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greenhouse suck factor

                          


Joined: May 16, 2011
Posts: 3
John Polk wrote:
If you are looking for cheap, recycled materials to build a greenhouse, think of Habitat for Humanity.  They build free houses for many underprivileged people around the globe.  In the US and Canada, they maintain many outlet stores where used materials are sold at very reasonable prices.  A friend bought six sliding glass doors there for about what the big-box store wanted for one.  They also have many new products, ie Home Depot is no longer carrying a certain line of sinks, and donate the ones they have remaining in stock.  The money you spend there will help a worthwhile cause, and save you a bundle of ca$h.

Links to stores in U.S., and Canada:
USA:  http://www.habitat.org/cd/env/restore.aspx
Canada:  http://www.habitat.org/cd/env/restore.aspx?place=can

My suggestion is to look there BEFORE you finalize your plans.  It is much easier (& cheaper) to design around what is available/cheap than to go shopping for specific sizes and styles.

EDITED to add:  Be forewarned!  While you are there, you may see many good things too cheap to bypass.  You may create several new projects around the homestead.


                          


Joined: May 16, 2011
Posts: 3
I live in  Rye, Co .....lat-long 37.9236194, -104.9302662 elevation 7,000 ft, I use a greenhouse to grow veggies in the winter, I have built coldframes inside the greenhouse with 8mm twinwall lexan lids and have grown salad greens , carrots, spinach etc without heat, with outside nighttime temps of -20 F. It is really nice to have food so close to the house!
                                          


Joined: Jan 09, 2011
Posts: 59
Location: N.W. Arizona
As I noted above my greenhouse sucks in summer.  So I am taking steps to improve it for summer use.  Actually with the late winter weather I am still eating all the tomatoes I want from it.  Not enough light is one problem and I have placed recycled garage doors at an angle to reflect the high summer sun in to the glass.  This works but not enough so next I plan to paint some glass with chrome paint on the back and create mirrors  to do it better.  Over heating is the second problem.  I have addressed this by putting a solar panel on the roof and powering a 12 volt auto radiator fan in a window.  This blows across a fish tank with return water splashing into it....instant evaporative cooling.  Then I open two sliding glass door and close the screens.  On the few hot days we have had it runs 15 deg. F. cooler in there than outside.
Here in the desert gardens do better with shade cloth over all to reduce heating.  With conventional insulated roof and over hang I get winter greenhouse and summer coolhouse.  We will see if it is productive in summer.
                          


Joined: May 16, 2011
Posts: 3
I like the idea of the 12 volt fans, It is starting to get warmer here as well, so I need to try some cooling methods using solar power. I know some people here that are digging a trench, then burying a tube or culvert to blow the cool air (ground temp) into the greenhouse.
                          


Joined: Feb 08, 2010
Posts: 7
Location: Alaska
Here in Alaska my greenhouses have added probably 2 months to the growing season.  They also block mineral leaching from the incessant rain (Kodiak Island), keep the deer out, speed the decomposition process in my compost pile.
They also keep my kids gainfully employed pulling super healthy gargantuan weeds.  There is just no downside here.
                                          


Joined: Jan 09, 2011
Posts: 59
Location: N.W. Arizona
Hey goatguy
When I was on Kodiak years ago they couldnt keep the bears out of the dump.  Noone dared keep compost or raise goats.  That would be bear bait.
                          


Joined: Feb 08, 2010
Posts: 7
Location: Alaska
Fence around dump.. 

Bears still like to wipe out chickens every so often when salmon aren't too plentiful.

Lots of folks use electric fence now too.

