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Radiator Keeps Greenhouse Warm
Marge Love keeps her greenhouse warm in subzero weather with a truck radiator. The radiator is plumbed into water lines that run to her wood-fired boiler. A household fan blows air through the radiator to heat the greenhouse, letting her grow vegetables, greens and rhubarb year round.
  “The waterlines are buried 2 ft. deep and well-insulated,” explains Love. “They run 335 ft. from the boiler near my house to the greenhouse. The water is hot enough that I can set the fan at its lowest setting. Even when it’s zero outside, it’s 74°F in the greenhouse."
  Love says she didn't have to make any modifications to the radiator. She simply pulled it out of a large motor home and hooked up the water lines. An electric pump in the greenhouse pushes the water back to the boiler. When warm weather comes and she wants to use the motor home, she'll drop the radiator back in place.
  "I put air release valves on the pipes to prevent air locks in the radiator," says Love. "I used regular fittings and clamps from a hardware store."
  One key to the simple system is the double walled plastic greenhouse itself. It's 16 ft. tall and 32 ft. long. The first 4 ft. of walls are 2-ft. diameter cedar trees. She uses a barn fan at the rear of the greenhouse when she needs to vent it.
  "I built the trusses out of wood, stood them up and fastened them to the walls. Then I covered them with plastic inside and out," says Love. "They've handled 3 ft. of snow without a problem."
  The beds in the greenhouse are 4 by 6-ft. wood bins filled with a mix of horse manure, soil, sand and compost. Old wash tubs, large pots and more bins 2 ft. wide by 3 ft. high line the inside of the walls, while ultraviolet lights hang overhead.
  "I start trees in one sidewall bed and grow all kinds of fruit and vegetables in the other beds," says Love. "I've even grown sweet corn in a bed. It got so tall that it bent over against the roof."
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Marge Love, Box 41, Barriere, B.C. Canada V0E 1E0 (ph 250 672-9859; margelove@msn.com).

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2013 - Volume #37, Issue #2