Bee SAFE Greenhouse Tour

Sat, May. 05, 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Lumby area

Doug's SolariumPortable coldframequick and light greenhouseidea for  portable coldframeTomatoes, peas, bok choi in Robin's greenhousegeothermal heats this greenhousePart of the Group at Egon and Margret's














On May 5th, Bee SAFE visited 3 different Greenhouses, that each gave us excellent ideas on how to extend our growing seasons. The first was at Doug Jones' place where we saw a number of ways to build moveable frames as well as a solarium where exotic plants can be grown year-round.

We then proceeded to Robin LeDrew and Michael Curd's place where we visited a Subterranean Heating and Cooling System for a solar greenhouse that enables them to eat bok choi in April and tomatoes in June. See details on this system below.

We ended our tour at Cooper's Ranch, with Egon and Margret Dietche who use a greenhouse as well as some outdoor protected raised beds to grow lettuce, tomatoes, spinach and other crops from early Spring onward. Some of their tomato plants stay in the greenhouse during the summer while others are moved outside.

Subterranean Heating and Cooling System for Solar Heated and Cooled Greenhouses (SHCS)

Michael Curd and Robin LeDrew have adapted their large homemade greenhouse in Lumby to have a Subterranean Heating and Cooling System for Solar Heated and
Cooled Greenhouses (SHCS). The new system allows them to harvest bok choy in early April and have very early tomatoes. They also have built an enclosed extension with a wood stove to keep the greenhouse warm in the cold temperatures of the North Okanagan later winter and spring.

“The Subterranean Heating and Cooling System for Solar Heated and Cooled Greenhouses is a system that uses air tubing underground in a greenhouse to take the excess solar gain and vapors generated during the day and move it into the sub-soils. The system allows you to cool during the day, and then allows you to use the previous day’s heat gains to keep the greenhouse much
warmer at night. The system works well enough for you to have growing environments all year where you wouldn't normally have them, all without the use of fuel or electricity for direct heating - just by absorbing and using the free, excess solar gain of the day.”--

Michael and Robin felt that their job would have been easier if they had installed the drainage tubing before building their greenhouse. It was a lot of work as they used two layers of tubing in 3 feet deep trenches that they dug by hand. This does not replicate the SHCS system but does help to modify the greenhouse temperatures considerably. The free plans can be found on a website at:

They are willing to consult with people who were interested in this system. Michael and Robin are currently doing research on winter crops that are adapted to a shorter length of daylight.