Dogs help.
Peter Ingot


Joined: Sep 06, 2011
Posts: 50
Being a negative nelly is important, it's needed to balance the half baked ideas endlessly promoted  by inexperienced people. The failures aren't discussed so others  make the same mistakes. I recently tried to talk someone out of making a geodesic dome greenhouse. Edward  deono calls this "black hat thinking" (ref. 7 hat thinking"

In this continental climate (Bulgaria)greenhouses are held to be most useful for spring seedlings and a little winter salad veg (green onions and lettuce are the onlywinter salads most people know of) . And the seasons change so sharply here that greenhouse must be very warm to extend the frost free growing season appreciably.  Plastic is the material of choice for most people.Winter gales and early summer hail can trash anything, but plastic can be replaced cheaply

I made lots of cloches and a  greenhouse out of old windows against an earth wall. After a couple of years I decided to dismantle the greenhouse. It was slightly badly placed,shaded a little but still appreciably warmer all year round and functioned. It was also ugly,  flaking (probably) lead based paint and the condensation was damaging the wall.So this  spring I had no greenhouse.  No trays of  seedlings, no plant pots blowing around, just some seedbeds. The veggies liked it.Everything came a bit later but contrary to popular belief, plenty  of veggies can survive winter here with minimal protection, so I had kale, corn salad, parsley, mizuna, lettuce, perpetual spinach etc.when everyone  else had pickles and nettle soup (not knocking nettles. Patience dock is also used here in spring).  It did mean that my tomato plants were an inch high when everyone else was transplanting big greenhouse grown, fertiliser enriched seedlings from the market (cheap and easy, but definately cheating. Also the varieties sold are awful for organic growing ). Actually the head start gained by greenhouse grown seedlings was not  that great when the time for hardening off and transplant  shock is taken into account.  Seeds that germinated out of doors seemed to make happier plants, and the ones I sowed in situ were happiest of all

Thought solar heating my  water would be a good use for my glass cloches in summer, but forgot about  the hail. Crash, tinkle

Now I am in hot sun, aware that a frost is likely to come in less than a month, and that it miight well be a hard one. I have virtually no cloches and no greenhouse. Plastic sheets over wooden frames work quite well for winter salads and can be improvised quickly. They can also double as shades in summer for transplants.  Attempting to ripen the last few green tomatoes by throwing plastic over them in windy weather takes a lot of energy for very little reward. And stray bits of plastic litter the ground.

I like the idea of lightweight movable greenhouse. Maybe a homemade A frame one covered by  reinforced plastic and weighted  or staked down. Polytunnels I don't like much I've seen them collapse under snow. Permanant glasshouses are a big financial investment, would permanantly occupy a lot of scarce flat ground and be almost unusable in summer even if heavily watered (not possible) and vented.

Elliot Coleman's 4 season gardening is still inspiring though. Eating preserves from November to June would drive me nuts.

I think the answer may lie mainly with hardy veg, hotbeds and fleece with perhaps some use of glass or plastic.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
we had two hard frosts last week, but our greenhouse is still full of tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, chard, mustard and carrots that were protected..amen


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
                                  


Joined: Sep 11, 2011
Posts: 1
GH discussions need to consider context .  Latitude and winter cloud cover need mentioning.  Most gh posts lack these.  Here on mid-Vancouver Island at latitude 50 degrees North we get 2 hours daily average bright sunshine in Nov, Dec, Jan and Feb.  "Solar" style gh are pointless here in winter; in summer the opaque North side sees no useful sunshine in early morning and late afternoon hours.  Also at latitudes above 40 degrees North or South, rectangular gh should be oriented with the long side running east-west so as to maximize sunshine in non-summer months.  A "boxy" shape holds heat better than a long skinny gh because of less surface area. Trees on the equator side of your gh will grow 2-3 feet a year and block available sunshine. I've made mistakes on all these criteria with prior gh!
kent smith


