What is a permaculture greenhouse? Well, for the most part it serves all the same functions as a regular greenhouse. Except a permaculture greenhouse uses the principles of permaculture. It creates a surplus of resources while generating no waste. And it uses as few external inputs as possible. If you want to learn more about permaculture in general, start here.
While no two permaculture greenhouses are the same, there are a few concepts and techniques that many of them have in common. Let's take a quick look at what those are, and discuss a few exceptional examples of permaculture greenhouses.
These are only a few of the common techniques used in permaculture greenhouses. If you want to learn more about any of these, follow the links below or see our section about the common concepts of permaculture.
"I can't change the world on my own, it'll take at least 3 of us." - Bill Mollison
At Jerome Osentowski's Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute, he grows many tropical fruits all year long at 7,200 feet of elevation deep in the heart of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Crops include bananas, figs, and full assortment of vegetables. A subterranean air-circulation system stores hot air all day and circulates it at night to keep the greenhouse warm. Jerome shares his knowledge in his book titled The Forest Garden Greenhouse.
Canadian permaculturist Francis Gendron has designed a greenhouse that can maintain temperatures above 60 F with no external inputs - no electricity and no gas of any kind. And that's in far northern climates with nighttime temperatures dropping to 10 F. The entire design is available in a package called The Greenhouse of the Future that includes a DVD documentary, an eBook, and technical plan drawings.
As you see, a permaculture greenhouse is used in the same way any other greenhouse is used - for growing plants in a controlled environment and keeping plants warm in cold conditions.
When you ask the question, "What is a permaculture greenhouse?" you are really asking what makes a permaculture greenhouse different from a traditional greenhouse. The answer is that the design of a permaculture greenhouse allows it to perform all the functions of a greenhouse without any external inputs like electricity, gas heating, and an outside water supply.
If you want to learn more, check out our list of resources. You'll find plenty of information there about permaculture greenhouses and all of the other common concepts that come into play in the world of permaculture.