Well, the Hothouse is quite an odd one. The idea for it was first conceived by the folks at Cambridge who were protecting the seeds, stating that is is below their dignity to hunt meat like cavemen, and hunitng also took up a lot of strong manpower, which the brains-over-brawn scientists clearly didn't have. Thus, the Hothouse was born.
Most of the research wasn't given to us directly to save space on the Dreadnoughts though, it was given to us in the form of an art book with basic blueprints, leaving us to figure out the most of it anyway. We at New London especially didn't have any tech, and hunting was deemed too staff-intensive to use, especially at the beginning of our City.
The hothouse designs were two. One was rather crude, and the other wan looked powerful, but expensive and complicated, so we started re-researching how to build the first design. The biggest design hurdle was definitely the roof. We needed to let sunlight in, and keep the building heated at the same time. We achieved this by using a steam core for the internal heating system, and some wood fiber cloth to keep out snow ans some of the wind. While the insulation wasn't bad, the lack of sunlight meant we could only grow lichen and algae there. It wasn't tasty, sure, but a lump of salt found in the hole made by the coal thumper made it almost irrecognisable from potatoes, especially in that water we called soup.
We kept using these guys until the Winterhome crisis, and we got an order to make a better food source to make food tastier and thus people happier. This time, we went all out. We found out that the sand which formed as the byproduct of steel refining could be forged into glass, and after reinforcing the glass with steel beams we made the entire roof out of it. Two steam cores were used to achieve maximum heating, which went to the glass panels too, melting snow and letting sunlight in. We used a watery solution with nutrients extracted from the soil instead of soil itself, as it proved to be quicker. We dubbed this "hydroponics", and it worked like a charm. We have grown potatoes, garlic, pumpkins, peppers, and even tomatoes! Soon the cooks started preparing spicy and delicious meals out of our produce. A hunter team was employed too to provide us with animal protein, and even the scarce egg.
We manned these buildings with automatons, which do a great job at caring about the plants. The supposed Storm is coming, and our Captain has appointed foremen to the facilities. I suppose that yelling at robots is not the sanest of things, but it apparently works, because the output is much bigger ever since. We have a stockpile ready, and if something happens, we should be able to just grow more during the storm. Or at least I think so. God help us.
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