Heating Your Greenhouse in Europe This Winter

Started by Bern, September 03, 2022, 09:59:17 AM

Previous topic - Next topic


Quote from: Bern on January 10, 2023, 01:57:03 PMCalifornia is getting plastered by a major storm off the Pacific Ocean.  This is the second back-to-back "Atmospheric River" event to hit them. There is torrential rain, widespread flooding, major wind damage, coastal flooding, and lots of snow in the mountains.  I spoke with a woman at a Northern California nursery supply today and she said that the roads going into Oregon were closed due to flooding.  There will be a lot of negative impacts on agriculture and, of course, greenhouse
Episodes of torrential rain, with hail, upwards of 12 inches (30cm) of rain in the last couple weeks, one storm dropped about 7"/18cm in 24 hours. Last night/today was only 3 inches/8cm.

Generally the outdoor plants are fine, and the greenhouse is fine (kit with sheet polycarbonate). Garden projects are on hold, as the gound is slopping wet.


Some areas in Sacramento really took a beating. The rain saturated the soil and then strong winds knocked down huge trees on houses.




Here's an idea that showed up on my You tube feed.  Doesn't seem like it make enough heat for me in northern USA.

Arnold T.
North East USA

David Pilling

Arnold - depends on the size of your greenhouse, how cold it is, and how big a tub of fat you have.

Reminds me that instead of putting food into rabbits etc you could just burn the food and release its maximum calorific value.

That chap burns vegetable shortening, in England that might be rendered as "margarine". Up North lard maybe.

Martin Bohnet

Quote from: David Pilling on January 13, 2023, 10:08:11 AMThat chap burns vegetable shortening, in England that might be rendered as "margarine". Up North lard maybe.
Margarine contains ~20% water, don't think that one would work as nicely. Given all the uses that particular fat in the video is advertised for, one wonders if anyone uses it for baking at all...
Martin (pronouns: he/his/him)

David Pilling

Quote from: Martin Bohnet on January 14, 2023, 07:08:03 AMMargarine contains ~20% water,

Thanks Martin, good point. Looking at Crisco:

Soybean Oil, Fully Hydrogenated Palm Oil, Palm Oil, Mono And Diglycerides, TBHQ And Citric Acid (Antioxidants).

Probably going to be banned soon for the palm oil.

"Warning: Shortening will catch fire if overheated. Damage or serious burns may result. Do heat shortening carefully. Do reduce heat if smoking occurs. Do not leave unattended while heating. Do not refill can with hot shortening. If shortening catches fire: Do turn off heat. Do cover pot until cooled to room temperature to avoid reignition. Do not carry pot until cool. Do not put water on hot or flaming shortening."

Like baking with gasoline.

In the UK 'Trex' would be an equivalent and it is not particularly common.


I think that these oils will hopefully disappear as the tragedy of oil palm cultivation become more well known.

Arnold T.
North East USA

Martin Bohnet

Quote from: Arnold on January 14, 2023, 12:08:41 PMI think that these oils will hopefully disappear as the tragedy of oil palm cultivation become more well known.

As long as follow-up costs are not part of the pricing? forget it. Changing the world on customer guilt alone is a tricky thing - see all those conventionally produced eggs hidden away in secondary products when people started to mind the horrors of laying battery life.
Martin (pronouns: he/his/him)

David Pilling

Quote from: Martin Bohnet on January 14, 2023, 08:42:59 PMAs long as follow-up costs are not part of the pricing?

"Malaysia said on Thursday it could stop exporting palm oil to the European Union in response to a new EU law aimed at protecting forests by strictly regulating sale of the product."

however this is about use in fuel oil:

"EU demand for palm oil was expected to decline significantly over the next 10 years even before the new law was agreed to. In 2018, an EU renewable-energy directive required the phasing out of palm-based transportation fuels by 2030"

My experience is that supermarkets boast of removing palm oil from products these days. One of the more ethical ones has a web page on its palm oil coming from sustainable sources. So  use is not about to vanish.


As to eggs, may say "free range" on the box, but at the moment there are strict rules to keep chickens indoors to avoid bird flu.