Joined: Sep 05, 2010
Posts: 211
Location: Pennsylvania
I am planning to build a green house this fall and winter when the rest of the chores slow down. I had been looking on Craigs list for some materials and found a garden center that wanted to give away the glass from a large commercial green house in exchange for removing it. The owner and I spent two days removing the glass and I hauled away about 70% of it. After weighting out my truck twice with glass panes I figured I had glass for several green houses. I now have over a ton of glass panes that are 16" x 24". I plan to incorporate several ideas into this green house: It will be partially underground on the south side and earth sheltered on the the ends and on north wall. The south side of the structure will have a below ground walkway that will also act as a cold sink. The north wall will be a rammed tire wall. I am planning on building a RMH to heat a raised growing bench. On the other side of the north wall I am building as stray bale and ferro cement root cellor that will also be partically below ground level. I will duct cold air from the cold sink of the green house into the root cellar when needed to keep the root cellar closer to 34 f. I can also duct warmer air from the top of the root cellar back into the green house by convection. We are in western Pennsylvania at 47 degrees north. We do have cold winters and some grey days. I want to try to bring some plants into the green house from the garden in the fall, grow some cold tolerant baby salid green, kale, chard and possibly some brassicas. Then start plants earlier in the spring for the garden.   I have enough glass to play around with some cold frames and I want to build a large food drier before next summer. We are finding that dried foods work very well for us and want to dry more in the future. The glass was a great find in exchange for two days of work and a tank of gas
kent


Kent
Lori Crouch


Joined: Sep 26, 2011
Posts: 104
Location: Amarillo, TX.
    
    1
My husband and I are currently looking for farm land in Western Canada and I'm wondering if a greenhouse would even be worth the cost and effort.  I had envisioned something similar to what two of the other posters suggested with an attached greenhouse to double as a sun room. 

How much of an increase in heating would there be to do this?  I imagine it would be substantial if you were trying to grow something year round, if that is even a possibility.  I'm leaning towards scraping the whole project after reading these forums.
Margie Nieuwkerk


Joined: Aug 02, 2011
Posts: 47
Location: Bulgaria, Zone 7/8
We don't get a lot of snow, but it does get cold and very bleak here in the winter (East Bulgaria).  I AM on a very tight budget and DID really fancy some lettuce, spinach, and maybe some carrots to supplement the canned and dried stuff this winter.  I'm trying not to buy the stuff from the shops.  I found this, it looks so easy, cheap and sensible that I feel I should at least give it a go.  Curious what you lot think of this?  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGA0P9uB9z4
                                          


Joined: Oct 18, 2011
Posts: 5
I've now constructed three greehouses for our garden. The first, largest and most expensive cost between 50-100 Euros uses recuperated glazed windows and the roof is of 200 micron uv stabilised polythene (as used for polytunnels). The other two costing 7 Euros and 5 Euros are made entirely of wood recuperated from untreated pallets, the only cost was for the polythene and a few screws, nails and hinges.  You can see a detailed time-lapse of how I made the 5 Euro one by having a look at http://www.youtube.com/user/Organikmechanic?feature=mhum#p/u/2/br5sE8Pg6Vc
As we have a large collection of free-ranging poultry in our organic garden the greenhouses offer a solution to scratching feet and beaks hungry for the tastiest new shoots. It also means we can have leaf vegetables throughout Winter by growing old varieties of Winter lettuce and kale, oriental cabbage family such as mibuna, pak choi and mizuna, also land cress and corn salad. When the weather gets very cold we cover at night with fleece. This year we are working on an old greenhouse heating method (Victorian England) on using poultry to heat the greenhouse overnight by incorporating the quail house. We also use the quail to control pests such as whitefly, greenfly and caterpillars throughout the year, my wife has video showing how we do this http://www.youtube.com/user/Pavlovafowl#p/a/u/2/GZHD4urd5Xs
Debbie Marsh


Joined: Oct 29, 2011
Posts: 5
Location: Piedmont, NC, zone 7
Found this site today - luv it, luv it!  Daisy, I looked at the video, I'm not sure that little thing would take you much past November.  It may be too late this  year, but I'd try a raised bed, with an insulator (hay bales?) around it, and then top it off with the mini-hoop house.  Of course, close monitoring will keep your greens from cooking after the sun comes up.  You should get a thermometer in there - check the temp every sunrise to get a feel on how cold it gets in there.  Remember, the greens will keel over when they get too cold, but that doesn't mean they are dead - they self monitor, and drop their moisture to the roots even at freezing.  They should perk up after the sun hits them.  Keep us posted.


Piedmont, NC, zone 7
Travis Philp
volunteer

Joined: Dec 28, 2009
Posts: 951
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
    
    8
I just attended a lecture presentation put on by a out of New York state (which will remain nameless). They farm all year round, with everything from uncovered field carrots to massive propane heated greenhouses.

