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Finally getting started on our first greenhouse! yay!  RSS feed

 
M Foti
Posts: 171
Location: western n.c.
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So, been back and forth, playing with ideas... I think I have a vague plan now! I find when building I don't give myself too much of a plan so I can deviate as things progress haha. Shouldn't take long to get this one built though, I have some friends coming to help out until it's done!

Our first greenhouse is getting built next week starting around 1-18-14 ... I decided to go wood frame on it, skipping PVC altogether. The price point is pretty low for doing it all framed with pressure treated 2x4's and 5/4 decking. We can't afford the polycarbonate roof that I wanted right now, but by the time the film is ready to be replaced we should be able to replace the roof with something like that. The size we have to work with on the terrace we carved out of the hill is 14x36 so that's a pretty decent little greenhouse. Not huge, but big enough to do something in .

The design I have in mind is 2x4 framing on top of a 5/4 decking bottom plate, all pressure treated. This will allow us to put plastic on the inside and the outside for insulated air gap without too much trouble AND be really easy to go ahead and put the polycarbonate on when the film fails.

Right now I only have 1 more concern and that is what to do about the 5/4 decking for the bottom plate. It will not have direct DIRT contact as we will have a layer of our really nice weedproofing fabric down, but it will have contact with the ground... I don't want this to rot prematurely, so I'm considering putting the entire thing up on cement cap blocks so it'll be separated from the ground.

I'm wondering if anyone has ideas of what I can do to further prevent this deck board from rotting? I can't afford and can't even buy high grade pressure treated wood here, looks like the best is "grade 2" which clearly states on the tag "not for in ground use"... I'm thinking a routine spraying of thieves oil or something similar to keep it from getting mold? any ideas?
 
Tim Malacarne
Posts: 226
Location: South central Illinois, USA
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I'd be concerned that the GH isn't anchored into the ground in any way, except by gravity. You're proposing quite a large structure for the wind to bear on, and I wonder how you plan to secure it?
 
M Foti
Posts: 171
Location: western n.c.
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I plan on using the screw in anchors for metal buildings for anchoring it down

We finally got a start on it yesterday, I graded the spot of semi well with the tractor and we stretched the fabric down for the floor however after a VERY mild winter so far it has turned off ridiculously cold now so I'm quite possibly taking another look at the construction method. Rather than building it exactly as you would a house, I'm seriously considering building it similar to a gothic arch style structure only using 2x4 instead of pipe. There will be completed arches that will be built in my shop on a flat cement floor and then moved one at a time to the area and put in... The joints will be gusseted with ply wood and glued/nailed so they will be quite strong...

I have to make up my mind because one way or the other we're cutting some wood tomorrow for sure! haha... I'm really thinking building these things in the warm shop will be awfully nice than framing walls and laying in rafters with single digit temperatures.

Not sure, gonna sleep on it and make the call tomorrow I guess...
 
M Foti
Posts: 171
Location: western n.c.
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lots of pictures and a build cost to come, I promise! We should get the whole thing in for less than 600 bucks including the interior/exterior layers of greenhouse film. Not bad for a real greenhouse!
 
M Foti
Posts: 171
Location: western n.c.
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ok, so I decided to go with the free standing arches or you could call them 'hoops' instead of a traditional stick framed structure here. When I'm all done I'll post pics and make another thread for a DIY greenhouse on the cheap in the meantime, we are doing a photo story on our facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.766378663390641.1073741836.161922590502921&type=1 I hope that link comes through, it should take you straight to the photo album

as of today 1-24-14 I have done a decent job of making the photo story, but there are a few things missing that will be added such as closeups of the roof rafters and the angles we cut... Turns out that 14 ft. wide is pretty darn perfect for a greenhouse! That will give us a table down each side AND a double wide table down the middle with ample walkways in between them for working. That'll be plenty of space!
 
M Foti
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Location: western n.c.
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basically we're doing a series of these arches built in my shop and erected one at a time on the prepared site. They will be tied together at the ridge and the area where the wall meets the roof slope for support of the plastic, may end up putting in some more supports if needed later, but that'll be easy after the structure is already up also pictured is a buddy who drove up here to help me build this thing... glad for great friends!

101_0135.JPG
[Thumbnail for 101_0135.JPG]
greenhouse arch
 
Tim Malacarne
Posts: 226
Location: South central Illinois, USA
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Looks like you and Hoss Cartwright have got a good start. The idea to build the arch sections indoors was genius, born of necessity, don't you think? You've got good, strong angles and properly sized gussets, looks to me like. Nice work!
 
M Foti
Posts: 171
Location: western n.c.
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thanks! yeah, he's a great guy to have around for sure! I'm 5-7 or so and about 160 lbs, having a big fella to help me do things is almost as good as a tractor lol... seriously though, he's a good friend to drive all the way up here to help out.

