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The Chinese Greenhouse
Design and Build a Low-Cost, Passive Solar Greenhouse
Originally developed in China to feed millions, Chinese greenhouses are earth-sheltered, solar-heated, east-west oriented, intelligently glazed, and well-insulated. They have proven highly effective in growing warm-weather vegetables and fruits like green peppers and tomatoes in cold climates through fall, winter, and early spring using passive solar energy as the sole heat source.
The Chinese Greenhouse is a full-color comprehensive guide to these passive solar greenhouses for self-sufficiency and growing year-round in soil or aquaponic grow beds with no additional heat. Coverage includes:
- How to design, build, and operate a Chinese greenhouse
- How to improve performance via short-term and long-term heat banking
- How to provide additional heat to make your greenhouse operate even more effectively
- How to cool the greenhouse during the summer.
Become a more self-sufficient gardener, growing and harvesting a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables year-round, with your own Chinese greenhouse.
Dan Chiras, Ph.D, is the author of numerous books on renewable energy, including The Solar House and The Homeowners Guide to Renewable Energy. He has been growing in greenhouses for nearly two decades and in his own passive solar Chinese greenhouse since 2017. Dan lives in Gerald, MO.
" We live in times where the agriculture that feeds us must transition towards real sustainability and we should all have doubts that our blind, society-wide belief in technological progress will bring us there. Low-tech Chinese greenhouses and the tested, trialed, and true solutions they offer is more proof that interesting possibilities arise when you combine old technology with new knowledge and new materials. Or when you apply old concepts and traditional knowledge to modern technology. The book is wonderfully researched and I thank Dan Chiras for having gifted us such brilliant work."
Jean-Martin Fortier, farmer, author, Market Gardener, editor, Growers Magazine
"We are no better prepared for the climate chaos catastrophes of the 2030s than we were for the coronavirus of the 2020s. How we have grown food since the last ice age no longer applies. Thankfully, Dan Chiras has written a prescription for survival in this gorgeously illustrated and accessible guide to the future of farming."
Albert Bates, author, The Biochar Solution: Carbon Farming and Climate Change
"I was an early adopter of hoophouses, extending the seasons without fossil fuels. Chinese Greenhouses can be the next step, producing warm-weather crops in cold weather without heating bills! Dan presents the options and gives recommendations on design, construction, and vegetable production based on his deep experience. Essential reading for pioneers of Chinese greenhouses. Fantastic guidance to embark on this rewarding journey!"
Pam Dawling, author, The Year-Round Hoophouse and Sustainable Market Farming
"Dan Chiras has done it again! The Chinese Greenhouse answers the question: "how do I continue gardening all winter long?" This fantastic guide teaches you how to design, construct, and operate a greenhouse using only solar energy. No expensive supplemental heating equipment needed. Every enthusiastic vegetable farmer dreams of this winter-growing miracle, and Dan shows how to do it. Want to learn how to have a climate controlled growing space to garden every vegetable your heart desires? This is the book for you."
Shawna Coronado, author, speaker
"In The Chinese Greenhouse, Dan Chiras dives deep into this means for growing food year-round without fossil fuel heat. From the history and concept learned from the original inventor, through improvements over time, to the current state of the art, Dan illustrates in detail all the steps and products required to build your own fourseason greenhouse. Beyond simply describing the process, Dan shares his personal experience of building one for himself, and he offers the reader many alternative approaches, tailored to various circumstances, which fully address the advantages of each. Richly illustrated and detailed in plain, but thorough language, Dan takes you through the process with his typical rigor and humor. If you want to grow your own food year-round, without burning fossil fuels, this is the book for you."
James Plagmann, Architect + LEED AP, HumaNature Architecture, LLC
"COVID has shown the world that our food systems are fragile. This book gives you invaluable information on how to construct a greenhouse that will allow you to grow food in a northern climate with little to no additional energy. If you are looking to increase your antifragility by building a truly passive solar greenhouse you will get a ton of value from this book."
Rob Avis, P.Eng, co-author, Essential Rainwater Harvesting
"Dan has described the Chinese greenhouse in such a practical way that interested farmers can easily follow and build one themselves. Dan also expanded the Chinese greenhouse by adding more elements that are feasible in North America, which will make the Chinese greenhouse even more efficient. I am very impressed and believe other readers will be as well"
Dr. Sanjun Gu, professor, extension horticulture specialist, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
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