Greenhouse Help

Discussion in 'Homesteading' started by CharClothed, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. CharClothed

    CharClothed Guide

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    So apparently my sister is moving in with her friend in the future. Two married couples renting a house and coexisting. Sister's friend is very into gardening. Had a family farm before she went to Japan. Now she's back, living with her husband, and enjoying life. When they find a place and move in, they plan on gardening in the back yard. I don't need help making raised beds. That's all easy. Different ways to heat the greenhouse and watering it is also planned. My question though is the greenhouse material. I was thinking of using the same stuff used for super shelters. The clear drop cloth. And I will still use that if it's the best bet. But what are some good affordable options for trapping in the heat for a greenhouse?
     
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  2. delkancott

    delkancott Supporter Supporter

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    How big a greenhouse?
     
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  3. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    If you make the greenhouse out of wood framing, like 2x4's, you can staple the plastic on the outside and then staple another layer on the inside. That will give you a nice airspace in the framing.
     
  4. cbrianroll

    cbrianroll Professional Tinkerer

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    Look into greenhouse specific plastics and panels. It's made for greenhouses. Even a wood sided greenhouse with single pane glass roofs and sun facing wall reach good temp. Automatic venting is awesome. One nice thing about solid shade walls is lots of options for vertical growing plants.
     
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  5. CharClothed

    CharClothed Guide

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    They seem to like the dome theme so 10'-15' Diameter.
     
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  6. Bridgetdaddy

    Bridgetdaddy Guide

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    Be careful of regular plastic like drop cloths. The plastic is not treated, so UV Rays will destroy it in 1 year
     
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  7. crewhead05

    crewhead05 caffeine, nicotine, knives and nature. Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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  8. nomad orphan

    nomad orphan Tracker

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    For winter masonry we use a reinforced plastic... has a fiber mesh in it. Holds up well. $200 a roll 20x100.

    You could put rebar in pvc pipes and bend the supports. Then put plastic on both sides of the pipe. Seal everything with high test tape... then squirt some argon in the space between. Like a big inverted bag.

    It would be cheap and easy to top off the gas every once in a while. One spot in the center of the dome... it's heavier than air and used for windows. Welding supply houses sell it cheap.

    Not a permanent solution but if yearly cost is $200..... compared to windows or 4x8' sheets of plastic ($40 each) tubes, plus installation.

    Or.... source sliding glass doors for free. Contractors have to pay to dispose of the old ones.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
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  9. NattyBo

    NattyBo Supporter Supporter

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  10. Unistat76

    Unistat76 Nerd Supporter Bushclass I

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    Got ya fam. Check out this series of YouTube vids. This guy is in Michigan too so he's gonna have very similar weather issues. This is the first of seven videos.

     
  11. Zunga

    Zunga Bushmaster

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    I agree with @Bridgetdaddy normal plastic drop clothes or vapor barrier are uv sensitive.
     
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  12. A Seedy Lot

    A Seedy Lot Scout

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    The simplest and maybe most effective way to trap heat in a green house is thermal mass. Water holds 2 to 3 times the thermal energy as stone or masonry and as water heats it moves in a container so all the water heats evenly, very efficient means of capturing heat energy. For thermal passive greenhouse design the standard for thermal mass is 2 to 4 gallons of water per square foot of transparent roof.

    For our small passive greenhouse we have six 55 gallon steel drums filled with water on the north wall. The barrels are painted black. Our greenhouse is 8 feet by 13 feet in floor layout with 96 square feet of polycarbonate glazing on the south facing roof. Many mornings I have gone into the greenhouse when outside temps were in the 20s and the greenhouse is a balmy 65 degrees.
     
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  13. camp casey

    camp casey Guide

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    93EF28BF-C1A8-45DF-BB34-EC3DAA851C1E.jpeg Tufflite IV is what I have used for many years in Michigan, and polycarbonate on the ends, the ends are we’re most of your expensive occurs, the middle is cheapest to make.
    Highly recommend a tunnel style, reinforced in the winter as needed for snow, or remove snow by hand.
     
  14. camp casey

    camp casey Guide

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    B602A70F-561F-4E54-BAC1-E894BD831C3D.jpeg 3257CA17-2AE5-413D-8D10-FB9898EC0025.jpeg Here are the best books I have found on growing food year round in an unheated greenhouse, or cold frame.
    Worked for me, good luck.
     
  15. Cascadian

    Cascadian Scout

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    Lots of good advice here that I agree with.

    @camp casey recommended two books that I'm sure are excellent. But given that their publication dates are 1999 and 2009 respectively, and given that materials science is a very fast-changing field, it would be worth really scouring current greenhouse fora for what are the current favorites for greenhouse materials.

