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Thread: Cheap Bottom heat for semi-hardwood and hardwood cuttings

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Center Point, TX

    Cheap Bottom heat for semi-hardwood and hardwood cuttings

    Have come across an idea for cheap bottom heat for semi-hardwood and hardwood cuttings. An aquaintance uses 55 gallon drums of water in his greenhouse to supplement the heating he has to do in the Denver area. His 55 gallon frums (painted black) warm into the 80's in the day and cool into the 60's at night. Seems to me that cutting flats placed on top of the barrels would be kept warm on the bottom to just about the perfect temps needed to stimulate rooting, without any need for electricity or fans or whatever.

    I'm going to try it - its a good place to put the cuttings if nothing else.
    Gary J
    Center Point, TX
    Hill Country Texas Master Gardener
    USDA Zone 7B
    AHS Heat Zone 8

  2. #2

    Drums source

    Say, Gary, do you know a good source for clean 55 gallon drums, I don't want to get something chemicals have been stored in. I've been working on an idea for a water storage system for the summer heat that I could put together with fittings to flow into each other from our winter floods and, possibly using some kind of small pump to uplift the water and having it flow from tank to tank, and then using gravity to pull it down in the watering system when needed as opposed to using City Water during the August dog days as opposed to City Water at $Big Bucks per unit. There is no reason I could not install these in my hoop houses, painted black as you suggest to get the solar heat gain, use them for bottom heat and then turn them loose in August! What a great idea for a multi-use item. My largest metro area is Lufkin or Beaumont.

    The alternative is tiling my entire garden and wasting the water, and I am pretty interested in sustainable agriculture, filtered gray water systems and such. I understand the TNRCC has some pretty stringent guidelines for gray water filter fields.
    Marguerite, GrannyGarden

  3. #3

    The Solar Energy Research Institute

    In the early 80s I worked at SERI, the Solar Energy Research Institute in the Coors Office Park on Cole Blvd. in West Denver, practically in Golden. This agency has now become the National Renewable Energy Laboratories and they have developed solar energy to a fine art, beings it is our government most of their data is free, there are number of sites on the internet where you can download various reports. If you are looking for more thermal mass for the drums, you can put a row of concrete blocks under them and paint them black, this absorbs more heat for noctural release. I don't know how technical you want to go with this, but there are some good ideas to get your thinking cap working.

    The NREL is working closely with Pacific Gas and Electricity in California on the turbine wind machines in one of the valleys there that generates enough electricity to supply most of the needs of a large place like Los Angeles. Those of you who have vacationed in California have seen them, tall space age looking windmills cranking away into the night. So wind energy is also fascinating to me. Back in the pioneer days here in Texas, there were many working windmills, usually a little tower frame of angle iron with blades on the top, that pumped water up from the wells for the cattle and other irrigation.

    If anyone is of an engineering bent of mind and wants to read further on this subject, one of their websites is

    Marguerite, GrannyGarden

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