While I applaud the effort to grow all year round, I question the environmental impact of their methods, the nutrient content of their plants grown with little to no UV exposure, and wonder if their customers are doing the same.

It seemed so 'dialed in' and they spent so much time and energy fussing over the details, and their systems seemed so vulnerable to weather, fuel costs, human or machine error etc, as to not be worth it IMO. Sure they had an impressive market stand all year round, but at what cost. Their net profits must pale in comparison to their gross, and you'd pretty much have to be reliant on banks for all the overhead. Yikes!


http://www.greenshireecofarms.com
Zone 5a in Central Ontario, Canada
Cal Burns


Joined: Mar 23, 2011
Posts: 102
From an affordability standpoint I've been looking at getting one from Tractor Supply - http://www.tractorsupply.com/lawn-garden/greenhouses/shelterlogic-reg-grow-it-reg-greenhouse-in-a-box-trade-10-ft-x-20-ft-x-8-ft--1119438
Anyone have experience with these as far as durability?
jacque greenleaf
volunteer

Joined: Jan 21, 2009
Posts: 464
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
I've looked at the ShelterLogic structures as well. I don't have experience with these, but this summer I bought a similar small structure from Home Depot. I was satisfied with it, and it was decently made. Some thoughts -

These are season extension structures, not real greenhouses. You will be very disappointed if you expect otherwise. They will heat up in the sun, but at night, they will get down to ambient temperature, or a bit above, depending on what/whether you are using any thermal mass for heat storage. You could add a heater, but you would be trying to heat the great out-of-doors. Soil cables would be more satisfactory, but in no event will you have a truly controlled environment.

You will have to pay attention to ventilation, and most days will require two visits for opening and closing.

The structural elements on mine are a bit smaller, about 1", and are powder-coated. I mounted the bottom connectors on treated 2x6s, otherwise they just sit on the ground, and unless you are putting them on a really flat surface, the structure will go catty-wumpus. I shimmed the 2x6s where necessary to get reasonably squared corners. I am in a high-wind area, so I weighted the 2x6s with concrete blocks, and had no trouble, but I am sure a really high windstorm could overcome the concrete blocks.

So far, so good. I am storing the plastic covering this winter, and see no reason why it won't last for years. How well it would hold up in our winters, I don't know. That is a question you might want to ask the company. I can say that I saw no sign of yellowing or cracking or anything else that would give me concern.
Cal Burns


Joined: Mar 23, 2011
Posts: 102
Thanks.
Being in Texas, sun exposure would be a concern. Would be putting it on a concrete slab.
Terri Matthews


Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 410
Location: Eastern Kansas
    
    3
It would cost a small fortune to heat my home made greenhouse mid-winter.

That being said, I started my greenhouse plants in September. The nights right now are in the 20's, and I have an assortment of greens to eat in my greenhouse, as well as radishes and pansys. I hope that the turnips will produce fat roots before cold shuts me down.

I do not know if greenhouses are permie or not, but it really is a lot of fun. And yes, I chose the site VERY carefully to get winter sun!
Fred Winsol


Joined: May 22, 2011
Posts: 155
Location: Sierras
I agree Paul... most greenhouses are romantic fantasies... I would encourage people to look for ATRIUMS or south/southwest sunroom extensions to their existing homes.
My own 2 cents worth on greenhouses is to build them with used patio doors (cheap - got mine for $5 at ReStore), and to be careful of snow loads, and sliding snow. I've got about 8 (3'x8') patio doors at some precarious horizontal angles on the south west side of my greenhouse addition to my passive solar home... and guess what? The snow slides off nicelyuntil it doesn't... and then it piles on the ground and curls back up... next summer I'm going to have dig in and 'lower' the ground around those areas.

You also need LOTSA thermal storage inside a greenhouse to dampen the overnite temperatures... in the 70's we used 55 gallon barrels filled with water... still works today.


Life is too important to take seriously.
Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 4110
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  58
Most of the downside issues regarding greenhouses are because people insist on putting plants in them all the damn time. Sometimes it's too hot and sometimes it's too cold. Sometimes there's so little light that the plants just sit there growing mold and fungus. I only intend to use mine for plants when that makes sense.

