Build an Ecosystem: The Earth-Sheltered Solar Greenhouse

This article describes the construction and uses of a complete ecosystem an underground hydroponic greenhouse and aquaculture tank powered by the wind, heated by the sun and fed on compost.



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The completed greenhouse makes an attractive addition to the farm buildings on the Jim DeKorne mini-spread in New Mexico.
PHOTO: JAMES DEKORNE
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The basic set-up of the underground hydroponic greenhouse/fish tank. This homemade ecosystem was built at 7,000 feet out of cement blocks and logs. 
JAMES DEKORNE
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The Lama Foundation's Growhole, which has now fallen into disrepair, was the original inspiration for the author's ecosystem.
JAMES DEKORNE
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Temperature fluctuation both inside and outside the buried greenhouse during the month of January, 1974.
JAMES DEKORNE
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Before starting his ecosystem, Jim DeKorne visited this greenhouse made from the cellar hole of a burned out ranch home.
JAMES DEKORNE
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One of the four ventilator flaps, which are positioned along the uphill side of DeKorne's combination greenhouse/fish tank.
JAMES DEKORNE
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Interior of finished greenhouse, looking toward entrance. Note fish tank at left ... which was empty when photo was taken.
JAMES DEKORNE
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This photo shows the mortarless method of cement-block construction used by DeKorne in the fabrication of his ecosystem.
JAMES DEKORNE

















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