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Thread: Kitkor's greenhouse

  1. #1
    Kitkor's Avatar
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    Kitkor's greenhouse

    Yep! Another greenhouse thread. Mine is similar to (if not the same as?) Pineapple's greenhouse, a simple 6' × 8' aluminum frame polycarbonate panel assemble-at-own-risk-of-constant-frustration kit that came in two boxes from Menard's. I wouldn't have considered getting it right now, but it was on sale with a rebate, so the price was about half what was advertised and my partner split the purchase with me, probably because he wanted to see the windowsills in the house again.



    ^ We put it up in May 2011 on a wooden footer. Two layers of weed barrier will hopefully keep them at bay. The floor is a narrow path of brick down the middle and gravel everywhere else. Then when I was away at a conference in New Orleans, my better half, Adam, put in an electrical line through conduit from the house. Our town has no residential building code - it was repealed in the 1970s, unfortunately - and he's rewired the whole house so he has a lot of experience, so there was no inspection required for the outdoor circuits. We did, however, have to apply for a permit to put the structure up and it had to be at least 5 feet away from the property lines. So be sure to check your local codes before you put up your own greenhouse, even if it's one of the all-assembly-required kinds from the big box home improvement stores.



    ^ August 2011! We chose to site it in the back corner of the yard where it will receive afternoon and evening sun. In this spot it is mostly protected from winter winds by the row of forsythia and the fence. The apple tree right next to it may become a problem later, but we'll keep it pruned.



    ^ We found some cheap heavy-duty shelves that I think were meant for basements and garages, but they work well here.



    ^ The inside.



    ^ The succulents were looking nice that day.



    ^ (October 2011) Heat loss is an issue with the thin polycarbonate panels here in Zone 5b, so I decided to wrap the interior in bubble wrap. You can get a decent amount of this from greenhouse suppliers. It's much tougher than the kind you can buy in office supply stores and the bubbles usually have a larger diameter. I got mine from here (scroll about two-thirds of the way down) along with the adhesive spray to keep it from falling down. Combined with a space heater and thermostat (shaded), the temperature never dropped below 39 °F, which was my goal.



    ^ Probably our largest snowfall in Ohio this year on 21 January 2012. We had a very mild winter, but even on the coldest nights, the space heater and insulation kept the greenhouse quite warm! The biggest problem I encountered when it snowed was with blowing snow; it got into the track of the door and refroze, preventing me from getting in without an ice pick! The winter was so mild that we didn't really notice any increase in the electric bill with the added usage from the space heater.

    In the summer, I keep a thermostat-controlled fan in the open vent and I will remove the insulation from the top. It's too much of a pain to remove it and put it back up on the sides and I don't think it will contribute to overheating too much in the summer. I may have to consider getting a small evaporative cooler for the really hot summer days since the fan just doesn't keep it cool. Shade cloth might help, as well.

    I'll be sure to keep this updated.

  2. #2
    mass's Avatar
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    *rubs chin deep in thought*

    Menard's? Really? I had no idea they even carried GH's.
    Ohio is literally an hour from here. So you've given me food for thought as a fellow zone 5'er.
    If you don't mind me asking, what was the final cost after the rebate?

  3. #3
    Not Growing Up! GrowinOld's Avatar
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    Ryan,
    Welcome to the world of "oven" ownership!
    A greenhouse is a world of extreme temps!
    Ours stays about 50 in the winter (up to 100+ in mid-winter when its real sunny out however!)
    and in summer it can get even hotter!
    However I have learned to use shading material, which I highly recommend as it helps a LOT!
    Most of my plants go outside in the summer anyway, but it was a learning experience for the first few years, to figure out the best way to deal with things. You may want to use foil wrapped foam insulation against the lower walls, where no real amount of sunlight comes in anyway. I do use barrels of rainwater as thermal mass, and water storage too, but then I have quite a bit of space in comparison.
    With the heater, it sounds like you are doing alright for the temperates. I have figured out where the cold spots & hot spots are, so learned where to put certain plants for good dormancy or a toasty place to rest.

    It is nice you had help paying for it, but it is hopeless! Getting a greenhouse only means that you are going to be able to get even MORE plants!

    You have a nice growing spot there. Hope it does well for you until you get an even larger one!
    Experience is the best teacher. At least it used to be.
    But then, common sense isn't so common anymore, is it.


    http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=113866

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    Brokken's Avatar
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    I'll never complain about working too hard on my GH!
    "There is no pain as great as being alive,
    no burden heavier than that of conscious life. "
    -Rubén Darío-

  5. #5
    Kitkor's Avatar
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    Mass: Yep! It was hard to track down a Menard's that had it in stock and I hit a lucky sale opportunity. I think it was somewhere around $300 after all told. But of course then there was the lumber, gravel, bolts, shelving, insulation, heater, thermostat, electrical conduit, etc. that all added on to the cost. I knew it meant a constant drain on my income, but I'm pleased with the experience so far.

    Paul: Thanks! I'm just beginning to learn about how it behaves. As we head into the second summer, I'm sure I'll have a better idea of what it needs. Thanks for the advice and ideas. The heater was probably the best investment, given the low temps I was expecting and how I'd like to avoid freezing pots solid.

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    UnstuckinTime's Avatar
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    What all are you planning to grow in there? I can see the succulents and Sarracenia and maybe a Drosera... any plans for Nepenthes or the like?
    "The plants you grow, end up growing you."


    My Grow List:
    http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=123995

  7. #7
    Kitkor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnstuckinTime View Post
    What all are you planning to grow in there? I can see the succulents and Sarracenia and maybe a Drosera... any plans for Nepenthes or the like?
    For the most part, Sarracenia, many of which I'm growing for NASC. I have plenty of Drosera as well. Nepenthes would unfortunately fry in the summer and freeze in the winter, although I did have two cuttings of Nepenthes 'Alata' that weathered the low temps just fine. They weren't happy about it, but they're not dead. The majority of the Neps are still on the south-facing windowsill inside the house.

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