Making Whizbang Solar Pyramids
(A Most Excellent Garden Cloche)

Dateline: 2 May 2017

A single tomato plant, thriving inside a solar pyramid.

I've had a lot of gardening ideas. Some seem clever at first, and hold promise, but end up disappointing me. Then again, some actually work pretty well. Take, for example, Solar Pyramids. They are an idea I developed several years ago, and they work amazingly well.


I explain the story behind my Whizbang solar pyramid idea in my Planet Whizbang Idea Book For Gardeners. For people who don't have the book, and who don't want to spend the money to buy a copy, I sell the chapter about solar pyramids as an inexpensive PDF download.

I am more enthused than ever with my solar pyramid idea after realizing that the unique solar cloches integrate perfectly with my Minibeds-on-Plastic gardening idea. The one difficult aspect of the solar pyramids was that they had to be sealed around the bottom perimeter with soil, but it turns out that is not necessary with minibeds. The minibed frame anchors and seals the bottom of the pyramids just fine.

The solar pyramids that I made, as I'm about to show you (with sewn seams), are no worse for wear after five years of use. The ones that I made by trying to fuse the plastic together with a hot putty knife have not held together.

The translucent superstrong woven poly from Northern Greenhouse Sales is remarkable stuff. It's incredibly durable and long lasting. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if these solar cones lasted me for more than 20 years. The plastic is UV resistant and it is only outside for a couple months in the spring.

So, I decided to buy a 10'x 12' piece of the superstrong woven poly to make more pyramid covers. I paid $69.60 for the piece, plus $15 for shipping. Total cost: $84.60.

However, to my surprise, the good folks at Northern Greenhouse Sales actually sent me a 12'x 12' piece. And I'm glad they did. I was able to get exactly 8 solar pyramid covers out of the 12' x 12' sheet, and I would have gotten only 6 covers out of the 10' x 12' piece. The point being, if you want optimal yield, order a 12' x 12' sheet.



In the picture above you can see the roll of superstrong woven poly, tape, scissors, and my pattern. I tell how to make a pattern in my Idea Book For Gardeners

I made that particular pattern back in 2012. When I was done with it, I rolled it up and stuck it in the rafters of my shop. It was pretty dusty and dirty but was still useable, as you can see in this next picture...



The only place I had to lay this all out was on my kitchen table (my workshop is too crowded). I taped the pattern in place...



Then I traced around the perimeter of the pattern with a Sharpie marker...



I proceeded to do that seven more times on the sheet of plastic, then I cut the shapes out with a pair of scissors...


The woven poly does not unravel after you cut it. Not at all. It's fused into a solid piece of superstrong material. After the eight pieces were cut out, my wife sewed the seams...




Here are the eight covers all sewed up and ready to use...



Here's a cover on the frame in my kitchen...



Here's a picture of one of the solar pyramid cloches in a Minibed...



Here's a picture of some snow-covered solar pyramids in my Minibeds-on-Plastic garden...



But, while the weather outside was frightful, the environment inside those solar pyramids wasn't so bad at all...



I have all kinds of seeds planted under the solar pyramid cloches.

Stay tuned for more details...

P.S. 
I invite you to read about how I think Thomas Jefferson actually invented solar pyramid cloches back in 1812. CLICK HERE to read the story.



2 comments:

  1. Hi Herrick, I've been using my solar cloches to good effect but had a heck of a time trying to stick the bottom edges under the 2 x 4's! After looking at yours I think I can end that dilemma by just increasing the top hole by maybe a half an inch and see how that works!

    Cutting up 15 more two by's tomorrow for the newly buried , 12 x 24' tarp. Finally starting to get a little warmer outside the HT. Had to roll up the sides for a few hours two days ago!!

    Got exactly two (2) asparagus spears from those 24 plants bought at the big box store. Knew it was going to be a bummer, but you can always hope!!. Guess I'll see if Johnny;s has any left. CIAO!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello. I can imagine seeds are sleeping pleasantly, waiting for the arrival of their time to grow.

    ReplyDelete