Academy, Day 10

This morning’s class was a bit different. We had a double session of food production. Yes, it was all about all of the awesome things that have been and that you can grow in an Earthship. So far, space seems to be the only limitation. Having a huge apple tree might be difficult indoors. We got a nice handout with a list of a tonne of plants, both edible and ornamental that have been grown in an Earthship. It was quite extensive, so I won’t go through the whole list. But there were things like bananas (of course 😉 ), pineapple, papaya, strawberries, lettuce, kale, tomatoes, cucumbers (many varieties), melons, carrots, garlic chives… and so on.

Michelle, the woman giving the talk, had quite the extensive knowledge and she went over many examples of things you need to do for certain plants to get them to bear fruit. For instance, bananas grow a main plant that will bear fruit and once it has done this, you rip that plant out because it will just sit there an rot after that. What will happen though, as it is fruiting, is it will pop up a few “pup” plants around its roots. You cut out the mother plant and most of the pups, and then let the last of the pups grow into a new fruit bearing plant. Groovy stuff.

After lunch, I was back working at the main build site. Today we were working on the concrete can wall form. This is a trench created over the top of the tire walls that will have the concrete bond beam poured into it. We need a bond beam that is 10 inches deep by 10 inches wide (25.4 x 25.4 cm). This is fairly easy work, except that I was working on the can work on the pony wall, which means constantly going up and down a ladder. Here is a picture of where we ended up.


We’ll continue that third course of cans to the end tomorrow. Here is a picture looking down into the trench created for the bond beam. You’ll also be able to see the rebar running through it for extra concrete structural integrity.


As we were working on the pony wall, we had to intersect this with the main back wall. Here you can see the detail of that. When the bond beam is poured, it will make one continuous piece of concrete over the entire tire wall.


Looking down the back wall, you can see how the can work continues. You’ll also see in the next picture, some wooden forms that are attached to the back wall. These are buttress forms that are housing more rebar lattice work that will also be filled with concrete. The engineer decided that these buttresses were necessary with such a long back wall, even though the wall itself leans into the berm at the back. It’s basically done for code compliance.


So, with any luck, the inspector will be out tomorrow to look at all the rebar work and then we can finish all of the form work with the cans and do the pour for the bond beam, the buttresses and the footings at the front.


4 thoughts on “Academy, Day 10”

  1. Fascinating. Is the can/concrete wall form dismantled after the pour and reused the same way the wooden forms are in traditional construction, or do they remain as part of the final concrete beam?

    1. The can wall formwork will remain; we won’t be taking it out. It will get covered over when we do the finishing. Though, that is much further down the line and our academy session will likely be over before we get to doing finishing on the main building. Some of the groups have done some finishing work on other build sites. I’m hoping I get my chance to do some of that too.

    1. The cans themselves only serve to drastically reduce the amount of mortar (i.e. cement) you need to accomplish the job. They also create a lattice structure of arches which keeps the whole thing fairly stable. We in Canada are pretty used to recycling these days, so it might seem odd, but there are many places in the world where cans are just garbage. This is seen as using a resource that is being produced by humanity anyway, and we save all of the energy of recycling it back into aluminum.

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