We have been growing a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse garden since 2011, it’s time for an update on what we like most on this greenhouse.
Our first GeoDome was an 18-foot all wood structure with windows and a door. It had a water tank and passive heating and cooling using a car radiator.
We built our second 15-foot geodesic dome in 2017 with piped hubs/connectors. You can read all about the builds and more under the Geodome Greenhouse category.
The Geodetic Dome shape
When we first started looking for a greenhouse to build in our yard, these things caught our attention about the Geodesic dome:
- Very unique, lightweight structure
- Stable in wind and under snow
- Optimal light absorption
- Has the most growing ground space
- A unique hang-out place
- An eye catcher
After almost a decade of having one of these domes, we would second every one of these statements. We have had heavy snow loads on the dome and it did hold just fine. It also has proved to be stable in storms.
The light absorption is what we probably love the most. As soon as there is a sunbeam in the morning it fills the dome and heats it up. In a cold climate, this is important. It really is a special place to grow food.
Windows or no windows
Our first dome had windows that could automatically open and close. It was convenient and we thought a necessity. However, in our second dome, we went with no window ventilation to capture all the heat inside the dome and store it in the water tank.
So far we are doing well with it. The dome is significantly warmer, and we were able to push our growing season last fall till October 24. We get our first fall frost at the beginning of September.
There is a moisture build up though. In our dry climate, it has not been too much of an issue, and even this summer where it seems to rain quite frequently, plants are still doing well. We are watching it closely though. After all, it is not conventional to have a greenhouse without ventilation, just a door.
Passive Heating and cooling the greenhouse
Having a greenhouse without windows would not be possible without our car radiator heating and cooling system. The pump and fan are running day and night.
During the day the system cools the space and heats it up at night. Since it depends on solar heat, the temperature varies. During a stretch of cold days and nights, the average daily water temperature does go down. Still, it allows us to prolong the growing season in the spring and in the fall. Also, in cool summer night below 10C degrees, the dome holds around 15C, much better for heat-loving plants.
During hot and sunny days, the system prevents the greenhouse from overheating. The constant air movement also adds to the benefits.
Even though we would consider this system as active, it does not need electricity to heat the water. Its purpose is to equalize the temperature in the hot days and cool summer nights which are very common in our area. Since power is needed only for the water pump and the fan, the bill is fairly low and worth it for us.
The greenhouse garden
Last, but not least the most important part is the growth in the greenhouse. As you know we use our greenhouse as a garden, not just to start plants or so. Read more about growing a greenhouse garden here.
Here a short video update, enjoy!
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I love the progress your domes have made! I wonder if you could convert the dome to solar energy for the electricity. You could pick up a solar panel to mount just outside the dome and a boat battery to act as a buffer.
Thank you! I’m sure we could convert the dome to solar if we wanted too. At this stage though, we are okay with not being off grid.
I live in Tennessee, hardly the north, but I am going to keep up with your information because a lot of it seems to be able to be useful anywhere.
Happy to hear that, thank you.
Tony Irving says
Hi Love your dome, hoping to build one in Iowa that is one half glazing and the other half a solid insulating material, painted white on that half to reflect sunlight for growing.Sort of a snow globe half covered and the other clear.Do you think this is remotely feasible?
It depends on where you are on our beautiful planet earth and also what is the goal. If you are more south and/or if you want to use the dome for winter growing, this is a great option. The north side will be more isolated, keeping more heat inside. If you are up north, and the greenhouse is used for summer growing, it will block out a lot of sunshine. You would not be able to take advantage of the very long northern summer sun hours. Hope this makes sense.