6 x 12 greenhouse for starting plants

Come share your ideas for sprucing up your property.

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Dean3
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Location: NE IA

Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:05 pm

This might be crazy,,but,,to counter lost window space could the back wall be laminated with mirrors(salvaged ones) to reflect the sun down/around the plants? Or maybe painted with chrome or something reflective like bright white high gloss?

I'm thinking of making my SE end BR into a seedling room with lots of salvaged countertop and adding windows,,have been podnering ideas to "throw the light around the room as I will have similar issues as Your greenhouses.. When seedling time is over then I can clean up and revert back to using as a gaming room,,just drop some shades and hook up the computers..Having outlets for power will also be handy for times(cloudy weeks)when grow lights might be needed.

Dean


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Yanita
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Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:31 am

Hi Dean,

You are on track with using mirrors to throw the light around...LOL, that is an old interior design decorating tip.

Your tip about the black buckets with anti freeze I suppose could work, but would like to remind you that anti freeze is fatal to any animals that drink it. Although my cats are inside cats we do have one that comes and goes and my neighbor does as well.

One thing I would like to caution you about is using the home as a nursery. Make sure you have real good ventilation. Plants create alot of moisture!

Yanita
The difference between success and failure is who gives up first!

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Dean3
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Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 4:32 pm
Location: NE IA

Fri Apr 03, 2009 9:50 pm

Why TY most esteemed moderator lady!! validation is a good feeling! :)

DigitalDreams idea of the antifreeze could still be a good safe idea,just use the non-toxic(Sierra)brand. Of course a week of cool cloudy days might actually give the buckets the opposite effect till enough sun warmed them again. Just food for thought.

We'll see how it all works out but My success so far with seedlings has most deffinately encouraged Me,,this Autumn will be the "tell all" as it will be the real end of test 1..

Dean

DigitalDreams

Fri Apr 03, 2009 11:46 pm

Please note I said RV antifreeze in the buckets ,I am talking about the stuff that is orange in color you use to keep your rv water tanks water from freezing it is based on alcohol I believe cause when you drain it and rinse it doesn't kill you at least hasn't killed me yet.In fact it is legal to flush the stuff i'm talking about down septic and sewer systems.It will turn slushy if allowed to get cold enough but
won't freeze like straight water and bust the buckets or drums, which saves draining the setup in the dead of a minnesota or north dakota winter.

Plus you would use sealed drums or buckets as open would radiate the heat out to fast the whole idea is to have it radiate out over the night time after the sun stops warming them.

And if your planting box's are on top of them they serve two purposes
1:dirt is thermal mass holds more heat in bucket.
2:dirt acts as heat sink and buffer between plants and heat.

With this design and a well insulated greenhouse you can literally
grow plants year round, and for those few days that the solar
heating is minimal due to cloud cover or extreme cold outside
a small greenhouse can have a milk house heater for backup on
a thermostat.I know this works because a close friend of mine who does Organic Farming has used this idea for literally 20 years.

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Dean3
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Location: NE IA

Sat Apr 04, 2009 1:27 am

Sounds to Me like it would work then..

If it can go that good this far north then it must be a good system.

Dean


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Dean3
Posts: 419
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 4:32 pm
Location: NE IA

Sat Apr 04, 2009 10:39 am

I have these quick moments of crazy clarity tempered by insanity,,look,,there's one now!

If a person didn't mind the size restrictions,old pickup truck toppers would make darn good roof for a home built greenhouse,,use one with lots of windows to cap 5'-6' tall walls wich also have windows and wala! Both lower and upper venting built right in if the topper side windows open/close..

Now for the really nutty addition to the above,,the topper/roof/cap could be either hinged on one side for easy openning or use big wingnuts and bolts for easy removal..

The downside is unles the very top of the topper is windowed,there will be some sunshine blocked,,I spose glass/plexiglass could be added to the topper's top! LOL,,never know,,might work!

The thing is,these old toppers sit round the countryside for sale,,often cheap,,makes getting and modifying to Your function much more affordable..

Please rate this idea;;1--2--3--or "stupid" :D

Dean

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kathyp12816
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Location: Upstate NY

Sat Apr 04, 2009 7:11 pm

Wow! What great ideas. I have an unused dog run/kennel behind my house, and you have given me some great ideas for turning that into the greenhouse of my dreams! It is powder coated chain link, with a door . . . cover that in plastic. . . all that's lacking is water on that side of the house.

I look forward to seeing how your project progresses. Isn't it great Spring is finally here???!!!

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Dean3
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Location: NE IA

Sat Apr 04, 2009 10:36 pm

You ain't just whistlin dixie darlin!! Spring is a gooooood thing..!!!..

