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Geodesic greenhouse cover help

 
pollinator
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I probably should have thought about what to do with a greenhouse cover before I built the greenhouse.. so now I'm in need of some ideas and guidance!

I built a geodesic-dome frame at my community garden, just because it was really cool and would look different to the 'normal' greenhouses. The predominantly older folk who garden there think I'm 'the mad young gal' and I like to encourage that notion! The 'hubs' of the frame were from a purchased kit, the wood is roofing battens. The greenhouse is 4m in diameter, and 2.5m tall (as it is on little posts to level it- the ground being a slight slope).

No snow load to speak of here (UK, East Midlands). But the community garden in winter is really windy! We get a few 50mph storms a year in the area.

I can either try a winter-proof cover (and door) that will likely survive the gales, or a cover that I can remove and replace every year (at most I have two people available for cover-moving antics though).

I was hoping a polythene cover would suffice, but I'm unsure I could make it survive winter (whilst not cooking everything in summer). I was thinking I'd have an acrylic vent with an auto-vent opener (it being at the community garden I'm only there twice a week).

The 'unicorn'y pokey up bit was meant to be the door, but I will make it shorter so the dome looks less like a turtle! Other door types possible if they would work better.

I have a good supply of scaffold planks, some lighter planks (6x1, I think), more roofing battens. Anything else I would have to buy, budget of about £150. I don't have the supplies to 'weld' plastic (I don't think, anyway).

Any ideas or sage advice? Any stories of roofing your own geodesic dome or add-shaped greenhouse?

If all else fails I'll put mesh over it and use it as a fruit cage or pigeon-proof greens-cage!
 
pollinator
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Hi Charli.

My issue with geodesic constructs is always the sheathing/glazing. Most materials we have are rectilinear, meaning that there's a lot of waste when we try to make a bunch of triangles out of it.

I have seen some types of plastic sheeting "welded" using an old tea-cloth and an iron set on high. I have personally used a heat-gun that I think I paid $20 for at the time. Check into that, if you have the leeway, as things like reclaimed plastic wrapping or discarded plastic sheeting can be reclaimed and used to great effect, and as it would be free, the material costs would be irrelevant.

I like the sticky-uppy bit. What do you have against turtles? I'd keep it as a feature, like a signature point or something. Any time anyone asks you what your point is, you can show them.

And I like that you have alternatives. I could definitely see that dome shape covered in squash or pumpkin vines.

But let us know how you proceed, with pictures, please, and good luck!

-CK
 
pollinator
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Nice work, looks great will have to try to build something similar when i get the chance. There is a company near Evesham that does greenhouses with a fairly interesting looking insulated material. Dont know if they can do a geodesic dome but might be worth a try.
https://www.kedergreenhouse.co.uk/

Failing that you can get twin walled polycarbonate on Ebay pre cut to size and persumably shape too.
 
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Can you repost the picture, it does not show up. Thanks
 
Charli Wilson
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Chris Emerson wrote:Can you repost the picture, it does not show up. Thanks



It returns! Apologies, had a power cut and my server didn't come back up properly.
 
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perhaps they do not do this in you're area..
here in toronto canada they pull the boats out of the water each fall although some people keep theirs in the water with bubblers to keep the water from freezing
you see them with a wood frame with shrink wrapped plastic over them
many of the boats on shore are covered in this plastic as well
https://www.globalindustrial.ca/p/packaging/shrink-wrap/supplies/ds-206100w-shrink-wrap-20w-x-100l-6mil-white?infoParam.campaignId=T9F&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIlP3v_srj4QIVSIGzCh3R3APKEAQYBSABEgLG-vD_BwE


https://www.uline.ca/BL_2414/Marine-Industrial-Shrink-Film?pricode=DD449&AdKeyword=shrinkwrap%20boats&AdMatchtype=p&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIlP3v_srj4QIVSIGzCh3R3APKEAAYASAAEgL-XfD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds


it comes in clear

if you could get some off cuts from a local marina that would be ideal

just throwing it out there.. i do not have any practical experience doing this
 
Chris Emerson
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Charli, that looks awesome! I love the design, especially the entrance. I wish o could help you out with ideas but I am planning on building mine in a couple of years so I dont have any tips yet. Hood luck though
 
Chris Emerson
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s. drone wrote:perhaps they do not do this in you're area..
here in toronto canada they pull the boats out of the water each fall although some people keep theirs in the water with bubblers to keep the water from freezing
you see them with a wood frame with shrink wrapped plastic over them
many of the boats on shore are covered in

it comes in clear

if you could get some off cuts from a local marina that would be ideal

just throwing it out there.. i do not have any practical experience doing this



This looks like a very interesting idea. Hopefully someone else has tried this
 
gardener
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It's not pretty, but I think the cheapest and most durable way to cover a greenhouse is using Tyvek HomeWrap.  This stuff:

Tyvek Homewrap at Home Depot



I figured this out a couple ways.  First, I didn't have the money to put up siding, but all the siding had to be removed.  My Dad covered most of the house in Tyvek, and the rest in an off-brand.  It was years before I could side the house, and the Tyvek lasted the whole time.  No damage, even in the sun.  (I was in Oregon, though.)  The other one disintegrated.

Then I learned that a guy who was self funded entered a very expensive round-the-world sailing race by building his own boat, and then sewing his own sails out of Tyvek.  And he did well.  

Later, I learned that a version of Tyvek is sold by greenhouse companies as a cover.  Here is a company that sells covers for geodesic dome greenhouses, and here is their Tyvek page:
Domerama Domes, Greenhouses, and Dome Coverings

Here is an example of a Tyvek covered dome - but this is using one of the versions of Tyvek they sell for greenhouses, hence no annoying writing:



If you read up on their site it will give you a lot of ideas...  They sell different versions of shadecloth, too, including one that is insulative.  They also give tips for sewing Tyvek, and using their Tyvek tape as a seam sealer for waterproofing and strengthening your seams.  Any regular sewing machine should work, I used a cheap Singer.

On a sewing note... some years ago I made a tent out of Tyvek, and learned how to work with it.  If you are going to sew it for a tent or a sunshade (where noise matters) it helps to put it in the washing machine first, no soap, just give it a beating.  This turns it into a "fabric" texture without losing the strength.  It makes it soft and pliable, QUIETER, and easier to sew in some applications.  However, sewing a bunch of geometric shapes like for the dome greenhouse - it may be easier to leave it as is, cut out your pieces, and keep everything flat.  That's probably how I'd start in an applications like yours, no washing, flat pieces... it would be a little like making a quilt.

That roll of Tyvek I used for the tent turned out so useful. Need a shower curtain?  Cut off a piece, use clip hangers to hang it.  So simple.  Lots of uses...

Right now my husband and I are in process of developing a property and building a small home in AZ.  I plan to  use one side of the building to make a sort of hybrid shade/green house garden. You have to fence out peccary/javelina in that region, as well as rabbits, so the side of the building will be one wall, then corrugate metal for the other three walls.  Then I plan to sew up some Tyvek into essentially "sun sails"  -  a cover for the fenced area, but a cover that won't completely close it in.  So there will be lots of ventilation and lots of light, but we will be limiting the drying winds.  The building will block all of the east sun, and the walls will limit the western sun a bit.  It's in the desert, so this is an advantage.  The keys to desert gardening as I've been told are limiting evaporation and heat.  However, Tyvek is white, so it won't limit as much heat as actual shadecloth, so it will be a good experiment.  I think it would still be fine for a northern climate, because it allows so much light through, but you'd have to test it of course.

That's going to be our first growing area/shade/green/house - here's hoping it works out, and good luck with your cute dome!  :-D
 
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