A small greenhouse at home might serve several purposes and become a place of ease and well-being
With my arrival in Germany, I had to undergo a 10-day period of quarantine in which I was fed up with books and articles about permaculture and forest gardening. A daily online meeting with the mentor was necessary for discussing our findings and understand better the project purpose and our role in it. Our hosts are committed to building a forest garden, a process that will take a few years to see its best results. The aim is to establish a rich forest ecosystem mimicking natural woodland, capable of providing multi-purpose plants and restore the soil.
This year's goal is to build a greenhouse in the middle of our forest employing salvaged materials, in our case, old windows. The greenhouse will create a warmer microclimate compared to the external continental climate, enabling extending the growing season and host tropical plants. But a greenhouse can serve several purposes, and that's the beauty of it. When built adjacent to a house or building, sharing one or two walls, the heat trapped by the greenhouse will warm the adjoining home and vice versa. Following the same principle, but with a few extra steps, one might install a sauna, serving also s a back-up heating system during harsher months.
Greenhouses are home to insects and animals interacting and supporting the ecosystem. It can become a place of recreation and amenity, with the proper space management, a small part of the greenhouse can become a hideaway, a comfortable and warm place to spend time in, reading, or thinking.
The greenhouse will constitute the warm heart of our forest garden. It will provide tropical-climate fruit and vegetables, function as a nursery and propagation area for new plants, and actively interact with the rest of the garden mainly by increasing biodiversity. When fully operative, there will be no purchase of bananas and avocados from the other side of the world.
Jerome Osentowski (2015), The Forest Garden Greenhouse