Was the heyday for greenhouses forty years ago?
Last fall I paid a visit to Yestermorrow, the design/build school in Vermont where I had recently taken classes. Just by chance, they were making space in their library and practically giving away some old books and magazines. In the pile I found “The Food and Heat Producing Solar Greenhouse” by Bill Yanda and Rick Fisher. This is exactly the topic I’m interested in! The book was published in 1976, but that’s okay by me. I assume vegetables and the solar system haven’t changed much in the last forty-two years. Although the book does make frequent reference to using vermiculite, which is funny because of course it has been banned for a very long time due to asbestos contamination. I noticed a few other references to building techniques that are antiquated as well.
Since I subscribed to Greenbuildingadvisor.com, I found Martin Holladay answered another question about greenhouses and recommended two others books:
1) Building and Using Our Sun-Heated Greenhouse, by Helen and Scott Nearing
2) The Complete Greenhouse Book by Peter Cleff and Derry Watkins
I went online and quickly found used copies for a bargin. These books were published in 1977 and 1978 respectively. How odd to be thinking greenhouses are the wave of the future when the three definitive books on the subject were all written before I was born!
So my big question is, what was going on in the late 1970s that made Greenhouses so popular? Has it really been forty years since someone wrote a definitive guide to designing, building, and maintaining greenhouses? Have greenhouses fallen out of style? Why? Will growing interest in combating climate change and consuming local foods renew interest in greenhouses?
I appreciate any insights folks might have. Thanks!
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