Putting up a greenhouse


FOTCM Member
[quote author=Seamas ]
Hi guys, thanks for the encouraging words. We've done a ton of work on it this summer, so I'll see if I can get a few more pictures up in the next few days. There are a bunch of tomatoes in it that we're growing for the local restaurant I work at and we're planting about half of it to winter greens spinach, chard, and kale.


It does get cold in the winter. In December, January and February the night time temperatures regularly drop to -20F/-30C, and there are usually a couple of nights when we get a -40F/-40C reading just before dawn. I picked up some funky little black heat retention tubes at a greenhouse auction, and I've tried big 50 gallon barrels filled with water, but I think the mass of the ground is what is most important. We are building raised beds, which will help keep the frost out on the edges, and we might eventually replace the cedar logs we have now with bricks or concrete to add thermal mass. We used both clear plastic and spun polyester fabric, one brand is called agribond, to cover the crops inside the greenhouse. So you end up with a little mini greenhouse inside the big greenhouse. We found that second covering really helped to moderate the temperature swings in the spring, which lessens shocks on the plants.

After reading the Vegetarian Myth I have mixed feelings about this greenhouse. I am proud of all of the work that went into building it and I'm looking forward to all of the food we are going to grow this winter, but I am also struck by the enormous amount of petroleum energy that went into producing all of the metal and plastic. We purposely chose a growing system that doesn't require supplemental heat, and we are focusing primarily on growing winter greens and treating traditional greenhouse crops like cukes and tomatoes as a secondary crop.

Anyway, nice to log in and see your comments, I'll add greenhouse pics to my to do list. :)

Thanks Seamas, enjoyed you checking in on the Greenhouse :cool: and look forward to photos. As for things to grow, your mixed feelings, of course there are many valuable perennial type plants; herbs, oils, seed production and such as well to consider.


The Living Force
Regarding my friend's hoop gardens' they use a combination of large water containers and concrete blocks to hold the heat, from what I recall. They also made good use of straw/hay mulching and bordering. The double layer with a dead air space in between I think made a huge difference. Our winter temps usually average -20c but can drop as low as -40c (that's without wind chill). Great extremes here. Our summers get as hot as 32c, average around 26c.

I know what you mean about mixed feeling post-Vegetarian Myth. But I don't think there's much wrong with having a supply of winter greens when the meat is possibly less available. As well, medicinal plants. And, as suggested, seed crops for oils would be a good idea. Heck, maybe there are some flowers that will bloom at the winter light level. That would help the winter blues. :)



The Living Force
I had an Aunt who had a combination greenhouse - sunroom built, as an extention off their kitchen when they remodeled their old Victorian home. What a masterpiece it turned out to be.

The kitchen was big and spacious to begin with but the sunroom added additional light and warmth in the winter if you opened the door between them. The circular greenhouse was on the end. Endive lettuce and spinach grew all winter long.

This is a great site on Underground living spaces and Greenhouses. There's educational video's and pictures, books and all "how to do" information on all aspects of the different designs.

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