    As people noted, "regular" plastics are lucky to survive a year. And they don't necessarily have the best light transmission for plants. Given that this is a year round hobby, and a wonderful healthy one at that -- one that provides tons of nutritious food ($$$!) -- and given the cost of material and labor to keep fixing a sub-optimal structure is real (not to mention growing disruption) it might be worthwhile to "do it right" the first time.

    Gardening is awesome!
     
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  16. A Seedy Lot

    A Seedy Lot Scout

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    All of Elliot Coleman's books are still very relevant and often cited in the local farming world, even if they are a little older in publication date.

    If you live in a truly cold climate green house design is going to have be along the lines of a solar passive insulated design. Elliot Coleman with his double tunnel design is able to temper growing conditions roughly two zones. It is -8 at our house this morning, a double tunnel grow system would still be mighty cold, maybe warm enough for cold weather green crops, spinach kale and the likes. But tomatoes and other true summer crops are going to be hard to get to grow in a cold winter climate unless one plans on spending a good deal of energy heating the greenhouse.

    As for greenhouse plastic we have gotten 4 years out of true greenhouse platic. I am a huge fan of polycarbonate greenhouse glazing. It is expensive but the new glazing has a 20 year guarantee. With glazing it diffuses the light which the plants seem to like.

    Another thing to keep in mind with greenhouse design it that 6 hours of direct sun is considered full sun for most crops. More sun does not necessarily provide a better growing space but the opposite is likely were over heating can be a huge issue. Most passive green house designs have a South facing shed roof design that is transparent with all other walls insulated and painted white to reflect light to the back of the plants.
     
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  17. JasonJ

    JasonJ Guide

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    A very appropriate thread as I was just considering building a greenhouse in the backyard this spring... maybe 10'x16' or so. Might not keep up with it, so perhaps the 1yr poly sheeting might be ok to see if if's something I want to keep around or not.
     
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  18. Hauberk

    Hauberk Tinder Gatherer

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    You might consider a double layer of 6mm poly from a hoophouse supply co. They guarantee it for 4 years, but I have gotten nearly 10 at times.

    I am just in the process building another hoophouse, and skin cost me $120 for 40x60. I am not doing a double layer on it at this time.
     
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  19. camp casey

    camp casey Guide

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    My current greenhouse is 16’ by 20’
    I bought a roll of tufflite 4 year 6 mil plastic, at current prices it pencils out to $ 14.50 a year, with a little shopping around I think I could find it cheaper.
    If the unused part of the roll is stored in a cool dark location it will last for years, at least mine has, current crop in the greenhouse is firewood, it spends a year drying, then goes to the woodshed. image.jpg
     
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  20. gila_dog

    gila_dog Supporter Supporter

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    Have you considered using plastic barrels instead of steel? We had a passive greenhouse on our first home and used steel barrels for thermal mass. They rusted out in a few years. They leaked rusty water all over the floor and were a real hassle to replace. I know plastic isn't as good of a conductor as steel, and won't transfer heat in and out as well, but the lack of maintenance required may make up for it. We never tried it tho.

    I see all these hoop designs and I'm not impressed. I'm sure they are easy to build and all, but any surfaces that don't get direct sunlight (ie north facing) are just heat wasters in the winter. And during the fall, summer, and spring they are going to let in max sun, and overheating will be a problem. And just shut it down in the summer. Way too hot.

    The greenhouse we had was built on an uninsulated concrete slab, which got cold and was a heat sink. So I laid down 1" of blue styrofoam on the floor, then laid masonry pavers on that. It looked good, and the pavers became thermal mass.

    Ventilation will become a major issue, too. Non electrical automatic vent openers have been around for years. Hopefully they are better now than the ones we used.

    Our greenhouse was intended to be a heat source for the house during the winter, and also a place to grow plants. It worked pretty well for both purposes. It was an insulated shed design with glazing on the south, east, and west walls. The north wall had windows opening into the house. Being shady in the summer made it a nice place to hang hammocks and keep some plants.

    There was a time when you were supposed to make your south facing wall at a 60 degree angle, not vertical. More sunlight would get thru the glass without reflecting off in the middle of the winter when the sun is down low. Bad idea. That angle let the sun come blasting in during the spring, summer, and fall, and also gave rain lots of opportunities to leak in. We replaced that with vertical glass and extended the roof out a bit to make shade during the summer. Our glass was double glazed sliding glass door panels scrounged from the local Habitat for Humanity store.

    One more problem is going to be bugs. Not only do plants love greenhouses, but bugs do too. Tiny little flies and mealy bugs were our problem. We put some anoles (little chameleon-like lizards) in the greenhouse and they scarfed up flies all day. Until the cat discovered them that is, and they didn't last long after that. It was fun to watch the lizards stalking flies, tho.
     
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  21. zelph

    zelph Guide

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    Use white geenhouse plastic to reduce heat build up. Commercial greenhouses redo their coverings and give away the old stuff that still has a few years of life left in it. Search "Craigs List" for FREE items.
     

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