often that I can say "I'm proud of myself," but yesterday (Saturday) was a good example of that. I went home at the end of the day feeling satisfied.

I was able to use items lying around the farm to build a 4 x 16-foot germination chamber inside the greenhouse and it didn't cost me a dime, at least not a dime in new spending.

First, I used two leftover, 4x8 polybicarbonate panels from the building of the greenhouse for the roof of the chamber. Then, using smaller polybicarbonate panels, I built the sides. Those panels came from the backyard greenhouse that was destroyed by wind three years ago. I knew I kept those panels for a reason.

In addition, a "radiator" type heater that we used in the backyard greenhouse was brought out of mothballs and put back into service after three years.

Next, I used leftover tech screws from the building of the greenhouse to secure the panels to each other. Granted, it isn't very sturdy, but it's inside the greenhouse so there isn't any wind to contend with or animals that will tip it over.

The panels wouldn't have held together all by themselves so quarter-size wood pallets were used to make the ends and to make braces every four feet under the roof. The pallets, which are new and hardwood, were discarded from a grocery store in Minot, presumably holding products shipped to the store.

Finally, black plastic covers for standard-sized pallets were used as the shelving for the germination chamber that were obtained from the recycling warehouse where I work after I learned they were being discarded. Holes in the bottom allow the heat from the radiator to rise right up to the seeds.

What's insteresting about this weekend project is that it looks professional, it holds heat very well, has little doors I can open and every plant and seed under that roof is getting ample sunlight.

Using the electric heat radiator is the first outside heat that's now being used since early December when I burned a kerosene heater for several hours. The onions germinated under a clandestine version of this germination chamber that was slapped together in mid February with seams sealed up with burlap bags. It looked cheap and I was embarrassed to show my friends.

Now, it looks good and I feel good about seeing it. I also feel good about showing it to others who might be interested, especially those at the Entrepreneurial Center For Horticulture, the source of the funding to build the greenhouse. 

Speaking of ECH, more than 400 tomatoes on behalf of the ECH were planted on Sunday and should germinate quickly in the 60-70 Fahrenheit chamber. The chamber sits on 55-gallon barrels that were given to us from the Minot Daily News and are filled with water to enhance the passive solar experience.

Next, it's our tomatoes, then peppers, then okra and eggplant..... We better get busy or spring will be here before we know it.



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