Season extenders
I intend to use greenhouses as season extenders for in the spring and fall. My materials costs for building greenhouses is close to nil. Most greenhouse spaces will be built against other structures so that I never have a glass wall facing North.

Heat of summer
During the hottest times of year, the greenhouses will be left with wall panels missing to prevent overheating. I'll use some for growing heat tolerant vegetables along with fish. The fish tanks will moderate temperatures. I expect to exchange quite a bit of water with larger bodies of water outside whenever temperatures become excessive. I'm not concerned with air temperature so much. 85°F is the hottest I've experienced at my place.

Overwintering fish, soldier fly larvae and composting
I'll probably raise black soldier fly larvae in the greenhouse which is used to keep warm water fish once outdoor temperatures drop below 70°F. Heat from the larvae will be useful at this time. Heat from composting would also be welcome at this time.

Firewood storage and drying
In winter, the greenhouse is a perfect spot to store firewood. Even in our damp wet environment the relative humidity in a properly vented greenhouse can be managed for wood drying. I won't handle firewood as individual pieces. Instead large containers will be moved in and out with either the tractor or the crane. So there won't be anything stacked against the glass.

Chicken pasture
I don't expect to go to great lengths trying to produce vegetables in the low light of midwinter. But the greenhouses will still have uses at this time. Free ranging chickens and other critters will have their housing built against the North wall of greenhouses.I'll probably manage the chicken coop greenhouse floor as a pasture from October through February. They can enjoy the daytime warmth but will be able to retreat to their well insulated wooden structures at night. The chickens would be kicked out in March when it's time to start garden plants.

They will also have access to the outdoors. Sometimes our lawns spring to life in midwinter. Whenever this happens the chickens will be run outside so that the lawn inside the greenhouse can recover. My dog used to spend hours lounging in an unused greenhouse on rainy winter days.

Winter workshop
During the winter, Vancouver Island gets plenty of rain and it's difficult to accomplish much outside. A big greenhouse which has been emptied of most plant related stuff can become a dry refuge for use as a workshop. Not everything will need to be removed since plant benches convert to workbenches. Even in midwinter we get about six hours per day when this would be a nice comfortable spot for a well-dressed person to work. So effectively the farm has much more indoor workspace during the winter. To me, this dry space is much more valuable than a little bit of kale or other winter crop that I might be able to squeeze from it. Greenhouses with nothing growing inside become dry as a chip rather quickly.

Seasonal storage
Unused greenhouses provide great storage space. Items which require protection from rain can be heaped into unused greenhouse space for the winter. By the time space is required for planting, these things can be stored outside again. I've never had a workshop that didn't sometimes require overflow space. During the winter the greenhouse provides this, and during the dry summer a patch of lawn would be just as suitable.


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Travis Philp
volunteer

Joined: Dec 28, 2009
Posts: 951
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
    
    8
Lori Leigh wrote:
I;m leaning towards scraping the whole project after reading these forums.



Have you looked into ... http://undergroundhousing.com/greenhouse_book.html
Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 4110
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  58
I have lived in many completely unheated spaces on Vancouver Island.

Although we don't get huge amounts of direct sunlight in the winter, I can assure you that sunrooms gather plenty of heat during our winters. Whenever I get a demolition job which contains a south facing sunroom, I make that my temporary home. They often get warm enough to dry laundry. I've had several of them reach temperatures of 80°F in December. A properly managed sunroom can add plenty of heat during the period roughly between 10 AM and 3 PM on mild days.

The first job I tackle is to chop down all of the trees which many fools allow to grow immediately south of their sunroom. I would guess that about 75% of the sun spaces I've encountered have been compromised by trees. Many of these are quick growing varieties which weren't present when the structure was built.

Of course they cool off at night, which is why it's important to have a way of closing the space off from the rest of the house whenever it's not supplying heat.

