paul wheaton wrote:I think that a greenhouse is an excellent idea for about 18% of the greenhouses that exist. The weird thing is that so many greenhouses strike me as stupid.
Last year I was asked for my advice on a greenhouse location. These people had dreams of eating veggies in the winter. I pointed out that the trees to the south were conifers that were so dense that their greenhouse would be in the shade all winter. They labeled me a "negative nelly" and built their precious greenhouse. On a bright sunny day in november at about 10:30 in the morning I pointed out how their greenhouse was not only in the shade, but it would be lucky to get 15% of the available direct sunlight throughout the day. And it would only be worse for the next two months.
A similar thing a few years back. With similar outcome.
I suspect that half of all greenhouses built are built in the winter shade. And the days are already so short then - blocking even half of the light is gonna make for a really lame crop.
Another thing about greenhouses is that you have split yourself away from the eco system. By having a greenhouse at all, you are filling in the position of mother nature. Everything that mother nature does to keep things in balance, you now have to do. So when fungus or bugs or anything gets out of hand, it is now your job to deal with it.
I guess I felt the need to start this thread because everybody knows the upsides (food in winter) but very few people appear to be aware of the downsides. Deep understanding of the downsides helps to mitigate them or at least decide to not put a lot of money and effort into something that, in the end, won't be worth it.
Just because I may be a negative nelly doesn't mean that these issues are less true.
Anybody else have greenhouse issues that they would like to warn future greenhouse builders about?
Lyvia Dequincey wrote:But why not trees in a greenhouse? Where did the food forest idea go?
So I think that the guilds and food forests of permaculture are a ways from hothouse tomatoes, but there has to be middle ground. What permie ideas work well in a greenhouse?
Gwen Lynn wrote:If I lived up north (been there, done that), I don't think an ordinary greenhouse would be enough for me. I would NEED my own, personal, human sized terrarium! Complete with skylights, a waterfall, indoor pool and greenhouse area for overwintering tropical plants, starting seeds, etc.
Dado Scooter wrote:I see a possible greenhouse in the future, but it would be seasonal and passive heated. The concept of passive heating and cooling was lost on my chemical farming parents, but I believe there's a way to keep my citrus from frost and grow tomatoes in the winter easily in my mild climate.
John F Dean wrote:I have a high tunnel that sees regular use. After a few years with it, I have decided that it is too much of a pain to use in July and August. I suspect I will end up with a similar view with Jan and Feb. But, for this winter, I intend to fight the good fight. That said, it is great for fresh crops in the early spring and late fall. We have fresh salads up to Christmas.