I don't buy palm oil-containing products, and I support the Rainforest Trust's projects, but it's necessary for people in south and southeast Asia to have cooking oil, so growing it should not be banned. Before someone says people eat too many fats, consider that some fat is necessary for general health, especially in young children; and cooking quickly in oil uses much less fuel than some other methods -- hence the wok.


Dr. Phil Zimbardo is a psychologist at Stanford University and he has been vocal about boys failing socially and disappearing into a virtual void on their computers.  He's addressed these issues in his TED Talks and in a recent book. Here's a quote from his book on an estimate about the time people are spending playing video games online. 

"In addition, Jane McGonigal, director of game research and development at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, California, estimates that people spend a collective 3 billion hours playing video games each week!  She predicts that the average young person will spend 10,000 hours gaming by the time they reach age twenty-one.  To put this figure in context, it takes the average university student half that time – 4800 hours – to earn a bachelor's degree." Phil Zimbardo and Nikita Coulomb; Man Interrupted; 2016; pages 19 – 20; paragraph 1.

These estimates are astonishing and if true, alarming.

Surfing plant and gardening websites is a much healthier pastime.

David Pilling

Quote from: Bern on January 22, 2023, 09:59:44 AMthe average young person will spend 10,000 hours gaming by the time they reach age twenty-one

Don't they say that it takes 10K hours to become good at anything.

In my day games were Pac-Man and Space Invaders. People did not like me staring at a screen and ignoring them. I could make pocket money writing games. I lost interest about the time it became apparent I could not compete in the games market. I applied for a job with a company who wrote games, I was shown a darkened room full of young men staring at screens and wearing headphones. Like battery chickens but programmers. How I wished I could join them, but I was not close to getting a job there.

Today games are totally different, a market as big as movies, and development budgets of the same order. They have a wide market, not just young lads. People go to Uni to learn how to write games, or more likely bits of games.

I feel gardening is a healthy pastime - physical effort is involved. They say it is good for mental health and it sort of feels that way. A bit surprising because there can be a lot of frustration.

I'm not so sure it is always a social thing - maybe if you belong to a gardening club or garden on allotments. People always flee when I approach bearing excess produce.

Another horrifying statistic would be how much energy is consumed by gaming computers. Top line hardware in computers is for gamers. Machines I would not care to buy because of the cost.

To give you a start

"Gaming PCs use an average of 1,400 kWh per year, equal to having three refrigerators running all the time or the amount of energy that six standard computers would use."

But then again, you could analyse any field of activity and label it harmful and bad for the planet.


I've even encountered claims that gardening is bad for the planet because it introduces plants that aren't "native." A short-term view that ignores glaciations, global warm periods, and continental drift, not to mention the activities of insects and birds. Just read that 1/3 of carbon emissions at present result from agriculture, though a lot of that is from livestock. I'm not giving up my exotic plants, or my dual-fuel kitchen range (there's a movement to ban those, but I can't imagine cooking on a burner without a visible indication of its heat), but may buy an EV soon. Guilty every time the gas furnace fires up. My friends know what else I'm guilty over. At least we're on hydroelectric here. Shocking statistics about gaming computers, David, and we read that crypto mining is worse.

David Pilling

Many sins of gardening, using peat, all those chemicals. When they want to cheer us up, the BBC show clips from old editions of "Gardeners' World", where avuncular Percy Thrower discusses chemical warfare.

The typical garden shed is full of ancient tins and bottles of chemicals now illegal. Just waiting for  men in hazmat suits and a crew from Channel 9 to show up and expose the horror.

To a good approximation, peat is gone and so are chemicals, with the demise of the neonicotinoids like Provado.

<virtue signalling>I got through 2022 with no peat and no chemicals, best ever crop of tomatoes and they sure tasted better. Thank you young people for showing me how evil I was.</>

Martin Bohnet

Oh how I love that "all chemicals are evil" idea. Good luck gardening without DihydrogenOxide.

That said: Simulations get warmer again, seems Europe is moving towards the next westwind phase. The winter starts running out of time, days here get longer by 3 minutes per day now.
Martin (pronouns: he/his/him)