Learning About Geodesic Greenhouses for High Altitudes

Learning About Geodesic Greenhouses for High Altitudes

inside of a large greenhouse

Alien-like structures are popping up in both Utah and Colorado. Geodesic domes that Elon Musk plans to use in his Mars colony plan are growing in popularity as greenhouses, especially in high altitude states.

Better Protection

The geodesic dome is the most stable structure ever made by man. Its unusual structure allows it to disperse and distribute stress over a larger area. Snow will not accumulate on its curved surface, and patches of snow will easily melt under the light of the sun. Its curved surface also allows wind to flow naturally around its structure instead of finding purchase on a flat surface.

Geodesic domes are even capable of surviving hurricane-force winds. In 2017, Miami’s Wynwood Dome stood up to Hurrican Irma, suffering very little damage even as surrounding buildings were devastated. Geodesic domes are so stable that NASA and Elon Musk agree it is the only viable structure for space colonies. Geodesic greenhouse share the same resilience, making them less likely to be damaged by hail, errant rocks, or gardening accidents.

Full Use of Sunlight

A geodesic dome looks almost the same from any angle. It lets in the most amount of sunlight, no matter the sun’s angle. Its curved surface will also allow your dome to absorb and retain more heat. The higher heat absorption and retention allows you to extend your growing season further than Colorado’s 150 days or Utah’s 156. You can even try to grow crops that require hot environments like peppers, eggplants, or melons.

On the downside (but not really), you’ll need more trips to your local landscape suppliers for more fertilizers and mulch, as your crops will be absorbing sunlight and nutrients at a higher rate. Make sure to opt for polycarbonate sheets instead of glass for your greenhouse. Polycarbonate sheets block UV radiation, which is essential for high-altitude greenhouses. The concentration of ultraviolet (UV) radiation gets 6 to 8 percent higher for every 1,000 feet. Your crops will be drowning in UV (and produce less chlorophyll) if you leave them unprotected. Note that polycarbonate greenhouses can be a little too hot during summers, but you can easily make things cooler using shade to block the sun.

greenhouse interior

Humidity Regulation

There’s little you can do about the dry air when growing crops normally, but you can change that with a greenhouse. The closed environment of a greenhouse allows you to make adjustments to increase the humidity inside it, no matter how dry it is outside. A few buckets of water should be enough to keep your greenhouse humid. Just place them inside your greenhouse, and normal evaporation should do the trick. Of course, you’ll need to make sure your greenhouse is properly sealed and that its doors remain closed for as long as possible.

Save More than a Few Dollars

Geodesic greenhouses are not expensive, especially if you opt for polycarbonate panels. You’ll get a bigger greenhouse at the same cost if you opt for a geodesic design instead of a traditional one. The usual rectangular greenhouse will cost you $10 to $13 per square foot of floor space, while a geodesic dome typically costs only $2 to $4 per square foot. Construction is a lot easier, and you can even find a few kits that allow you to build one yourself. Geodesic domes are also sturdier than traditional greenhouses so that you won’t spend money on frequent repairs or damaged panels.

Simply put, geodesic greenhouses are the best kind of greenhouse you can use for growing crops, especially in high altitude places. They are hardier than the usual greenhouse, less expensive, and more efficient in harnessing sunlight.

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