Greenhouse tips?

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Brent S

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I've been learning to grow vegetables for about four years now, and am still a novice but am getting better each year. I live in the south east and we got a tremendous amount of rain this year, so not only mine, but everyone's garden was pretty bad this season. I had made a little 4'x12' greenhouse a while back, and only planted 2 tomatoes in it, but they have produced great, and still are. I think my garden produced about 4 tomatoes, compared to dozens from those 2protected plants. So after seeing real results first hand, I'm building a greenhouse. I found a deal on some galvanized pipe and have the frame up for a 18'x21' enclosure. I think I'll have raised beds to help my back out as I get older, will have a thermastat controlled fan, and am using chicken manure and rabbit pellets for fertilizer. I have two creeks and a plastic septic tank for water storage too, but even with all this, I realize there is nothing better than real world experience. Has anyone out there got any experience with a greenhouse, and have any pointers or warnings of mistakes?
 

jimLE

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i have a greenhouse that i built.it's 8 feet by 10 feet...and i used a roll of plastic for the walls and roof.i learned from it on what to do and not do..mainly when it comes to the materials and roof..next one i build will be at least 12 by 16..with fiber glass panels for the roof ..and pvc panels for the walls..and hopefully some sort of water storage tank to water the plants with eventuly..

.P.S. chicken manure is a great idea.i used some in the sitting area i have..the grass there is doing better now
 

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I've been learning to grow vegetables for about four years now, and am still a novice but am getting better each year. I live in the south east and we got a tremendous amount of rain this year, so not only mine, but everyone's garden was pretty bad this season. I had made a little 4'x12' greenhouse a while back, and only planted 2 tomatoes in it, but they have produced great, and still are. I think my garden produced about 4 tomatoes, compared to dozens from those 2protected plants. So after seeing real results first hand, I'm building a greenhouse. I found a deal on some galvanized pipe and have the frame up for a 18'x21' enclosure. I think I'll have raised beds to help my back out as I get older, will have a thermastat controlled fan, and am using chicken manure and rabbit pellets for fertilizer. I have two creeks and a plastic septic tank for water storage too, but even with all this, I realize there is nothing better than real world experience. Has anyone out there got any experience with a greenhouse, and have any pointers or warnings of mistakes?
Gardening, as I have mentioned in other threads about the site, does not work for me for a couple of reasons.
  1. I have no place to plant, as I am in a condo with zero dirt.
  2. Barely any rain.
  3. My patio has almost no direct sunshine. I am sure this would be problematic.
I am open to any suggestions anyone may have for resolving these issues.
 

Brent S

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Gardening, as I have mentioned in other threads about the site, does not work for me for a couple of reasons.
  1. I have no place to plant, as I am in a condo with zero dirt.
  2. Barely any rain.
  3. My patio has almost no direct sunshine. I am sure this would be problematic.
I am open to any suggestions anyone may have for resolving these issues.
I know lots of people that grow indoors in pots. There are some advantages also, like no bugs or diseases, they make your home more attractive, and is productive with ordinary fluorescent lighting. Granted, you may not produce enough to feed a family, but you can have fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs easily all year. By the way, have you tried one of walmarts tasteless tomatoes vs a fresh vine ripened one?
 

Brent S

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i have a greenhouse that i built.it's 8 feet by 10 feet...and i used a roll of plastic for the walls and roof.i learned from it on what to do and not do..mainly when it comes to the materials and roof..next one i build will be at least 12 by 16..with fiber glass panels for the roof ..and pvc panels for the walls..and hopefully some sort of water storage tank to water the plants with eventuly..

.P.S. chicken manure is a great idea.i used some in the sitting area i have..the grass there is doing better now
What do you grow that's been successful so far?
 

jimLE

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prickly pear cactus so far..i've started growing it for the juice that i can get from the flower.i've gotton a packet of tomato rutgers that i'll be planting when the time comes.gotta locate other seeds as well..
 

jimLE

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by the way..i built it orrigenly for poted plants in hanging baskets as well as flower pots..but if i can.it'll be a every thing greenhouse when i get a new one made
 

Brent S

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Yea! I got the fabric on my greenhouse today!!! It's not stretched and trimmed out yet but is mostly up now. Not a moment too soon, tomorrow night is supposed to be our first drop below freezing. I took two sorry looking tomatoes that were still clinging to life from my garden and transplanted them inside, along with 3 cucumber plants that just started growing on there own. I'm really looking forwards to seeing how much of the year I can keep stuff alive and producing. I'll try to do updates as I learn to manage this new growing environment to help anyone else wanting to give it a try.
 

jimLE

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good luck with the greenhouse and plants..and who knows,the tomato plant might do some good
 

Brent S

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I appreciate the encouragement, so far the tomatoes have survived the initial transplant, that's a good start! I bought the attic fan today too, will get it set up tomorrow.
 

