Field Study and Service-Learning MediaBlog

07 May, 2008

San Ramón: Greenhouse Construction

Pour that Concrete!
One of our tasks on the farm was to help Juan Luis with the early stages of constructing a cover for his herb garden. Similar to the benefits of germinating the seeds in a greenhouse, this cover will protect seedlings from dying as a result of harsh weather once they’ve been transplanted outdoors. Because the cover will be transparent, it will also magnify the sunlight, facilitating photosynthesis and therefore speeding growth. The support beams for the structure were a mix of metal pipes and pieces of lumber. We dug several holes for the beams, making sure they were the appropriate depth, and then filled them with cement to fix the beams in place.

Painting the Greenhouse Beams
Here we are helping paint metal beams for the construction of the greenhouse. The beams were sanded and then painted, increasing their durability through the rainy season. The process of scraping the rust off of the metal and applying two layers of paint to thirty metal bars four meters in length was a fairly time-consuming and dirty one. However, the greenhouse will serve as a shelter to the products during the downpours of the harsh rainy season, in which it rains just about every day for months on end. It will also prevent erosion and allow more precise control of watering through drip irrigation harnessed from a nearby stream.

Author: Sami Nichols & Esequiel Zylberberg