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Building A Greenhouse

Shaun Stuto


Joined: Sep 16, 2010
Posts: 3
Location: Missoula, MT
I have an outdoor dog kennel sized 6'x6'x12' and I believe it would make a great structure for building a greenhouse. Has anyone attempted something like this? Could I simply use plastic and zip tie it to the kennel and use it as a greenhouse over the winter? I'm interested in organic gardening during the winter time. My crops this year didn't materialize. It was disappointing. We've managed to harvest a few summer squash and a couple cherry tomatoes but that is it. The vegetable plants grew to be quite large but never developed the volume of vegetables we would have liked. Thank you for any help. I was excited to find this forum through facebook.


People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing.. that's why we recommend it daily.- Zig Ziglar

I am a Missoula Chiropractor and the founder/owner of Transformation Chiropractic in Missoula, MT.
Jami McBride
volunteer

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 1779
    
  10
Yes you can use the frame of the dog kennel/run for your green house. 
You didn't mention if it had a roof, but if not you could use the transparent corrugated roofing material.  And clear visqueen plastic on the sides.

As for your poor showing this summer - check the minerals in your soil.  You may want to do a soil test, or at the least speak with neighbors and others about the minerals most commonly added to your area.

In this new green house use plenty of compost, manure and minerals =(rock dust, dolomite = (calcium and magnesium) fish meal or cotton seed meal, etc.) and you'll have a much better showing 

All the best....
Shaun Stuto


Joined: Sep 16, 2010
Posts: 3
Location: Missoula, MT
Thank you! Great information. The kennel does not have a roof but your idea for corrugated plastic is great. Never thought of that. Any place local that it would be good to buy from?

As far as my soil, I purchased compost from the compost yard behind walmart and added organic potting soil and organic plant food to the dirt. I grew most in pots. I did transplant some to the ground and they are doing better.

Where would I get the soil tested?

Perhaps I needed more than just the dirt from the compost yard. Did i need to mix it with something else? Great info!
Jami McBride
volunteer

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 1779
    
  10
Um... you haven't said where you are so I'm not sure about 'local'.

I have had pour results growing veggies in really big pots, but good results in open-bottom raised beds 8'x4'.  So I wouldn't recommend containers with bottoms.

Your local extension office will be able to help you with soil testing.  Use 411 to get their number.

You cannot depend that stuff you buy (or get) is going to have all the nutrients your plants require.  In fact it's easier to amend your own soil as at least you 'know' what's in there.  I cannot speculate on what you should do to this compost you got..... know way for me to know what's in there.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
sure what a great idea !


Brenda

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


Joined: Sep 17, 2010
Posts: 1
Since the plants were large (and I presume healthy with no serious pest problems), the issue could be too much nitrogen or not enough phosphorous.  You say that you used an organic fertilizer but didn't say what it was.  It should list somewhere on the label the NPK ratio.  This stands for Nitrogen-Phosphous-Potassium.  Nitrogen is critical for plant growth but an abundance will lead to large amounts of foliage with little or no flowers that ultimately become fruit.  Phosphorous is the element most important to flowering.  Potassium helps root growth and is important for all plants but especially for tubers, bulbs, etc.  My understanding is that a good ratio for encouraging blooming is 1:2:1.

Besides compost which is always beneficial, try adding some seaweed extract.  It has a good ratio that will encourage flowering and also has lots of trace minerals that are important for overall plant health. It can also be used for foliar feeding, eg applying directly to the leaves.  So can compost tea. 
Jami McBride
volunteer

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 1779
    
  10
Some organic sources for phosphorus are: bone meal and rock phosphate. If you can find them, fish bone meal and soy husks are other good sources. And then there is compost - Composted yard waste and manures generally provide all the phosphorus normally required by most plants in most soils and if applied in excess, can create an oversupply.

Some food sources have pretty high levels of phosphorus naturally - banana peels, crab shells, shrimp peelings, most grains and nuts - and these should all be added to compost when available. Meats, poultry, eggs and dairy products are also phosphorus-rich.

Are you at information overload yet    Hang in there, gardening is like baking, you just have to develop your own feel and rhythm through practice.
Pat Black


Joined: Dec 20, 2009
Posts: 123
Location: Northern New Mexico, USA
we don't know where you are, so here's some advice that may or may not apply. If you are in snow country your kennel will not support a roof full of snow. An angled roof will shed snow best. you might have to heat during snow storms just to melt it off so there's no accumulation.

regardless of where you are, the wind loads are going to be big. Be sure your greenkennel is securely anchored so it doesn't collapse or blow away in the wind.

big plants with no fruits is classic excess nitrogen.

                          


Joined: Sep 08, 2010
Posts: 25
His signature states he is in Missoula.
Pat Black


Joined: Dec 20, 2009
Posts: 123
Location: Northern New Mexico, USA
missoula?! he'd have to heat it to melt the snow off during every storm. the pipes used for a kennel are not structural. also, it's too late to start anything for winter harvest without supplemental light and heat. crops will germinate, but just sit there doing little until the end of february.  may as well wait until february and sow the crops then.
Shaun Stuto


Joined: Sep 16, 2010
Posts: 3
Location: Missoula, MT
WOW! I am new to the forum and haven't checked it in a few days. You guys are amazing! Who was it that mentioned information overload? I'm following along but I see I have a lot to work on.

As far as greenhouses in snow. I was under the impression that they still work. Is this incorrect.

The organic plant food was from Walmart. The only organic food they have. The name is slipping my mind. Before I plant this next year, I am going to do all that has been recommended so far. You folks are outstanding.
                        


Joined: Sep 13, 2010
Posts: 148
Location: South Central Idaho
With no roof .. make one 12' side three feet higher with posts .. you don't want a flat roof in snow load country .. stack hay bales around the sides also and run some power out there if you want heat. The Electrical Dept at some stores have electricians believe it or not as managers and they will lay out the complete professional way to run your power out and show you if you ask .. how to connect each wire and insulate. Make the supply wire big enough for the length of line.

I take ---- soil in Idaho and just add horse manure. If the first year isn't getting off to a good start .. use more Nitrogen. I also bought Texas Red Wigglers for their ability to eat manure and thrive .. I top dress trees, roses, flower beds .. this time of year and add some hay on top for cover .. makes them very happy come spring.


If you get too far from the stone age .. things go haywire.
Jami McBride
volunteer

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 1779
    
  10
They will work in cold/snow climates but you will have to address some issues.

In the winter sun hours are diminished, so blocking any light becomes counter productive - this let light in, but keep it warm is one of the issues to address.  I recommend you read up on greenhouses here by doing a search.  You will glean much good info.

Cold sinks - so are your beds going to be raised, shelf style.... and then maybe you can do hot composting under them to help with warmth.  Or maybe place your GH against your house's south facing wall, or other ideas like these to address the cold issue. 

Light - are you going to need to supplement the light, in some dark regions this will be the case.  You will want to look into winter daylight hours for your region.

There are elements to consider and plan for when considering a GH.  What I'm saying is, just having a greenhouse isn't going to address the issues, you still have to do that yourself.  If you see what I mean.

Any greenhouse has four basic requirements:

    * Warmth: a heating system (mechanical or natural)
    * Moisture: an irrigation system (manual or automated)
    * Protection: from the elements and pests
    * Control: of air circulation and temperature (with electrical systems or by manual maintenance)
 
 
subject: Building A Greenhouse
 
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