Using large rocks for a warmer microclimate?

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WebSiteEvo

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Using large rocks for a warmer microclimate?
« on: February 24, 2010, 12:50 »
Does anyone make use of rocks for creating a warmer micro-climate?

I was thinking that their use would be beneficial for any crops that would beneficial from warmer temperatures. I am thinking of using them for tomatoes, aubergines, courgettes and grape vines, maybe as a raised bed with plenty of mulch. I got the idea while reading about Sepp Holzer who has used large rocks to grow crops at allot higher altitude then you would expect could survive.

   
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prakash_mib

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Re: Using large rocks for a warmer microclimate?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2010, 13:02 »
this might work, what you are creating is a thermal mass. It is similar to having a warm water tank in the green house. but greenhouse is a confined space. not sure about an open space idea.
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prakash_mib

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Snoop

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Re: Using large rocks for a warmer microclimate?
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2010, 13:21 »
This is quite commonly done in French vineyards, especially in the Rhone.

I remember a James Burke programme (showing my age there!) about a house in the desert that had pivoting stones where you'd ordinarily expect windows. The face of the stone exposed to the cold of the night was turned inwards in the daytime, cooling the room in the heat of the day. And the side exposed to the heat during the daytime was turned inwards at night, effectively heating the room.

I was thinking of building a greenhouse using a stone wall at the back (already built) as a heat mass. However, I'm not totally convinced it would always have the desired effect. You'd need to be sure that your stones would warm up in the day because you could find yourself with a cold mass that keeps your microclimate chilly rather than warm.

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Rubellite

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Re: Using large rocks for a warmer microclimate?
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2010, 13:52 »
Interesting............... :)

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bigben

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Re: Using large rocks for a warmer microclimate?
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2010, 15:04 »
I would have thought that the net effect was to even out temperatures rather than increase them. It would soak up heat during the day and give it out at night. The average temp would not be higher but the night temp might be a little warmer and it would take a little longer to warm up through the day.

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WebSiteEvo

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Re: Using large rocks for a warmer microclimate?
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2010, 15:13 »
Thanks all for the replies.  Some useful info in thermal mass. Taking that idea further I though I could try something like this:

See attached gif

hotbed.gif

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prakash_mib

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Re: Using large rocks for a warmer microclimate?
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2010, 15:19 »
All the best. Invest in a thermometer which can watermark high and low temperature throughout the summer and you can with a very good article if you are successful

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Christine

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Re: Using large rocks for a warmer microclimate?
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2010, 16:04 »
I've got a fairly tall and long hardstanding down the middle of my allotment and tall hedges round the sides.

Let's say that the hard standing does wonders for crops which like things that little bit warmer.

Nothing scientific like and off topic but it tends towards suggesting that there might be something in the idea.

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strangerachael

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Re: Using large rocks for a warmer microclimate?
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2010, 16:56 »
I tried it with melons the year before last. I planted them outside, surrounded each plant with a pile of large stones, and then put a kind of cloche on top (well it was a piece of corrugated plastic held in place with canes, but left open at the ends for pollination). They were pathetic.  :(  One fruit developed but never matured. Mind you it was a very bad summer.
Rachael

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JayG

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Re: Using large rocks for a warmer microclimate?
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2010, 17:11 »
An interesting idea but as Rachael suggests it is very dependent on solar power which is something we don't seem to have had too much of in recent years.

Can visualise using (dark?) rocks to line the rear of those Victorian-style hotbeds they used to have (like giant cold-frames) which would heat up much better during the day and their released energy would be contained more effectively at night.

Good luck with any experimenting you do!
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Tattyanne456

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Re: Using large rocks for a warmer microclimate?
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2010, 08:39 »
Very intersting thread. I was thinking along the same lines but just using large bottles filled with water for sweet potatoes, ginger etc.

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8doubles

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Re: Using large rocks for a warmer microclimate?
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2010, 09:30 »
I`m sure it works if the rock is big enough, a warm wall definately works. I plant the runner beans against the wall of the garage which acts as a storage heater. The frost never touches them in the spring and they would still be flowering at Christmas if i left them in.

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Trikidiki

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Re: Using large rocks for a warmer microclimate?
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2010, 19:25 »
We have a deck along the West side of the house. The house wall is built with cream coloured bricks which have a marked storage heater effect. You can still feel the heat coming off the wall several hours after dark. I'd love to grow in this area but my wife childminds and the deck is their play area.

Just thought I have about 20 bricks from an old storage heater. I might try and incorporate them into a cold frame on the allotment. Don't know if you've ever tried lifting them but I guess that'll be a hernia carting them up to the plot.

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Spana

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Re: Using large rocks for a warmer microclimate?
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2010, 19:55 »
My only thought is how are you going to get  rocks large enough to do the job into position.  Or am i thinking they need to be bigger than they need to be :wub:



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