Research Project No. 7 — Hot Box Compost: Modular Composting System that Heats, Waters, and Fertilizes Grow Bed for Off-Season Production

This project tests the performance of a modular, scalable compost box that uses a composting chamber to support an attached growing bed with nitrogen, moisture, carbon dioxide, and heat to grow greens in the shoulder and off seasons; includes a series of controlled tests to determine best practices. … More Research Project No. 7 — Hot Box Compost: Modular Composting System that Heats, Waters, and Fertilizes Grow Bed for Off-Season Production

Walipini Update

It has been a while since I’ve written about the walipini, but it has been getting steady work over the last year. A walipini is an in-ground greenhouse. It uses the thermal mass of the earth to help keep its internal temperature from fluctuating too quickly in the winter. It is essentially a pit with … More Walipini Update

The Institute is Getting Solar Panels — Part IV: Installation

Avid readers will notice that we haven’t been posting much over the last month. That’s because every free moment has been given over to installing our solar panels (see the earlier posts here). Here I’ll recap the physical installation of the panels and other components. In the next post, we’ll go through how we ended … More The Institute is Getting Solar Panels — Part IV: Installation

The Institute is Getting Solar Panels — Part III: System Layout

We’ve been chronicling our addition of solar panels (see them all here). Today we’re going to go through the layout and electrical diagrams of the system. The Layout The panels will be mounted on the back of our garage. This is for a few reasons. First, our house’s roof slopes west–east while the garage is … More The Institute is Getting Solar Panels — Part III: System Layout

Upcoming Workshop — Installing Solar Panels, Oct. 5, 1–3 p.m., Free (Space is Limited)

We are installing solar panels on the institute and we’re doing it ourselves (see our blog posts on this topic here). If you’ve considered doing it yourself but want to get a little hands-on experience and an idea of the scope of the job before going forward, this workshop is for you. The federal tax … More Upcoming Workshop — Installing Solar Panels, Oct. 5, 1–3 p.m., Free (Space is Limited)

The Institute is Getting Solar Panels — Part II: Components

We’ve been chronicling our addition of solar panels in Part I and another post evaluating our solar resources. In this entry, we’ll go through the different components of the system and how we chose them. We have received no compensation from any of the companies mentioned. The Panels Many types of panels are out there … More The Institute is Getting Solar Panels — Part II: Components

The Institute is Getting Solar Panels – Part I: System Design

We’re excited to announce that we’ll be installing solar panels at the institute this fall. While this has been in the long-term plans for some time, we have been prioritizing things that are more do-it-yourself, such as building solar hot water panels and gardening. In the LTI tradition, though, we’ll be doing as much of … More The Institute is Getting Solar Panels – Part I: System Design

Rainwater Catchment Systems — From Contributor Eric McGlynn

In southwestern Wisconsin, this spring was wet and cool, while midsummer was hot and dry. What this meant to the backyard gardener or microfarmer was a slow start to the growing season. Once fruits and vegetables started to grow, recent dry weather quickly wilted plants. When rain did come, storms dropped a large amount of … More Rainwater Catchment Systems — From Contributor Eric McGlynn