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Built a small scale green house yesterday

Home Forums Self-Reliance & Preparedness Farming and Ranching Built a small scale green house yesterday

This topic contains 35 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Jane jane 2 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #22449
    Profile photo of SeanT
    SeanT
    Moderator

    Taking advantage of the perfect southern exposure of our house, I stuck a prototype greenhouse on the front that will be accessible from inside the house via the ground level window. I will post some pics later but wanted to create a post in the new forum :good:

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    #22462
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    A good addition for anyone that’s working on self reliance. :yes:

    #22473
    Profile photo of Max Velocity
    Max
    Keymaster

    Great plan, that should provide a much longer growing season for you! I wanted to throw a resource out there to everyone that is into gardening etc, I have my local starbucks filling up 5 gal buckets with used grounds. They are more than happy to do it and i usually get between 5-7 full buckets of grounds a week, in the winter this high nitrogen product is great to keep your compost pile working while most compost will slow down with the drop in temperature. Additionally you can add it directly to the soil for plants like beans etc that require more nitrogen for the protein building process. The only requirement they gave me was that they wanted me to provide black buckets wth no commercial markings such as the ubiqutious “menards, home depot, or lowes buckets” Totally worth sweet talking a few baristas into doing this if you arent in there frequently

    #22503
    Profile photo of SeanT
    SeanT
    Moderator

    Don’t know why the pics got rotated…
    I will have to look from a pc instead of a tablet.
    Temp got up to 97F in there as the high and the low last night was 46
    Adding mass to hold the heat thru the nightime and planning how to vent off the excessive heat accumulating during the day. Fun stuff. Trying to keep those 2 heirloom tomatos alive so I can clone them in the spring. Only expecting to produce greens over the winter.

    #22526
    Profile photo of Max Velocity
    Max
    Keymaster

    you could also add heat sinks. some use filled water jugs up to 55 gal drums, masonary and stone. I have read that water stores BTU better. perosnaly I gave up on outdoors winter growing. I have had green house down ok to 15 degrees but, below that it failed. been thinking of ways, compost pile with chicken waste, geo thermal, wood stove. on the bucket list. side note, you could also add an inside layer of plastics, to crate an air barrier/air pocket which will help retaining heat.

    #22531
    Profile photo of SeanT
    SeanT
    Moderator

    This is a micro greenhouse really so no room for barrels. There is concrete 18x18s on the ground and I added blocks around the perimiter as additional mass. Was 29 ish last night here and temp weas 42 inside greenhouse. Going to fab a cover blanket to roll down over the outside at night to trap radiant energy. If i can have greens thru the winter I will call it success. At very minimum i can sit in there and make vitamin D!!

    #22533
    Profile photo of Robert
    Robert
    Participant

    Great job.

    We built a small freestanding greenhouse years ago. Used the clear plastic sheet roofing and roll plastic.

    It held up well first year (we don’t have terrible winters), but by the 2nd year the plastic was falling apart and some of the plastic roofing was cracking. Went to heavier mil plastic and a helluva more tacks holding it in place. That seemed to help a little.

    By the 3rd year I took it down.

    I think having it against your house like you’ve done there will hold up much better than freestanding like ours was. :good:

    www.jrhenterprises.com
    RMP, TC3, NODF, CRCD 6/14, CP 9/14. NODF, Land Nav, 6/15. Rifleman Challenge 9/15- Vanguard. FOFtactics 3/16, 10/16, 11/16, 6/17,11/17 CTT, 6/15, 11/16, , LRMC-1 9/17 GA Mobile CTT and DA 10/16, GA mobile DCH 3/18, HEAT1 3/18 Alum weekend 8/18, Opfor CLC 10/18, DA 11/18 CQBC 12/18

    #22536
    Profile photo of SeanT
    SeanT
    Moderator

    Hey Robert-
    This is just a first try but the ability to stick it under that cantelever is what gave me the design idea. It is a giant temporary box window really. Opening the windows gives a good volume of air exchange without temp shock and I am hoping the extra humidity can be drawn into the house. I am not 100% new to this technique but need to get the enviornmentals baseline in this setup discovered. Need a 12v fan ….

    #22552
    Profile photo of Robert
    Robert
    Participant

    It looks great.

    On the 12v fan, I’ve used small computer fans (largest ones you can find) for various things over the years but what has worked really well is the fans they make for gable venting in 12v.

    I run a handful of these off 20watt 12v panels for airflow in some of our containers and they work great.

    Some of them are available with a temperature sensor that will not let the fan run unless the temp is over 70. The gable vent fan in our house has that sensor and it has worked well for about 4 years now.

    Northern tool has the fan kits, but their is some Ag catalog Tek line I believe that will sell you just the metal fan for $175. The 20W panel is only $32. from Solarblvd.com so you can save some cash putting it together yourself (about $100.)