I think it'll work out well, I was really hesitant to build it like this, but the cold was the deciding factor, even with a well insulated shop and a blow heater it still never got warm enough to NOT see your breath, but quite a bit more comfortable than outside... It's been 40-60 during the days for most of the winter, then buddy comes up to help build this thing and it's like siberia haha...

we're doing a rectangle on the ground, and putting some cap blocks under it to keep it elevated, a few pieces of reebar to keep that in place and some tie downs to keep the structure from becoming the world's largest kite

Like you Tim, I've been researching the heating quite a bit. I have a spare forced air outdoor wood furnace here on the farm, but sure wouldn't mind a way to heat it without having to burn wood every night. If I find that video I was referring to on your post, I'll paste a link over there. Pretty nifty idea...
 
Dave Hunt
Posts: 69
Location: NJ
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Have you considered putting in a rocket mass heater? From the videos and forums here it seems like they stay warm for a long time using very little wood. Might be something to think about. It seems like the only expense is the time and money to build it. And wood can be small downed branches from storms. I have an old hoop house frame that I am planning on rebuilding in the early spring. If I decide to eventually add heating to it I will probably explore building a rocket mass heater as my first option.
Keep us posted with any updates pictures!
 
M Foti
Posts: 171
Location: western n.c.
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I really don't have time to feed a rocket mass heater. My big furnaces while they burn more wood, I can fill them up and forget about them for 12-18 hours. thanks for the suggestion though, I'm sure rocket heaters work great for some folks and their projects
 
M Foti
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Location: western n.c.
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I am seriously considering a solar collector to heat big thermal masses though! I mean, when it comes to something that's basically free, why not?
 
M Foti
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Location: western n.c.
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I see the attraction to RMH's, they're just not for me. I wish there was a happy medium though haha, something that would last for 12-18 hours without burning big armloads of wood at a time! Buying wood really doesn't save much over propane (at least around here) and it sure does take alot of time to cut/haul/split/stack a cord of wood!!!
 
allen lumley
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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books fungi hugelkultur solar wofati woodworking
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M. Foti : No Response needed, just a different way of looking at things. The original idea for the rocket mass heater was that they would be close at hand, easy to
tend to as you went about your other duties, and for 5- 8 hrs a day* of infrequent attention would give us 20-25 hours of heating !

I use the potty training analogy, first you train the parent, then you train the child, we quickly learn the importance of getting close enough to check up on our
little dears, though hearing and an occasional look at the thermometer as we pass through are our main clues, just as smell tells us we just missed again and
reminds us of the need for more and closer inspections and frequent checks on or subject, -then one day it clicks!

I also promise smell is almost never a problem and the clean up is-cleaner ! The big wood boxes are never house broken, messy and much hungrier ! Big AL !

*which many of us wish that was all the time we gave our jobs
 
Tim Malacarne
Posts: 226
Location: South central Illinois, USA
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I have an old book from Rodale Press, "The Solar Greenhouse Book," I think it is..... Lotsa good ideas and information, things a person wouldn't think of, photos of actual, working greenhouses... My guess would be that a RMH would be a good fit, but I didn't know you had to feed them so much...

The Rodale book stresses that, if you need supplemental heat, you should heat the greenhouse, not the solar mass...

I have the Winter Lettuce growing now, if you like, I can send you some seed to try?

My e-mail Bongo3@onemain.com
 
allen lumley
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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books fungi hugelkultur solar wofati woodworking
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Tim Malacarne : We have a Forum Thread " Rocket stoves in Greenhouses '' For that discussion, and others!

My point is That while a rocket mass heater RMH needs frequent feedings, (and a vigilant eye and ear,- like ALL Wood stoves) You are in the greenhouse for
several hours of the day, you are within feet of the RMH for most of that time. Tending the RMH under those conditions becomes automatic, something very
instictive, you don't need twenty minutes thought to feed a campfire, or a Rocket.

If you are using the rocket stove every day, (seasonally) it lights, and starts burning super efficiently, all within the first 5 - 10 minutes. Because it burns the
wood so efficiently and stores and distributes the heat energy where it is needed, 5 - 8 hours can give you 20 - 25 hours of heat exactly where you want it,
with little or no Further attention !

The big Wood Eating Monster that runs for 16 hours will need to be fired 3 Xs in 48 hours, so at least 3 to as many as 5-6? special trips just to tend that wood
eating monster must be planed early in the heating season, Extra time that must be found in your time budget or else !

Your choice is tend it while you are there, moving thru your green house, toping off your thermal battery, or find the time to feed the wood eating monster that
is mostly totally unsuited to its tasks from the middle of your heating season until the end!

Another way of looking at it is you don't add-on the time you spent washing greens or peeling apples for a pie to the time until you can take the clothes out of
the drier or off of the line, Why would you add in the time it takes to tend a RMH onto the time it takes waiting for a barrel of water to fill !

If you want more information general or specific you can check out '' Rocket Stoves in Greenhouses '' It is one of the busiest Forum Threads here at
Permies ! You will be introduced to hundreds of Rocketeers who will all to a man say that rocket mass heaters use way less wood ! For the Good of The craft !
BIG AL
 
Hey, sticks and stones baby. And maybe a wee mention of my stuff:
2017 Rocket Mass Heater Workshop Jamboree - 15 workshops in one event
https://permies.com/wiki/63312/permaculture-projects/Rocket-Mass-Heater-Workshop-Jamboree
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