I dunno whom You are responding to,or everybody,,but,,I like the way You talk!! :D

Was just out to the farm where.if all goes well,I will take hundreds of seedlings to prettymuch give away to friends. I just told them that if what I can grow here isn't enough then I might need a little from them. Sounds plenty fair to Me.

Dean-with a beer buzz,,home is wonderful.:)

Dean

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Yanita
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Sun Apr 05, 2009 9:34 am

Hey folks...not trying to be ugly here but lets bring this back to Busybees greenhouse.

Dean if you don't mind keep your adventures in your thread so we can continue to follow along.

Busybee...any updates????

Thanks
Yanita
The difference between success and failure is who gives up first!

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kathyp12816
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Location: Upstate NY

Sun Apr 05, 2009 12:51 pm

Hello again. The sun has decided to come out and melt some of the snow we had overnight! What joy! I went out to survey the dog kennel and measure to find out how much plastic I will need to cover it well. I haven't been up to the barn in months (too much snow), and thought this was my chance. Yanita -- guess what I found! Windows -- a whole house full. I guess they were put up there after new new thermal pane windows were installed in the house last year. Treasure!

I'm wondering if there is some way they can somehow be hinged to make a cover for cold frames. I haven't measured them yet, and the raised beds here are 4 x 12. Even so, it wouldn't be too hard to knock together a box or two to fit the windows -- if I can figure out how to hinge them so I can open them later. I am so jazzed. There's lumber in the barn (wish I knew if it was pressure treated)-- In any event, it'll be a trip to the home center. Wow, if I put it in the front of the house where there is extra power, I could even run some heat tape along the inside and get those little seedlings started now (and free up the mud room).

Oh, I love Spring -- snow or no!!! [/code]

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Busybee1952
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Location: Hesperia, MI
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Sun Apr 12, 2009 9:00 pm

Hi all,
For some reason, I didn't get any e-mails about follow up posts to this topic. Sorry to keep you all in suspense. LOL

The weather was rotten, my computer broke, and then Ron and I were both sick for a couple of weeks. However, this past weekend, more work was accomplished on the greenhouse. As you can see, Ron has installed benches with tight chicken wire for the base. This will prevent any standing water. An old camper window placed on it's side in the front opens up as a vent and there is another vent on the opposite side way up in the top.
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He still plans to use some tires along the back wall filled with dirt to hold the heat and in the fall, when the benches come out, we can actually plant stuff in the tires. We need more paint to cover the bleedthrough on the front from the old lumber. So far, everything has been made from scraps and junk but we've spent about $25.00 on paint and maybe another $15.00 for screws and caulk. Some of the glass is actually old shower doors but still lets in plenty of light.
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The biggest problem of course will be keeping it warm enough at night. The tires will help but I think we have some ideas for some free heat using a large steel bucket with some coals from our wood stove and a little chimney. The vents and door was open while Ron was working in there today and although it was only 50 outside, it was still lots warmer inside.
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With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity ..... Nair, Keshavan

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Busybee1952
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Location: Hesperia, MI
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Mon Apr 13, 2009 8:13 am

Extreme gardening. These raised beds and rowcovers were made with scraps of sheet fiberglass selvedged from a construction site. The beds are 4 x 12 x 8" deep. Strips of the same material were bent and anchored into the beds to make the row covers.Image
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The black plastic on the bed warms the soil up sooner and will come off after about a week.
With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity ..... Nair, Keshavan

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Busybee1952
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Thu Apr 16, 2009 6:41 am

Greenhouse temps. Yesterday, it was about 65 degrees outside but even with both vents open, the temp inside went up close to 100. Ron had to put a fan out there and shade part of the glass so the plants wouldn't cook. Some of them are in real small containers and heat up fast. After installing the fan and the shade, the temp maintained at about 85 the rest of the day.
With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity ..... Nair, Keshavan

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Busybee1952
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Location: Hesperia, MI
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Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:29 am

Because the night time temperatures in Michigan dip down close to freezing for a number of weeks in the spring, Ron devised a system for the greenhouse which keeps the plants warm at night. The styrofoam insulation just lays over the top benches. Underneath, where the greenhouse walls are insulated, there are two 100 watt bulbs to help keep the babies warm until morning. The foam pieces are easily lifted off and the plants moved to the upper benches to get a drink and start a sunny day of growing.
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With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity ..... Nair, Keshavan

ms vg
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Location: VA

Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:41 am

I love your greenhouse! It sounds like you are off on a good foot with heating and cooling.

We installed an attic fan with a thermostat in our solor hoop greenhouse along with having a couple of vents. That seems to help BUT it only takes a tiny bit of sun to really heat it up quick. I will also prop the door open on sunny days. We have used a silver/black tarp as shade screen as we get further into spring.

For heating we normally use a room heater just to keep the big chill off but I like your way better.

Happy gardening.
'93 Clayton DW

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