Low sun, low temperatures

Leaping Frog Farm is a four season farm that eliminates the absence of locally grown greens for any csa member during the long winter.  

In this picture one can see the small “shack” just off to the left from the middle focal point.  In this shack there is a water furnace that is fueled by corn pellets, a form of bio-mass.  The furnace is connected to two mains which are located in the middle and far left hoop tunnels.  The two mains are then connected to as many underground and above surface rubber tubbing is needed. Generally each bed has two tubes, one under and one above.  The heat runs through the tubbing via water. These tubes support all of Leaping Frog Farm’s CSA salad mix and kale.

Due to the highly efficient furnace and the highly efficient bio-mass (corn pellets) it is easy to keep the ground temperature above freezing for a week while only using three to four bags of pellets. Each bag weighs fifty pounds, making it about one-hundred and fifty pounds per seven days. (Note that the size of the hopper is relative to how often it needs to be filled.  This hopper could hold about twelve bags.) The heated water tubes are highly efficient, yet if not monitored while also keeping a close eye on the outside temperatures, it could easily cause problems for the hoop tunnel production. If the outside temperatures are well below freezing, the furnace remains active.  Otherwise the hoop tunnel temperatures do not need much assistance when outdoor temperatures remain around freezing. The passive solar hoop tunnel plus the thermal layering (remay and clear plastic) directly over the crops allow the plants to survive all winter long.