The Triard started as an idea, a cold frame was not enough, and a greenhouse was inappropriate, inefficient here. But I still needed some type of outdoor seed starter, I collected this and then during a tag sale a moving neighbor had an extra front door glass from a broken frame and needed to get ride of it, I said I'd take it, looks like a good seed starting glass.
And then once it got that big, I looked into enlarging it some, maybe twice as tall, and once from there, added another 2 feet, 8 to 10 feet, and began the dimensions there, a 6 foot wide glass at the bottom, with a 10 foot tilt frame, one that could be entered from the front as a cold frame would open, but then in the back up high enough to walk into, like a tiny green house.
And that is where I started this project.
Now that I had the rough design, friendly environment and landscape, The only question was how far down and just how far should or could one go towards ground insulating the whole unit, and still get enough desired light to be productive.
I'm in the deep south east of the USA, if it freezes, 9 times out of 10, it quickly goes away but kills everything from Oct to April almost every year. So I was not as concerned about protection from frost in this location, but yours may be different, you may go a foot or even two further down than what you'll see here.
My location was perfectly suited for this project, I could have turned it another 10 degrees to get to full south but the level front made me use the land just as is, plus I could always add a side window to get the lost sun.
By now I had some time to think about say a maximum Cadillac unit or the stripped down vw, just get er done model. I chose the caddy version, it would require a bit more work, but if I needed it, if it were to be the make or break item that got the unit through the season, and I didn't have it, and could have introduced it early on, then why not simply take the extra time and add the extra goodies and go from there than do all the what if's.
So I focused on something that could either hold on to the heat of the day, or find a way to add stored heat on those super cold stretches of time, if there are too many, you simply dig deeper into the ground or enlarge the unit to allow for insulated inside sides. I figured about a foot up starter for the cold frame side, and guess about the back side once I could look at the choice of angles depending on head room needed inside the unit.
Now to hold on to the acquired heat generated from the sun or delivered from the warmer ground below, I would add scrap metal instead of soil, and in order to add heat when or if needed I would toss in a 55 gal barrel that hot water could be added to give the system the needed heat to get through the cold spell, thermometers would be implanted and set in the triard to monitor the soil and air, and of course the plants reaction to the particular process you chose for that year would also be a factor. So I actually began by designing and digging a pit for the drained water to go into once it had delivered its heat, This location is already low and to bring a hose sloped downward was a challenge but that's where I had to start.
I got hold of some shredded tire, I dont need a 170 degree water being absorbed into a 55 degree soil in seconds and this tire is good insulator, There is like over 9 inches of rubber bed for my barrel and I'm going to do the sides also.
I got hold of some appliance packing material and used that to go around the rubber tires, on top of the packing material I will begin to add the scrap metal used to absorb the barrel heat which will bump up against the soil medium used to grow in. I then fill the voids with dirt and water in as good as possible to fill those voids.
I fill these blocks to make a wall.
I make sure everything is dead level as can be.
I concrete the bottom end so all the barrel heat has to rise.
From here, and getting some scrap from the welders shop, I add about as much as I can fit into this space of 3 1/2 feet by 2 1/2 feet by 4 or 5 inches.
In addition I'm starting to build concrete walls and use some blocks I made to hold up the Mercedes, here I'll use as foundations for the upright posts.
Up to now, this was mostly done for the cold frame side of the Triard, I still wanted in the greenhouse section something to hold plant containers and the heat that would rise or collect from its construction. I had an old 4 foot tube lighting fixture that I took the carcass, flipped it upside down, filled the bottom holes, set in the plant containers wrapped in tin foil and slightly filled with dirt, and then poured concrete in between all the containers up to the brim of the light fixture. This way I could remove the containers once the plant had reached the transplant stage.
Once I got the platform done, I could then move on to starting the framing of the Triard.
Here's one I missed from earlier.
I basically held the stick up enough to stand in comfortably plus get a reach toward the cold frame as far as was possible from the inside. Clamped it and penciled the part I needed to chop out in order to make the two become one at that angle. The wood foundation was the same but easier as those are all right angles, I timber framed with a chisle and drill bit all the cuts and then notched the very front top angled piece into the foundation below to prevent the top from sliding around in any direction. You can see the bottom right corner is raised slightly to show this.
I measure and chisel out notches to receive the bars holding up the upper window along with just enough material to receive the glass too. Everything is square and level.
All these measurements, all this building up to this point, has been based on the overall size of the framed 6 foot long glass, If it doesn't fit, there are going to be fits. And worse than that was my idea of trying to swing open this framed window from the front and have it land just in the right place on top of the upper glass. I had a hinge in my mind that would quickly and easily do this job, problem was no one had made one yet even though this is a rather simple design. So I had to start hunting hinges from anywhere and everywhere and eventually I did find an old world war II hinge, new in the box no one had found a use for on ebay for like $35 a pair. I had to whittle off some material but it looked as if it could be used and I was able to chisel out the material needed
to squeeze this design in.
Now back to making the frame to hold the swinging window for the cold frame. I used oak as thin as would safely hold the glass on 3 sides and the top was beefed up to like 3 inches wide. It has to hold the weight of the glass across the 6 feet while the bottom will rest evenly across the foundation.
This glass is 1/8 inch thick while the top glass is 2 sheets of 1/8 to make a 1/4" thick upper glass. And to router out enough material to safely hold the glass I had to use a short bit and then install another longer bit to finish out the depth or the whole piece would not fit together properly. Once I routed out all the pieces my design called for a tongue and groove running top to bottom so as once fitted together, all I had to do was to drill a hole in the proper slots, insert the screw and cap, and this alone would hold the wood together. And with the glass filling the space of removed wood was going to make for a secure tight fit if all measurements were accurate, and mine were.
What wasn't accurate was the carpenter square I had made some years back and really being 1/2 of a degree off, I figured would be enough for gvt work, but no, I had to remove the wood the frame eventually interfered with once installed, it wasn't much but if I had to do it again I would use the foot long metal store bought square.
When designing this I wanted to keep out as much water as possible, I wanted to have the lower glass collect and remove water from above but my hinge handicapped me just a little so I had to customized the rest to keep the water out, I lost a tiny bit of sunlight from this difficulty.
I came up with some used foam boards, and I was going to cover the whole thing in board until a spare solar panel fit so well I decided to use it as part of the roof and save the board for the sides. I covered by nail and washer the whole of the Triard and then from inside and out, can spray foamed the seams and cracks.
I don't have many pictures of making the door, It was going to be a foam board that had a strip of long wood that could sandwich the board and then be used to hinge and swing open the door, sealed with can foam.
But first to keep the water out of the bottom of the Triard I was going to have to make a stepped concrete entrance that would keep the flowing water out of Triard, and here it is.
This pretty much ends the construction of the Triard. And since its been nearly a year to the month of its completion there have not been too many problems. The biggest one is the wood started checking up and I had to keep plaining it off to not bind up the swinging window. I lost some plants last year so this year I made a foam board top but haven't had to use it yet, sides as well, they are in use.
I have a ton of video footage too that i'm going to try to offer up with a different dollar venue for all construction vids, over 25 easily.
It did its job, these are winter carrots, once I can afford to defend against the deer, carrots can be a year round item.
And early broccoli with April light green leaf lettice too.
Power in Numbers