It would not make economic sense to try to grow plants year-round in most greenhouses or sunrooms, but if managed properly they can extend the season on both ends for plants and then these rooms can be emptied for the winter, turning that space into a useful solar collector for several hours on most days. We had one near Ladysmith which was often used as living space in the winter with no supplemental heating. On warm days it added heat to the house. It was closed off during cold weather but even then provided a thermal buffer.

The amount of available light also varies according to altitude and distance from the ocean. I'm on high ground 8 miles from Nanaimo on a south facing slope with unobstructed southern exposure. Quite often my place is in sunshine when all of the towns along the coast are in dull overcast conditions.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

HUMMING BIRDS. On a totally separate note, sometimes hummingbirds find their way into unused greenhouses and sunrooms and are unable to find their way out.

I have found two dead one's and I've also found at least five that were still alive but completely out of energy. I revive them with sugar water. You know a hummingbird is near the end when he's easy to catch in your hand or just sits there while being handled. After a good drink of sugar water they are able to fly off in search of other food.

For those with many hummingbirds it might be a good idea to provide a feeder inside the structure. If they are able to eat they are likely to eventually find the opening before running out of energy. Alternatively, screens could be used to ensure that birds are unable to enter.
Rick Freeman


Joined: Jan 08, 2012
Posts: 102
Location: NW Montana, Hardiness Zone 4b
http://www.sunnyjohn.com/indexpages/shcs.htm

Rick Freeman

Interface Forestry, l.l.c. http://interfaceforestry.com
rick@interfaceforestry.com
Kris Thompson


Joined: Jan 20, 2012
Posts: 4
Like everything else in life, one needs to learn how to use a greenhouse.

Clearly the people who were going to build a greenhouse in the dense shade of evergreens weren't even competent gardeners in the first place. A greenhouse is an advanced gardening structure, and people should be competent gardeners before undertaking the additional complexity of growing under a permanent, weather-altering structure.

I'm loving the *@#$& outta my 20'x24' hoophouse. I was an experienced gardener to begin with (and I put it in a sunny location!) but it's still a learning experience....

How to deal with burrowing varmints (shrews, mice, voles)
dealing with insects--aphids, cabbage "worms", cutworms, cucumber beetles...
dealing with heat in summer (venting ain't enough in Nebraska). I bought shade netting late last year to try out this summer.
managing the soil for maximum production
VERTICAL GROWING!!! (just installed aircraft cable runs midsummer)--it's a revolutionary improvement!!!
how to space your growing beds, when to plant, how to water, etc....

I'm deliriously happy with my hoophouse. I don't think I'd ever want a glass greenhouse--they present additional burdens like building permits (and the additional real estate tax) in most areas, and though double-paned glass can be an adequate insulator, the effect of the sash DECIMATES insulation values. Why pay the additional costs then?

No, it's a hoophouse for me, now and forever. I want nothing more.

It's only my third winter with the house (the first winter was largely lost since the house got installed the last possible moment before snow flew). So that winter it just overwintered some kale, parsley, and perennial cutting starts. Plus, I had to compost away all the tough turf grass that was under the hoophouse.

First summer was spent largely dealing with the tough turf grasses and green manuring. The tough grasses were layered over with corrugated cardboard and mulch. Areas that were soft enough to be turned (not many in the clay soil) were succession-planted with buckwheat to break up the tough clay. A few monster tomato plants also grew there and produced bountiful harvests.

By fall some areas could be planted for a few overwintering crops--onion family, Egyptian walking onion, more perennial holdovers, kale, parsley, etc.

Last year the soil was finally ready for large-scale planting. Basil, lettuce, kale, kohlrabi, spinach, turnip greens, peas, cucumbers, gobs of tomatoes, green beans, and very happy pepper plants. We are still harvesting carrots, daikon radish, parsley, green onion, and kale. Next winter we'll add more root crops and spinach (this year we had too many tomatoe vines to plant the winter crops).

It's all an intense learning experience.

