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The Start Of My Greenhouse Design  RSS feed

 
Jim Amend
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New to permies, like most who eventually post I was lurking here, watching videos of Paul's on youtube, etc.

Out of the shadows for my first post.

After considering an earth sheltered greenhouse in a south facing hillside in the yard, a conventional green house on a level spot in the yard, and seemingly everything in between I have begun to lean towards building one attached to my home. I have attached some files below for review.

I am considering attaching the greenhouse onto the south corner of the house. Entry will be from an exterior door from the greenhouse out, or from an interior door leading into our laundry room. I figured this would be very much be a zone 1 area for tending to seedlings, as well as growing winter greens and using a corner of the space for vermicomposting.

The north west wall will be partially earth sheltered, to about 2-3' high, there would be a 1' wall above grade to the south and on all sides. The floor would either be at the bottom of this 1' wall or dug out approximately 2 more feet below grade. I would like to use water tubes or barrells for thermal storage. In the floor layout I have attached I was considering tubes at the south wall extending down into the grow bed, I suppose milk jugs would also work here. Along the house I am considering tubes or barrels as well.

For ease of construction I was considering a simple roof design rather than something more elaborate that would be optimal as I could pitch the walls to 45-49 degrees. What do you all think of vertical side walls vs. sloped? My file showing the vertical standard framing does show most of the frame as well. I would use the overhangs to install gutters for water harvesting.

I am trying to design a hybrid system between one that is optimized with south facing properly sloped walls and a standard framed system. I would insulate the exposed side walls as well. The solid roof could be extended further than shown. This area would also be insulated. It may need to be extended a bit as my goals for this greenhouse will not involve use during the summer months.

I would hope that perhaps extending the solid roof area and insulated the northwest walls along with proper venting would allow my worm bins to function in the hot summer as well as in the cold winter.

Sorry for the quick explanation, but I wanted to get something on the board for review! Let me know your thoughts, thanks!

Greenhouse-2-Simple-Roof-3D-Concept.jpg
[Thumbnail for Greenhouse-2-Simple-Roof-3D-Concept.jpg]
This is my preferred method with standard roof framing
Greenhouse-2.jpg
[Thumbnail for Greenhouse-2.jpg]
Floor layout concept
 
Jim Amend
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Side view...
Side-View.jpg
[Thumbnail for Side-View.jpg]
Side view with standard framing
 
Tim Malacarne
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Location: South central Illinois, USA
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Looks like you have got your "Thinking Cap" on!

Since a GH is such a large investment, I'd suggest that you mebbe ought to buy some books... Rodale Press used to have stuff galore on this topic. I have an old copy of their "Solar Greenhouse Book." Lotsa interesting stuff there.

Like everything else, there's pros and cons to any design. You have got to decide what will work for you, in your situation. Myself, I tend toward the solar growhole method. Everyone's different. Good luck!

Best, TM
 
Jim Amend
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Thanks for the reply!

I definitely have had my thinking cap on. I had really wanted to go with an earth sheltered design like Mike Oehlers but digging in the clay here by hand may just kill me! Maybe not, but I also started to look at attaching it to the house after thinking long and hard about how starting seedlings has always been a daily effort. The hillside that would support an earth sheltered design here would be about 200' from the house, no power there, no water there. So there would be a need for that infrastructure. As I thought more about it I realized it really should be in a zone 1 area as close to my back door as possible. I have two kids, a job, a dog, etc. So as nice as a leisurely stroll down the hill sounds nice. And as much as my initial design looked nice ( greenhouse was set to be place along a strip of food forest, small pond in front, I think it would have been an attractive design in a few years ) its way more practical to kedp it near the house.

My thoughts on the steep walls versus a more sloping glazing centered around passive greenhouses I have seen online. Many had very steep walls and seemed to be productive either with barrells for liquid thermal mass or shcs (is that the right acronym?) moving air through the earth and well insulated north and sometimes east and west walls.

And as I mentioned, I could build this design without any special tools really. I guess its like everything in permaculture and gardening/farming sometimes you just have to try it out and make adjustments as you go right?
 
Tim Malacarne
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Location: South central Illinois, USA
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Yes, yes, and heavy on the "adjustments as you go," part!

IMO you are thinking right regarding placement closer to your house vs. 200' away. If it's close, you'll be visiting more often, and that's a good thing!

Best of luck to you!

TM
 
Jim Amend
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Yup...so scratching this design. In my desire to make the structure "work" with my 1980's house I think to much is lost.

I am looking at venturing out down the hill the 200' to the original location. I will be able to design the structure appropriately there. There's always a trade-off, and I think I would prefer trading off a bit of convenience for a proper and somewhat proven design. I think sometimes its best not to reinvent the wheel!

With so many working designs out there I think building something similar to this:

http://aes.missouri.edu/swcenter/research/solar-heated%20greenhouse.pdf

Also planning the design to support some earth berming on the north and partially to the east and west in the future would be best for me. I can locate the green house at the base of a hill, or slightly into the hill ( maybe with around 2' of the height of the north wall into the hill at construction ) and build up the rest in the future during pond construction.

 
Tim Malacarne
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Location: South central Illinois, USA
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That is a good link! The structure shown is very similar to ours, except we never went for the water storage. I have plans to add some bottom heat via buried insulated PEX pipe.
 
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