    Nice work, congrats!

    www.jrhenterprises.com
    RMP, TC3, NODF, CRCD 6/14, CP 9/14. NODF, Land Nav, 6/15. Rifleman Challenge 9/15- Vanguard. FOFtactics 3/16, 10/16, 11/16, 6/17,11/17 CTT, 6/15, 11/16, , LRMC-1 9/17 GA Mobile CTT and DA 10/16, GA mobile DCH 3/18, HEAT1 3/18 Alum weekend 8/18, Opfor CLC 10/18, DA 11/18 CQBC 12/18

    #22579
    Profile photo of SeanT
    SeanT
    Moderator

    cool on the fan info! Good idea on the fan in the container too, I have one that could probably benefit…. Where did you pierce the container to run the power from the panel?

    #22839
    Profile photo of SeanT
    SeanT
    Moderator

    Short update

    The little greenhouse seems to be able to keep 10 deg F above the outside temp without any help. I need to secure the ‘door’ a little better to keep airflow reduced for the night/cold times.

    Spinach sprouted and looks like it is doing OK. Obviously this time of year things go very slowly.

    #23566
    Profile photo of SeanT
    SeanT
    Moderator

    just an update. The spinach is growing, I should have planted more but this was just a test. That tomato plant has not died yet, it is in a suspended state. Aphids decided they like the greenhouse and went after the lettuce which is also doing OK, again, need more plants since they grow so slowly. I used neem oil on the aphids, hopefully that works. Next test for lettuce is a floating mat hydro tray to see how that affects growth rate.

    The portulaca ( annual) has begun growing new vegatative growth, maybe they will live till spring. We have not had real cold yet so when that comes will be the real test.

    #23571
    Profile photo of Jane
    jane
    Participant

    So what are you going to do tonight? If your greenhouse only keeps the temp inside 10 deg warmer than outside, and it will be substantially below that…? It is supposed to go to 8 deg F where I am here, and maybe twice that where you are.

    I have been covering my lettuce and arugula with hard plastic plant covers, but I am afraid these will not be enough for the cold temps tonight. Arugula is definitely more cold tolerant than lettuce.

    I just picked the rest of the brussel sprouts, blanched and froze them over the weekend. Should last until the rest of the winter. Also harvested the rest of the kale and gave to neighbors. Both bumper crops this year.

    So are you doing anything to protect your garden from the much colder temps this week?

    #23572
    Profile photo of SeanT
    SeanT
    Moderator

    good question Jane-
    I am going to experiment actually and see what I get. I probably need another thermometer. I have added thermal mass ( more blocks) and sealed up the door a little bit too. In this install I have the luxury of opening the window to the house to warm up the greenhouse although that is going to not be terribly cost effective from heating the house!!
    we are forecast mid teens tonight so one way or another I will find out soon.

    #23576
    Profile photo of Jane
    jane
    Participant

    BTW, have you had much success with neem oil? I have not, at least for squash pests and tomato fungus over the past few years, and have had to resort to stronger stuff occasionally….

    #23578
    Profile photo of SeanT
    SeanT
    Moderator

    Interesting observation. It was 26 degrees and windy when I got home and the temp in the greenhouse was 43.
    Jane,
    Not used neem long enough to judge yet. I understand that predatory lacewings are probably best but I don’t think they would survive the winter in there.

    #23580
    Profile photo of RampantRaptor
    rampantraptor
    Participant

    Cool beans. Harbor Freight has a lot of neat stuff for greenhouses, solar panels and the like, not too expensive either, but it’s all made in China.

    If you want something that’s tough, edible, and has nice flowers, nasturtiums are good for salads and extremely tough to kill. Corn is also easy to grow from seed, and there’s all kinds of funky cultivars you can try out, I grew some purple sweet corn one year, though I planted it in a bad spot and didn’t know when I was supposed to harvest it until it was too late and I lost all my corn to worms. :/ Last year I grew Heat Boy tomatoes and Heinz (yes, that Heinz) tomatoes, the Heat Boys grew long and steady (I used to grow Big Boys and Better Boys but they always got hit with viruses and whatnot here in Maryland), but the Heinz tomatoes literally grew so many tomatoes that it uprooted itself out of the ground from it’s own weight. I was super-impressed and my co-worker said they were the best tomatoes she’d had. (I don’t eat many tomatoes myself, though I should.)

    I’ve always had trouble starting portulaca from seed myself, pretty much anything with small seeds leaves me with tiny seedlings that are a PITA to keep alive versus root rot and such.

    Hopefully you can find some ladybugs looking for shelter in your house for the winter, they’ll eat aphids.

    #RaqqaSummer2017
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    Jîn, Jiyan, Azadî

    #23595
    Profile photo of SeanT
    SeanT
    Moderator

    @^^^

    I have found a few ladybugs to put in there, hopefully they stayed around.

