My setup is an indoor greenhouse also. http://www.amazon.com/GrowLab-Hortic.../dp/B003E739PO . It's around 5 ft by 5ft, bout 6.5 ft high. Works great, lots of room, highly reflective inside. Has plenty of vents and the sides zip open for easy access or one side can open up completely to allow walk in access. It has clear windows also that can covered to keep it 'light-tight'. I like it, but I have found it a challenge to properly balance humidity with temps as I have so many lights in there since it is so big. If it were smaller I would get away with less light and thus cooler temps. If one could afford it, it is compatible with ventilated grow light systems, that would make it much easier to control temps.
Well both of you got nice greenhouse setup there. This are the setups which are long lasting and can be used in any seasons without any hesitation.One of my friend had also prepared a greenhouse setup himself up til now we were using that setup but now i think to change over someone.
The Grow Labs are not good for high-humidity environments... they don't hold in humid air very well, so you have to overcompensate with more output on your humidifier or misters or whatever method you may use. With a grow lab and other similar models you will also have to run the lights inside the tent which will create over-heating problems and the lights will rust with the humidity requirement.
As Travis pointed out, water/moisture managment is a huge concern. You will have condensation building up on the sides of your indoor greenhouse and water running out of your plants' pots, there are many ways to solve this problem, but it is a huge consideration. You will want to lay down a good partition between your houses floor and the greenhouse floor. Maybe do a few layers of EPDM rubber or pond liner. Also have a catch tray for the water that passes through your pots that is easily drain-able. A kerosene siphon can also be used to empty the tray easily.
The best thing you can do is keep your plants and the humidity bubble contained in an enclosure, keep the lights and other electronics outside of that environment so they don't rust and over-heat your area.
I have been using the portable plant houses since last year and really like them. They are super cheap, super portable, and they have a transparent / water proof cover so I can keep the lights separate from the plants. Prior to using this current method I have experienced all other methods: terrariums, orchidariums, full blown greenhouses, grow labs/tents, grow racks, custom made chambers, etc. and keeping the plants separate from the electronics is a big take away.
Here are the flowerhouses I am referencing, various sizes for what you may need:
This company makes a lot of different sizes for your needs and the are more durable then the early 90's styled pictures lead you to believe. I did a quick sketch of what I would do in your shoes:
I would build a wood frame out of pressure treated 2x4s and line the inside of the wood with a rubber lining maybe a few layers. Get a nice high output light fixture 200W plus and run it over top. I would also pipe in a humidifier from the side, and run a fan on the inside, or cut a whole in the top and have the fan positioned in that hole to exhaust the heat inside.
If Temp drops are a concern with the plants you are growing, run a cheap a/c window unit into the side that is hooked up to a thermostat. You will be positioned to grow anything in this setup.
Just a thought.
its a dam shame that the plastic on those houses isn't transparent. would be nice to see the plants more clearly thorugh the material
Very informative post, Mike. I'll be considering this for future projects.
Truth as Circe. Error has transformed animals into men; is truth perhaps capable of changing man back into an animal?
Nice information there regarding the portable plant house there. You have provide nice and informative information here which inspired me and the beginners like me a lot.
Personally, I'd stay away from the ones that aren't 4ft wide. 4ft fixtures are the "standard" size and anything else costs more because there's less demand for and therefore less production of them. The difference can vary depending on type of fixture, but sometimes a 2ft fixture is literally more expensive than a 4ft fixture, not just more expensive per watt or however else you want to look at it. So yeah, I recommend going with a 4ft chamber, if you have the room. The standard ones most use are the 6'h x 4'l x 18"w ones you can pick up most anywhere that sells the sort of thing. While they ARE metal and they WILL rust, it seems a slower process than one might expect. I've been using one in particular for a few years now with little rust. If you're especially concerned about it, you can spray paint it. But that'll allow you to stick two 2-bulb, 4ft T8 fixtures from most any hardware store over each shelf, which is more than sufficient for the majority of plants (T5s are, of course, better, but they're also significantly more expensive). You can go as cheap as wrapping 3 sides of it up in one or more space blankets (for reflectivity) and a vinyl shower curtain for the front, assuming you want to be able to see into it when it's all closed up. You can also go the more expensive route and use either foil-covered foam boards or foil-covered bubble wrap, both of which you can find in the insulation areas of hardware or home improvement stores.
As far as heat, yes, it will get pretty warm in there if you don't figure out some way for air exchange. What some of us with cooler winters do (myself included, and I know at least swords does the same) is just pump cool air from a window into the chamber as many months as the weather will allow (for me, this is like 10 months out of the year). If ambient temps are cool enough, such as in a basement environment, you can also just pump air in from outside the chamber. If heat turns out to be a REAL big problem for you, you can also relocate the ballasts in the light fixtures - move them outside the chamber, they're the primary source of heat in a T8 fixture. As far as air movement goes, those little clip-on fans would be great for this type of setup.
As mass noted (and this goes for any indoor setup, not just the big metal rack ones), you will indeed want some way to protect your floors from moisture. And if you have the thing pushed right up against a wall, make CERTAIN that no moisture is sneaking out behind the chamber and hanging out between the wall and the chamber, 'cause that is a very quick way to destroy that section of drywall.
Basically, if I were you, I'd build a miniature version of my greenhouse (which can be seen in the build thread in my sig) using just one rack instead of 6. I, personally, feel that's about as sturdy and versatile a setup as a 4' x 18" footprint will give you. I love the flower house concept mksmith posted about, but if I'm imagining it right, you only get one "layer" of plants since if you used some sort of rack, the plants on the top would prevent light penetration to the lower levels. So going 6 feet high with 5 shelves ends up giving you 30 square feet to grow stuff in a 6 square foot footprint.
Kyle, to fix the issue with lighting in mk's system you could probably just stick a couple cfls inside the greenhouse.
You certainly could, yes, but then you're defeating the purpose of keeping the lights outside the enclosure, lol. And the "lower-layer" plants would probably have to be ones that don't mind relatively dim lighting, unless you cram a good few of those things in there, which is also very feasible, but again, the purpose is defeated. >.<