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Thread: Your Dream (Green) House

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    A leuco by any other name would still be as gluttonous. CorneliusSchrute's Avatar
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    Your Dream (Green) House

    What would you consider to be absolutely necessary for a dream greenhouse?

    I don't have the finances to build such a structure, but I am looking for advice/things to know before beginning my first greenhouse before too long. In other words, what features have you found to be most essential and often used in your greenhouse?

    Some things that I have already considered for my structure:

    • the only flat space I have for the greenhouse is already gravel paved and measures about eight feet by twenty. It is a western exposure directly adjacent to my house, so I know that is not ideal.
    • my main intention is to overwinter temperate plants (Sarrs and VFTs) and get a head start on my veggie gardening this spring.
    • I plan to build with a pressure treated wood and greenhouse sheeting. I will need to accommodate a minimal snow load.
    • I will not actively head this greenhouse, but may look into head sinks of some sort.
    • I want to ventilate but don't know what works best.


    "Discuss amongst yourselves..."
    Corey Bennett

    My cultivated vegetation, carnivorous and otherwise...

    Formerly cbennett4041

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    Mine is all planned out. I just need a house, land, money, etc...

    It's a long pit dug into a hillside. One side is 6-8' tall, and the other is however tall I need to slope the roof ~55 degrees (20-25' maybe). The roof is panels of three-wall polycarbonate. The three buried walls are poured concrete or brick, while the remaining end can be opened like a barn. I'll have many 55 gallon barrels of water all connected together along the tall side as heat collectors (they'll be shaded in the summer). I'll pump the water through a long radiator buried behind the wall to disperse summer heat into the earth. In the winter I'll cover the roof at night (on the inside) with reflective curtains to keep the heat in. There'd probably be some sort of chimney system for pushing out hot air, or vents along the top of the tall side, and fans above the barn doors.

    That should keep my temperatures pretty manageable, but I'm sure I'd still need active swamp cooling and heating. How much, I don't really know.

    I say put whatever extra money it takes into the construction to take advantage of passive heating (solar) and cooling (earth). You'll make it back in energy savings and your plants will be safer in a catastrophic failure.

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    a conservatory with a pond and waterfall. frogs and fish are a must. tropical fruit trees surrounding with a footbridge across. orchid roots and nep vines dangling down at you and maybe even some small lizards scurrying around after insects

    add a comfortable lounge chair and some frozen drinks, heaven

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    Bonnie's Avatar
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    I would avoid the pressure treated wood and use redwood on any upper part of the structure cbennett. Pressure treated wood is treated with arsenic and lots of other lovely chemicals, and when exposed to lots of water and humidity it will leach, dripping down onto your plants. I've heard it can kill bromeliads, and definitely wouldn't be good to have around veggies. For my one wood structure, the shade house, I have redwood on the ceiling and walls, and pressure treated is only used for what is sitting on the ground.

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    Formerly known as Pineapple Nepenthesis's Avatar
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    Some things I wish my GH had...

    - More space
    - Moisture-holding floor (like gravel I guess)
    - Higher roof so I could hang plants
    - A door that shuts tightly to lock in moisture/heat and preferably one that can be locked (so this would be a swinging door rather than a sliding one)
    - Misting system

    That's all I can think of...

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    Eric's Avatar
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    Not sure if you'll need much cooling for it, but if you do I would for sure want evaporative cooling pads along one wall with 4 or 5 foot pits to hold the water for them, and then a few ventilation fans on the opposite side of the room to pull the air through . If there's any kind of a heat problem those would be perfect if you have the money for them. I've worked in the greenhouses for three years now and they are relatively low maintenance for the cool humid air they provide. I guess it would just be a matter of finances though so it all depends on how much you'd be willing to spend.

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    Bonnie's Avatar
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    The cooling walls are also most effective on greenhouses at least 100 feet wide, they will work on smaller greenhouse, the one at school has them on a 50' wide greenhouse, but it does create more hot spots than it would in something larger. On a small backyard greenhouse a swamp cooler is probably going to be the most effective.

  8. #8
    A leuco by any other name would still be as gluttonous. CorneliusSchrute's Avatar
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    Interesting points, friends. A few things come to mind after reading these comments.

    • A partially subterranean greenhouse is a great idea in terms of temperature regulation, and though I have hills that would fit the bill, I hate digging.
    • mylesG hits it on the head.
    • As far as heating and cooling, I am mostly using this as winter storage for my temperates. My few tropicals stay inside through the winter and hangout in trees and on the deck in the summer. So I am not too concerned here. Cooling walls are new to me though: I will research these.
    • Ventilation is a concern, and I will try to ventilate overages in solar heat this way during the winter.
    • Height as was mentioned above is a concern for me, too. See number two below for more on this.



    And then two more discussion points:

    1) If I went the wooden structure route as I originally planned, I would use pressure treated for the bottom sill plate and then kiln dried white pine for the rest of the structure. Cedar is hard to find here and expensive when one does. I figure if the white wood is covered well enough it shouldn't substantially cut down on its life expectancy.

    2) I was thinking of scraping the wooden frame and going with a PVC hoop house. I think I understand how to make it and make it strong, but I want to try something that might compromise my confidence. I want to use 20 foot long tubes of 1" PVC (or grey PVC) to arc over a width of about seven feet. This would make the height about 8 or more feet. Is that too narrow? Will that compromise the strength, etc.? Can PVC even bend that much?
    Corey Bennett

    My cultivated vegetation, carnivorous and otherwise...

    Formerly cbennett4041

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