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Old 11-22-2010, 01:25 AM   #10
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Join Date: Dec 2008

My greenhouse has been nuthin but trouble. Everything that could go wrong went wrong and to make you feel better.... mine was professionally designed. I started out with a cedar and glass structure.... looked like a million bucks until I kept passing out in it. Turns out I'm allergic to cedar and pine.... split my head open really good once even with all the roof vents open and the fans on so he took it down... he literally took it down. He gave me a new aluminum framed poly greenhouse with surgical steel grow tables and benches. The only things we saved from the 1st greenhouse were my furnaces, my swamp cooler, my fans, the exhausts and the intakes which made the greenhouse I had 1st not a total loss I guess. Everything else went and that included all my pine and cedar benches, shelves, and potting stations. We gave them away. The replacements are surgical steel or stainless steel and they're on poured concrete. If you're interested in that route I'd check old restaurant supply houses since most of what's used in restaurants works in a greenhouse. I'll spare you everything that went wrong but it's because of the problems I've been having that I went online and ran into those converted warehouses. If you've got a "freebie" greenhouse like you and me.... there's always something we can do with them even if it's just using them as expensive over-sized cold frames. Yours doesn't have the greatest siting from what I've read but I don't really think that matters one bit since it's not like you're gonna be growing rare tropical orchids in there or anything and even if a greenhouse is sited perfectly.... there's still micro climates inside all over the place. Keeping them cooled down in summer is a trick.... you'd need shade cloth and good ventilation and a swamp cooler would be a big help but they're sorta expensive and I'd think for veggies those would all be planted outside by late spring anyway so I for sure wouldn't incur the expense of cooling it down in summer.... let it cook. Anywhoooo... maybe you can't ever grow veggies year round through the dead of winter but you can sure as heck shoot for that goal and even if you don't make it you'll still extend your growing season big time. I'm thinking I'd start by stacking up bales of hay or straw on the outside of that north wall over winter. You can buy a few sheets of that pink foam board insulation and just set it up on the outside then stack the bales up against it. If you think it looks bad for those coupla months maybe toss a tarp or 2 over it and tell everyone it's firewood? I know you wanted it to look attractive from that side but you're gonna have to do something about that north wall. I think philip nailed it on the head about heat loss to the ground. I know we've got some sort of an insulating tarp over the gravel and directly under the poured concrete. I have no ideas about what you can do except maybe make a call to FarmTek and see if they have a product. I wouldn't buy it.... I'd just suck their staff engineers' brains for ideas. You might want to look into composting in the 4 corners of your greenhouse. Maybe 4 55-gallon drums? Compost radiates a surprisingly decent amount of heat. I'm sure you can go online and find folk keeping their greenhouses toasty warm using cow manure. I thought about solar and checked into glauber's salt 4 yrs ago. I ended up ditching that idea and I can't remember why.... I'd have to ask my husband if you're interested since he's the one who nixed the idea plus getting your hands on glauber's salt is like next to impossible in the US and who wants to make their own? Not me. I like your water wall idea. Maybe you can pick up some more ideas here, Solar Greenhouse Resources. I know the glass on my 1st greenhouse was "treated". I forgot what was special about it... it's been a couple years and I've got poly now. You're still glass and you're gonna lose heat through that once the weather turns so maybe check into if you could duct tape up plastic sheeting on the inside to help or maybe there's some sort of a film you could buy especially for glass used in greenhouses that could help keep some of the heat in. I dunno but they seem to have a product for everything and glass greenhouses are pretty common so there's got to be other folk losing heat through their glass. I think there's ways to cut corners just about everywhere with a greenhouse but... don't cut corners on the ventillation. You do need at least one intake and exhaust and probably 6 fans to keep the air moving in there. Roof vents would be a good idea too but you can probably get around buying those if you stick to veggies. You know.... hazelnut had a boatload of greenhouses so I bet she can give you more ideas than me.
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