I like my greenhouse. It's small, passive, built into a hill for additional thermal mass. It has a door on either side in the direction of the prevailing winds so on the hottest days it's seldom more than 5 degrees above the outside temperature. The roof actually faces north, so even in the summer the sun doesn't hit it directly. During the winter the sun hits the front wall straight on. In five (?) years of measuring it has never gotten below 20 f and only reached 20 when the outside temperature was in the single digits.
The first frost date (barring any unseasonal freeze, like last year when it hit the teens in September and I wasn't expecting it so the doors were still open) is the end of November. It's never frozen inside after March 1st. It does freeze a couple times a year, but that's a design flaw I think. I designed it myself, for the location. An eco system is gradually developing, making pest control a non-issue.
I have learned a lot in the building and use, so any future greenhouse would apply those lessons. If I got the chance to move to a larger place I would certainly be building another--site specific, and entirely passive. The glashaus to collect heat works well in the far north, or areas where it seldom gets above 60 degrees. Anywhere else it has to be modified for the location.
The "suck factor" isn't greenhouses as such--it's the cookie-cutter greenhouse designed for cold climates and aristocratic playtime. If you went into a desert property and tried to force it to grow tropical fruit without adjustment, would you blame the property for your failure? A greenhouse is no different.
Zone 5b/6a, alkaline soil, 12 inches of water per year. For now the goal is a water independent urban homestead with edible landscaping and food forest.
OK, I know this is an old thread, but I can't skip playing!
I am in the southern Willamette Valley in western Oregon - "the pacific north-wet".
About ten years ago my sister was throwing out one of those tarp garage deals that you see everywhere, all busted up.
just so happens, I have a raised bed garden about 9X19. just turned out that way from some high soil I leveled out.
10X20 tarp shelter fit right over it. I put some camo netting over it in late July for some of the stuff looking a little frazzled from the sun/heat.
it seemed to help.
Then somehow I ended up seeing a place on the internet about greenhouse tarps.
wow, had a valance top, end and sidewalls that fit!
so, I am due for new tarps next year - but - still eating red vine-ripened tomatoes - still have slicing cukes blooming and forming - the winter beets are looking fabulous,
( have you tried winter beets??- wow!)
sugar snap peas are going gangbusters, sweet potatoes are starting to wind down. regular potatoes won't quit. smaller onions are almost ready to harvest - going to wait until March to plant more walla-walla.
so far this start to winter, we have been down to 28 F twice, under 32 a few more times - and probably what (I feel) is helping the most is the two 55 gallon plastic food grade drums filled with water. I have some smaller water jugs around the base of the peas.
if we have as mild a winter as last year, I expect to be growing through the winter. I have dreams of a greenhouse to do my hydroponics - and I want to move into aquaponics, as I am a seafood-aholic.
I have plans to heat it with solar evac tubes hydronically, as well as part of the house - I inherited an 80 gallon water heater/dual exchange tank that will play in.
my ideal greenhouse would have automatic venting for when it gets hot, and sides that would open - manually - for May till the end of September. after ten years of the redneck greenhouse - I am one that will make use of a more solid one until I can't get out there any more.
from what I see, most of the ones not being used for anything except for storage- appears the people kinda thought it would be automatic - set plant and forget - and a month later- "this doesn't work". it is still a garden, and with the "eco-isolation" factor - ya still gotta tend it- maybe a little more, but the pay-off is great!
I can attest they do - although my current one is a glorified cold frame - but isn't that kind of what they should be?
and since I am in in the designing stage, this thread has been way cool for me - I am currently moving a building, making my much needed "water-shed" but greenhouse is probably next.
yes, I am one of the lucky ones with water problems in the pacific northwest. I am doing a bit of water catch for the garden, but most of my roofing is petroleum based - but every re-roof now is to steel.
open to ideas/ thoughts/tell me about potential mistakes - call me an idiot, I don't really care - I am eating nice veggies almost all year fresh out of the garden.
I early start after the occasional nasty cold winters shut it down for me, but only 3 of those in the last ten years.
my lettuce is only from the hydroponices - and it is easy - and the lettuce is crazy easy. there is a bucket build tutorial online for skeptics to try it - or like me - proof of concept - I am all in now!
Put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger, now he's dead, that tiny ad sure bled
Wood Gasifier Builder's Bible, Ben Peterson --ebook