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Greenhouse made of branches?

 
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Hi,

I've been looking around for greenhouse made with branches. I couldn't find much, is it because it isn't worth the trouble?
 
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I don't have good pictures saved myself, but friends and people online have done them successfully!
Works in areas of no/extremely little snow + no high winds. It can totally be a good and affordable way to keep plants alive, given those conditions. One friend in my city used his to grow papayas, guava, aloe, lemongrass, other medicinal herbs, etc. year round, and since our area fits those requirements of no snow and no super high winds, it worked great!
 
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It certainly sounds like a great way to make an affordable and probably beautiful greenhouse. As Jonah said, the suitability would likely depend on your particular context. As well as what materials you have available and your goals for the greenhouse. Here's a really neat one:

He's in upstate New York, so this structure sees snow and wind, seemingly with not much issue.
 
pollinator
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I guess it depends on your climate.

A hoop house or A-frame made of branches over a garden bed or raised bed would extend the season on both ends. If you make it self-standing, you can lift it off the bed when it gets warm so the rain and pollinators can get in. And set it over top your wood pile perhaps.

One challenge with branches would be smoothing off all the little pokey bits that will chew holes in your greenhouse film when the breeze comes up.
 
Jordan Beaupré
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I'm in an area where it is cold (reach -20C easily during winter) and can get intense wind, but there's someone with a wood greenhouse with a film cover and they don't remove the film during winter and it has hold for at least 10 years so far without changing the film. The reason I am thinking about using branches is first because it would definitely be great if I can swap some lumber for what should be much more available resources. I'm thinking maybe mixing some lumber with branches could give stronger results and also benefit from recycling?
 
Jordan Beaupré
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:I guess it depends on your climate.

A hoop house or A-frame made of branches over a garden bed or raised bed would extend the season on both ends. If you make it self-standing, you can lift it off the bed when it gets warm so the rain and pollinators can get in. And set it over top your wood pile perhaps.

One challenge with branches would be smoothing off all the little pokey bits that will chew holes in your greenhouse film when the breeze comes up.



Yes that is one of the thing I'm worried about, that it would be prone to poke.

I'd like to use EMT conduit, but they doesn't seem to be sold cheap around. There's a car shelter for sale around, that could be a good alternative. Wood seems to be a great option, but if wood works, I guess some branches could also hold well.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Heather Sharpe wrote:Here's a really neat one ... He's in upstate New York, so this structure sees snow and wind, seemingly with not much issue.


Cool stuff, I like it! Though I guess I would think of his structural members as young trees rather than branches.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Jordan Beaupré wrote:Yes that is one of the thing I'm worried about, that it would be prone to poke.


One trick that greenhouse operators use to extend the life of their special greenhouse film is to cover all the parts of the structure that make  contact with a basic 6-8 mil plastic. That way, when the wind works on the building and the plastic cover, it's plastic-on-plastic which is low friction.

Jordan Beaupré wrote:There's a car shelter for sale around, that could be a good alternative.  


Haha, great minds think alike. I have a greenhouse/shed experiment in progress with car shelter frames that I got for cheap or free. When the fabric cover rots through, people tend to buy a whole new shelter and need to get rid of the old one. One thing I have learned is that the ribs are a ridiculous distance apart, which is part of why the covers fail. I am using plastic electrical conduit to add extra ribs in between and keep the cover from sagging. I think that poly water piping would work for this as well.
 
Jordan Beaupré
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:

Jordan Beaupré wrote:Yes that is one of the thing I'm worried about, that it would be prone to poke.


One trick that greenhouse operators use to extend the life of their special greenhouse film is to cover all the parts of the structure that make  contact with a basic 6-8 mil plastic. That way, when the wind works on the building and the plastic cover, it's plastic-on-plastic which is low friction.  



Good idea! So it would simply require to take recycled plastic film (even non UV resistant?) and glue it on top.

Jordan Beaupré wrote:There's a car shelter for sale around, that could be a good alternative.
Haha, great minds think alike. I have a greenhouse/shed experiment in progress with car shelter frames that I got for cheap or free. When the fabric cover rots through, people tend to buy a whole new shelter and need to get rid of the old one. One thing I have learned is that the ribs are a ridiculous distance apart, which is part of why the covers fail. I am using plastic electrical conduit to add extra ribs in between and keep the cover from sagging. I think that poly water piping would work for this as well.



So if I can get a car shelter that is longer, I would be able to saw half of the limb (that makes its length) in half, making it half long, and keep the other half of limbs for strenghtening or for other structures.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Jordan Beaupré wrote:So if I can get a car shelter that is longer, I would be able to saw half of the limb (that makes its length) in half, making it half long, and keep the other half of limbs for strenghtening or for other structures.


Good ideas. I'm hoping to do that, shortening and reinforcing one structure by chopping the horizontal pipes in half. That would bring the ribs much closer together and support the cover much better.
 
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I couldn't find any pictures of greenhouses made out of branches, either.

I did find some playhouses:


source


source

Then these are from living willows:


source


source
 
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I was musing on building a greenhouse with pallet wood, and that discussion brought me here!


I have a spiral of grapevines that I bundled together when they were still green,  it seems really strong.
If the branches are small and light, but tough, you might be able to form useful arches by bundling them together.
I used zip ties, but wire might be cheaper, stronger and more ecologically responsible.
I think multiple smaller branches bound together like this might be more resilient than a single dried branch.

I'm hoping to try this out with branches from my pollarded mulberry tree.


Roundwood usually splits on me when I drive a fastener through it, so I find pre-drilling worth the extra effort.
The small pokey side branches can be removed/smoothed with a knife and/or an angle grinder.

I wouldn't want to put either roundwood or dimensional lumber in the ground as posts.
I like to drive  a metal stake into the ground and secure the wooden post to that.
Usually I set the bottom of the wooden post above grade, on top of a peice of brick or stone, with the hope that might deter decay.

Let me also mention bamboo.
I know where I can get some, but I don't know how to work with it.
Split, bundled and dried in the desired shape is my guess and also I'm guessing that, is more easily said than done.



 
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