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Thread: Possible Small Greenhouse? Advice?

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    Possible Small Greenhouse? Advice?

    Ok, so I'm wondering whether it is possible to build just a small outdoor greenhouse type environment. Currently, but my house at home and my house here at school (Senior in college) are lacking in indoor growing room. However, I have a very large backyard here at school as well as a girlfriend heavily involved with a Solar House competition team here on campus. Both these constraints lead me to wanting to build just a small covered contraption outside for growing sundews mostly.

    I've seen some designs of plastic covered PVC piping that can make fairly small enclosures. I've been reading some books from the campus library and talking with my grilfriend, and I'm lead to believe a small covered enclosure with buckets of water in it will both help to hold in heat as well as provide humidity.

    I really have no set plans except I would like it to be as small as possible without being pointless, as well as inexpensive.

    Any advice or input is both welcome and greatly appreciated,

    Kyle (vbkid)

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    Not really I am Bob's Avatar
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    Do you have any specific dimensions? depending on how big it is, you could build one out of PVC very cheaply. I built a similar thing made out of PVC and contractors plastic for about $80 and it still has plenty of room for plants.
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    I actually don't need a very big one at all, I plan on just using it to grow some plants from seed for fun. My main worry was that a small one possibly wouldn't really help with increasing the temps/humidity, but I don't know if that is a rational fear or not. But yea, a small one from PVC and plastic would be awesome if it would actually be viable for growing my plants in.

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    PVC and plastic will work. The PVC is very light and needs to ba anchored in high wind areas. The plastic will only last a couple of years at most. You can buy portable greenhouse for fairly cheap 100-300. The plastic covering will last longer and they come with all the anchors needed. Just google portable greenhouses and you'll get a ton.
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    you could also look into protabale grow racks. there are covered versions. juliana makes a small 2 tier rack. just an idea.

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    could you fill up the pvc pipes with something more dense? like sand?
    " You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." -Inigo Montoya
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    If you could, it would definitely help to hold in heat throughout the night too.

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    I don't think there'd be enough thermal mass in a PVC frame to do much temperature buffering, no matter what you fill it with. The mass of the greenhouse interior is cubic relative to size; the mass of the frame is linear. Except at extremely small sizes, there's orders-of-magnitude less space inside the frame elements when compared to the total volume of the greenhouse.
    Filling the pipes with sand for weight is an interesting idea, but I don't think it would be good for durability. Under snow or a heavy wind, a lot of pressure gets loaded onto a relatively small amount of pipe. Further weighing it down - or filling it with something that doesn't compress and flex - is just a greater strain.
    Why not use wood? It can be intimidating, but from what I've seen it's way cheaper, hands down. I've built coldframes and greenhouses out PVC and aluminum electrical conduit, and am now planning my first set of wooden benches/coldframes after my carpenter friend helped me crunch the numbers. You can whip together a PVC greenhouse for about half to quarter of the price of a wooden one, but the wooden construction will last you five times as long. Besides which, if you take your time and do it right, you'll end up with something much nicer looking than anything else you'd come up with at a similar price.
    Actually, smaller enclosures will net you a greater increase in temperature and humidity, but the changes will also be more violent because you've got less mass to buffer incoming heat from the sun. But are you really sure you'll need extra heat or humidity? Missouri isn't exactly the most desolate climate. I think you might be surprised at how much heat and moisture is already there when you put up some walls and stop the air from moving.
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