Helen Back

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Does anyone use pt wood for their frame? I am going to build one, but I am not sure if I want to go metal studs, or pt. Wondering about the condensation affecting the wood, and offgases of the pt affecting the veggies.
 

Arcticdude

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Does anyone use pt wood for their frame? I am going to build one, but I am not sure if I want to go metal studs, or pt. Wondering about the condensation affecting the wood, and offgases of the pt affecting the veggies.
Thats a good question. I was planing on using rail road ties for the foundation and PT lumber for the frame.
 

Amish Heart

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We had rail road ties for raised beds and lumber frames for all our chicken runs and greenhouses when we lived in New Mexico. It's hot there in the summer, doesn't rain much, but cold and snow in the winter. They lasted just fine. Had more of a problem with tarping lasting and greenhouse plastic.
Now I have wired animal runs, in ground gardens, and greenhouse paneled panels. Better, but more expensive
 

Brent S

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I’ve used PT lumber just fine. The older stuff had more toxins than the new stuff. Of course it lasted longer too, but the new stuff is relatively safe and lasts a good while. RR ties aren’t wise to use. They have some nasty stuff used to preserve them. I’m meaning to change my solid covering to a perforated mesh when this one deteriorates. Letting rain help water the area just makes sense. Here in the south just having shade keep plants from burning makes a huge difference in production.
 

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Once the cows are gone this Fall I'll pull out the fence on the east side of the garden I'll clear the trees, brush and level a spot for the greenhouse. I'll use RR ties for the foundation and fill with pea gravel. I plan to frame the greenhouse out of 2×4 lumber and cover with polycarbonate panels. Other than the sill boards I won't need any PT lumber.
I think the wife wants the greenhouse to be 10×16. She wants some grow lights and a fan for ventilation, so I'll put up a few solar panels, inverter and battery bank for electric. Since the greenhouse wont be too far from the barn I could power the barn on this same solar setup. That would eliminate one generator from my fleet of generators.
 

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I have a greenhouse. It is great for starting things in the springtime but by May it is overwhelmingly too hot. So, in the summer, all that firewood which is not completely bone dry, left over from the previous winter, goes into the greenhouse. There is a vent in the roof and the door is open to get air flow. By October, it is very dry and outside it is windy and dry of it gets moved outside for a final drying and stacking.
 

MNwr786

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I have a greenhouse. It is great for starting things in the springtime but by May it is overwhelmingly too hot. So, in the summer, all that firewood which is not completely bone dry, left over from the previous winter, goes into the greenhouse. There is a vent in the roof and the door is open to get air flow. By October, it is very dry and outside it is windy and dry of it gets moved outside for a final drying and stacking.
You dont mind handling it twice? I burn way too much wood to move the pile. I try to stay a year ahead so everything cures nice. I just cover the top with a tarp and leave the sides wide open with almost enough space to walk through every 3 rows.

Could you add another support structure over the greenhouse to cover it with a thin ghillie netting or screen to diffuse the light and partially shade it? There should still be plenty of light to grow things and it might stay cooler.
 

Schattentarn

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You dont mind handling it twice? I burn way too much wood to move the pile. I try to stay a year ahead so everything cures nice. I just cover the top with a tarp and leave the sides wide open with almost enough space to walk through every 3 rows.

Could you add another support structure over the greenhouse to cover it with a thin ghillie netting or screen to diffuse the light and partially shade it? There should still be plenty of light to grow things and it might stay cooler.
It is very windy here sometimes so the netting (which we have tried) blew away. Twice????? I have to find it, cut it, haul it, unload it, sometimes cut again to length, split it, stack it and sometimes move small quantities closer to the house for my wife in a wheel barrow.
 

Arcticdude

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It is very windy here sometimes so the netting (which we have tried) blew away. Twice????? I have to find it, cut it, haul it, unload it, sometimes cut again to length, split it, stack it and sometimes move small quantities closer to the house for my wife in a wheel barrow.
How many cords do you burn through in a year?
 
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