bioshelter meWelcome to The Backyard Greenhouse Blog! I hope you’re able to learn something from my writing and experiences. Whether you are a person interested in blogs in general or someone who must know everything they can about greenhouses and living shelters there is probably something here for you.

This blog started many years ago after a heavy snow and tree branches collapsed our hoop frame unheated greenhouse in Holyoke, MA. This opened an opportunity to build anew. During the winter and spring of 2012, Jonathan Bates (that’s me) started an adventure researching passive solar greenhouse design, and bioshelter theory. I spent countless hours looking into what materials would be needed, where to find the most ecological components, and what would be the least expensive and most intuitive structural greenhouse design I could find.

With very little carpentry or building experience, I wanted to show that a systematically complex yet simply erected greenhouse is possible. The Backyard Bioshelter has a 400 square footprint 20×20, is 11 feet tall, and is made with 80% reused, recycled or reclaimed materials, for under $3000.

After that first bioshelter project and resulting blog stories, my greenhouse adventures will continue in our new site in Brooktondale, NY, called the Mediterranean “Figgery” Greenhouse, where I’ll be growing figs and other warm temperate/sub-tropical plants which need a little protection in this part of the world to thrive.

I’ve found through my experience with these projects, readings I’ve done, and searches on the Internet, that eco-greenhouse information is sparse. Particularly lacking are stories of bioshelters and multi-species greenhouses at small scale, less then 2000 square feet. So, why not blog about my experience, and add to the history that has already unfolded!

The Backyard Greenhouse Blog (formally Bioshelter Blog), is also a story about my life. With the help of many people, I have been able to re-invent myself through successful Whole Life Design.