Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ryan's Winter Projects: Part 1, The Shed...

Well I know I have not been very busy on here, but I am going to try and post a few of things I have been doing around the farm this winter.  One of my first projects was to build an insulated shed so that we could store potatoes and squash for our winter CSA. While it took me a while I was eventually able to finish before things got too cold.
For insulation I managed to source 4" thick foam for a really great deal that I cut to fit in between the studs (I need some more pictures).  The floor and ceiling also have an added layer of 2" foam which finished it off nicely and made for a really nice, warm and well insulated shed.

You can see off the back of the shed 2 pipes I use for ventilation.  While 1 may have been sufficient I wanted to be able to ventilate either half of the shed independently in case I made a separation wall as potatoes and squash require different temperatures.  Alas, as is often the case I ran out of time and they were both kept at the same temperature, but seem to have done alright.  Next year we will likely have 2 of these sheds and then we can get different temperature and humidity zones for each.
Hopefully I will get more photos of the shed, and for those who are interested stay tuned for more of my winter projects...


Uncle Chas said...

I've never found a shed so fascinating before.

Other than the insulation, how is the temperature and humidity controlled?

Ryan said...

Temperature is controlled by a small 1500 watt ceramic heater. It has a basic thermostat with no numbers so we used a thermometer in the shed to tell us when the heater was generally at the right temperature. In the future we will use a 500 watt baseboard heater with a real thermostat but that is a project for later.
Humidity is controlled willy-nilly, but in the future a humidifier or dehumidifier will be used depending on the average humidity naturally present and the specific requirements of the produce being stored.

Uncle Chas said...

Thanks for the update!

How different are the storage requirements for different crops?

How long will they keep?

What happens if there's a power outage?

(Inquiring minds ...).

Ryan said...

Storage requirements can vary quite a bit. For instance squash enjoys 10-12C while potatoes like it a bit closer to 2C. We only had one shed this winter so we cheated and went 8C, but it seemed to work.
Potatoes and squash can keep a really long time under ideal conditions. We ran out of squash about 3 weeks ago as the last of them finally gave up, but they could last into April given appropriate care. Potatoes are still going strong, likely due to the complete dark they are in, and still look great despite the higher than preferred temperature.
Power outage....we have a monkey on a bicycle with a peanut butter covered apple in front for that...although in reality the shed is quite well insulated and would last at least a day or two with sufficient temperatures for the crops. Beyond that it becomes a problem and we have to consider using a generator if the outside temperatures are very cold or risk damage to the stored veggies.