    Well it got COLD in there last night, the temp rocketed down below freezing in the later part of the night. It was 12 outside and the recorded low inside was 21.

    Dumb Sean– I forgot my idea to cover over the outside over the top with a blanket and a silver tarp.

    Going to try those large citronella bucket candles as smudge pot to see how that works in combo with the cover.

    #23596
    Profile photo of Jane
    jane
    Participant

    Ladybugs do eat aphids, but I have found not anywhere near enough, especially if you have a lot of plants. I had colonies of cabbage aphids on my Brussels, and if I hadn’t sprayed with the hard stuff all the sprouts would have been gone. I sprayed once and the colonies were gone, and I went on to have a bumper crop.

    #24284
    Profile photo of SeanT
    SeanT
    Moderator

    so far the Neem is not very effective at least on the aphids that are all up on my lettuce…. They do not seem to bother the spinach.
    had some minor snow damage to the plastic covering the frame but that is expected since it is not purpose built greenhouse cover.
    so far I have to call the experiment so far successful. I learned that if I expect to have a winter crop of greens, I need to start the seeds earlier than I did. I expect to get a good start on the spring crops though. Supplemental heat will be required in some cases for the greens to keep the water in them from freezing. The portulaca did not make it… and neither did that straggly pineapple tomato plant.

    #24301
    Profile photo of Jane
    jane
    Participant

    Hi Sean, I am not surprised about your Neem experience. It has not been effective for me at all. Of all the “organic” disease & pest control sprays I tried, the only one that I’ve found really works is BT, for caterpillars.

    #24303
    Profile photo of Max Velocity
    Max
    Keymaster

    food grade diatomaceous earth, fill a bottle that can act as a small puffer. this will allow you the dust the infected areas and help the soil. a spray bottle with cool mint tea works for pest as well.

    #24330
    Profile photo of SeanT
    SeanT
    Moderator

    DE for the aphids…. good idea, I didn’t think of that.

    #24338
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    A quick side note about food grade diatomaceous earth, it goes into every meal my K9’s get, kills all digestive parasites which makes for healthier digestive system which reduces stool size. This matters when you are talking multiple German Shepherds.

    Used on their coat and bedding helps to kill flea and ticks.

    #25959
    Profile photo of SeanT
    SeanT
    Moderator

    DE for the aphids…. good idea, I didn’t think of that.

    the DE worked great with the puffer applicator…had to use it a few times, and those friggin aphids are SMALL… they hide but it worked.

    Spring is almost here and the result of my experiment is that I found a great way to grow spinach! next winter I will start the seeds earlier and more of them to deal with the slow growth rate. Once the light hours increased, the plants that overwintered grew like crazy.

    The plastic sheeting got killed finally by strong winds about a week or so ago. That was expected really.

    #25960
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    DE is some very helpful stuff with a variety of uses.

    I’ve used discarded windows from remodels for small greenhouses, usually free to be removed.

    #25986
    Profile photo of Jane
    jane
    Participant

    Sean, thanks for the update – sounds like you’re making good progress!

    It has been cold here this week, and will be in the 20s overnight for the next few days. A week ago my neighbor dumped 4 tractor loads of manure in my garden, but I haven had a chance to till it in yet. I have pepper seedlings and also broccoli and cauliflower growing in my sunroom – plan to transplant the latter 2 next week into the garden, and plant arugula, kale, mustard and lettuce out there too.

    The good thing about an early start is that it is still too cold for most pests if your plants can tolerate the cold…

    #26068
    Profile photo of DiznNC
    DiznNC
    Participant

    Wow you guys are impressing me with your home grown shit here. This is something I know jack-shit about. Thinking about trying my hand with a small garden this year.

    What about all the dopers growing their shit inside with all those lights and reflectors, and drip watering systems?. Is any of that technology transferable to “regular” crops?

    CTT 1505, NODF 1505, CP 1503, LN 1, RC II, Rifleman

    #26071
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    Is any of that technology transferable to “regular” crops?

    Yes, there are ways to increase productivity for small areas using some of those techniques. Grow lights? Not so much for the investment.

    #26109
    Profile photo of SeanT
    SeanT
    Moderator

    Wow you guys are impressing me with your home grown shit here. This is something I know jack-shit about. Thinking about trying my hand with a small garden this year.

    What about all the dopers growing their shit inside with all those lights and reflectors, and drip watering systems?. Is any of that technology transferable to “regular” crops?

    Edit:

    Yes
    it certainly is, the spinach test was soil-less using basically pulverized coconut hulls to support the roots and a wicking type nutrition delivery method.

    I did a hydro lettuce prototype system when I lived in Fl years ago. It was going to be joined to an aquaponics setup but life happened and I sold that house and moved.

    A friend is a Science teacher and built up a small scale indoor aquaponics setup that runs on cheap ass feeder goldfish. He using it as a project for his classes but the original is working at his house.

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