Oh, and I live in zone 5b, Nebraska. It's a sunny 20 degree day outside, and in the hoophouse the temps are in the 50s. (On an overcast day, there is not quite the same heat gain of course!)
Nick Kochis


Joined: Jan 20, 2012
Posts: 8
finished my greenhouse around thanksgiving...its not really passive solar, I have a small heater that I kick on at night when it gets in the single digits and the fan, but the thought is there...I should be harvesting my first greens this weekend im pretty psyched
http://www.yourgardenshow.com/users/kicknochis/gardens/passive-solar-greenhouse
Rick Freeman


Joined: Jan 08, 2012
Posts: 102
Location: NW Montana, Hardiness Zone 4b
Nick, what hardiness zone do you live in?
Nick Kochis


Joined: Jan 20, 2012
Posts: 8
5b, northeast pennsylvania
Rick Freeman


Joined: Jan 08, 2012
Posts: 102
Location: NW Montana, Hardiness Zone 4b
It's a nice-looking little building! I'm thinking that you'll be able to feed yourself greens out of it all winter long. A friend of mine in Missoula (Montana) grows greens in this coldframe (outside, of course) all winter. Also, I'll bet that with some ground heat exchange you wouldn't even need the heater. But, that would involve a PITA retrofit. Have you considered a little rocket stove with the outlet run under a bed? I've been thinking that a rocket stove would work well with a greenhouse.
Rick Freeman


Joined: Jan 08, 2012
Posts: 102
Location: NW Montana, Hardiness Zone 4b
BTW, what angle is the glass? It looks like it's angled to maximize fall/spring sun - maybe a little closer to to winter. Is that correct?
Nick Kochis


Joined: Jan 20, 2012
Posts: 8
Thanks Rick. It's around 60 degrees, 58 I think. It maximizes winter sun I found a cool application online somewhere that prints out the suns path for a given lat/long I'll see if I can find it later. I was actually planning on putting a rocket heater on the back wall with a brick bench but I ran into a bunch of barrels so I thought I'd give the passive solar set up a try. It gets super hot on sunny days around 100 and I have a vent that kicks on and I saw a post a few days ago from Toby heme way in a thread on here that describes a design at CRMPI where they vent that hot air through the ground. I was thinking I could possibly set something up where I send the hot air through a battery on the wall or maybe through the barrels?
Rick Freeman


Joined: Jan 08, 2012
Posts: 102
Location: NW Montana, Hardiness Zone 4b
Nick, no need to dig up that link on solar tracking. I was just wondering what day you chose to optimize angle. (Any given angle optimizes solar input for mid-day two days a year.)

Re. the CRMPI design, here's the link: http://www.sunnyjohn.com/indexpages/shcs.htm
Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 4110
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  58
I'm in a south facing,well insulated room at 1pm. This house is slated for demolition and the heat has been off for days. Outdoor temperature is 7C. Indoors It's 24C . Converts to 44F and 75F . Two doors connect to main body of house. One has been open all day.


[Thumbnail for IMAG0794.jpg]

Rick Freeman


Joined: Jan 08, 2012
Posts: 102
Location: NW Montana, Hardiness Zone 4b
Hmmm... 45°f inside, 75°f outside. That's impressive. BTW, is a that a hardwood-floor I'm seeing there? Is it salvageable? How about the windows?
Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 4110
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  58
Ya got that bass ackwards Rick. The windows are single pane which works best for peak gain in mild climates. The floor unfortunately is crappy plastic over crapwood laminate. But there's lots of other good salvage.
Rick Freeman


Joined: Jan 08, 2012
Posts: 102
Location: NW Montana, Hardiness Zone 4b
LOL, you're so right!! Didn't even notice. LOL. Thanks.
richard valley


Joined: Aug 18, 2011
Posts: 195
Location: Sierra Nevada mountain valley CA, & Nevada high desert
Greetings, I'm pleased to have found this site. Our mountain home/ranch is at 6800ft in a valley in the Sierra Nevada range. There is no growing in winter. There is at times only the upper part of the greenhouse sticking out of the snow. But we are able to supply all our greens for the family plus belpeppers, tomatos, parsley, greenbeans, lettice, beetgreens or maybe I should say reds and a number of others that never came ripe without the this wonderful building. We used wood and plastic. It is supprising what we can grow.



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I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
 
subject: greenhouse suck factor
 
cast iron skillet 49er

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