Saturday, March 22, 2008


Well, so far spring has been freezing winds. We'll get there.

We've missed a few posts because we've been quite busy (and I forgot to put reminders in my workbook. I don't have any reminders for reminders!). Katherine and Mike went to the Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network(ACORN) conference, for a weekend two weeks ago. They went to workshops, talked and met with other farmers, and even brought back a big box of apples from the silent auction.

Since then, Mike and I built a garden cart. Now, we didn't really know how to build a garden cart, but there was quite a bit of information on the internet, including a guy with his own blog and manual on how to build a good garden cart almost entirely from common building supplies. He calls it the Whizbang Garden cart. We ordered his manual and built ourselves a whizbang. I'm glad we did, because it's really a great cart. I doubt it would have been as durable or balanced had we built it on our own. We'll post some pictures at a later date. If you're interested in building your own, or just learning more about garden carts, here's his link:

Most importantly, we bought a wood pellet stove for Glassy. That's the greenhouse we built last spring so we could have something sturdy and well insulated to hold our transplants. So far, the stove has done well. Why wood pellet? Good question. We looked into wood, wood pellet, oil, propane, and natural gas. We basically asked four question: What will the economic cost be? How reliable will it be for our needs(how well will it perform)? What will it take to operate? What is the environmental cost?

I'll just summarize for those that are interested. If that's not you, skip to the last line of the post. For more discussion, feel free to email us.

The greatest economic cost over time will be fuel. From the information we could gather, combining fuel cost and the capital cost, after 10 years the costs would be, ranked from most expensive to least: Oil, propane/natural gas, wood pellet, wood.
The next two questions are actually quite similar. A heater's ability to keep the temperature of the greenhouse steady is pretty much directly proportional to the amount of human operation it requires. Propane/natural gas has a thermostat, which means that it is easier to operate and will keep the temperature steady. Wood pellet and oil can be set to a steady rate, so therefore require some attention in order to keep the temperature in the greenhouse steady. Wood stove is obviously the most hassle and the most likely to fluctuate in temperature.
The last question is environmental cost. We deemed the wood pellet to be best here. It's carbon neutral(after production and transport of course.....and the igniter which is electric), it burns cleaner than an ordinary wood stove, and it is a local and renewable resource.
So, to summarize the summary, we chose wood pellet because it seemed to be a good balance of the four concerns. It would have been nice to have a heater that was the least expensive, best performance, least hassle, and least environmental cost. Apparently said heater does not exist. Anyway, right or wrong, the decision has been made(phew!); our heater is cooking away in the greenhouse, keeping thousands of transplants warm:)

Hope you're also keeping warm and well!



At 3/28/2008 08:51:00 p.m., Blogger Brad said...

Thanks for the update!


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