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greenhouse brainstorming

 
                              
Posts: 262
Location: Coast Range, Oregon--the New Magic Land
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i have some large tinted windows (from a dairy queen), scavenged tall pole fenceposts(the kind you use for corner posts) they are about 4 by maybe 5 feet

my idea is to make more of a three sided lean-to(tarp roof, or plywood perhaps--not clear, unless i scavenge somthing useable)--not a glass box. i also have rock i can use to hold heat.

for the fourth open side i was thinking of "curtains" from clear shower curtains, cheap--or a sliding glass patio door if i can scavenge one--i would probably frame this so i could add such a door at a later time when found

prevailing winds come from the s sw in winter, super cold winds come from e ne. should i orient this s se for morning sun(ha, what morning sun in nw oregon in the winter haha)

so any other trick ideas? foot print would be about 4 by 8 feet, i would grow winter greens and try tomatoes in there in summer(in the bad tomato years, which this one is just awful!!!)



 
                              
Posts: 262
Location: Coast Range, Oregon--the New Magic Land
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i mean the windows are 4x5
 
Lisa Paulson
Posts: 258
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I have a similar idea for a couple of  tinted windows I have salvaged from a commercial renovation  but worry the light penetration in winter where we are in Canada might be pretty dismal .

 
                              
Posts: 262
Location: Coast Range, Oregon--the New Magic Land
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yeah, i was thinking the tinting would an issue of course, thats why i was thinking to leave the sun side open.  was also thinking to angle the short walls out towards the front so more light can angle in(rhombus shape?) was also thinking the tinting might catch more heat, hold it longer

our temps dont get that bad for most of the winter, the biggest problem is keeping the soil drier/not soggy and warmer out of all that rain
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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i have scavanged 2 sets of sliders that had the film between the panes of glass..people throw them away..and i used them to glass in a back porch area (with some salvaged windows and plexiglass).

they work sensationally and who cares if they aren't perfect..

they work

try putting an ad on craigslist or call your glass co and ask if they get a call to replace any damaged glass glass sliding doors if you can have the salvage for a greenhouse you want to build

you know they get calls all the time to go in and replace cheapo windows with more expensive ones so become friends with your glass company and ask for their salvage

my tinylittle greenhouse that i moved a few weeks ago and planted less than a week ago, now had it's fall crop up and growing..sprouted nicely
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3360
Location: woodland, washington
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giving it some sort of earth shelter could work well for moderating the temperature in there.  either sink the floor a couple of feet into the ground, or pile dirt up against the outside of the north wall, or both.  building it into the side of a south-facing slope would also work.  a pond to the south will reflect more sunlight in over the winter.
 
Lisa Paulson
Posts: 258
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I saw this and I am totally in awe .  It would be pretty ambitious for my skills and resources but wow,  I can dream about  it !
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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automatic vents are a great addition too
 
Kay Bee
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
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not sure if your tinted panes would be ideal for this Wyldthang, but it may spark some other ideas...

one of the earth-sheltered style greenhouse systems I will be working on this fall/winter are described in a couple of BYU pubs (Benson Institute) below.

http://www.bensoninstitute.org/Publication/BI/Lessons/volume22/building.asp

http://www.bensoninstitute.org/Publication/Manuals/Walipini.pdf

The first one, the Pankar huyu, is a small pit style greenhouse (~4x10 feet) that is designed to just have a lightweight plastic cover over the pit that can be easily put on or taken off as weather dictates.  It is ideal for areas that get frost during the growing season, but I think it will also help with mild/rainy southern Oregon winters... keeping plants warmer and a bit dryer can make a lot of difference.

the second one, walipini, is more of a size for a commercial style setup, but uses many of the same principles.

I have several acres of meadow with a couple percent slope where I will be building the pankar huyu style greenhouses.  Another benefit will be to harvest the run-off water in to a lined pond at a grade just below the lower part of the greenhouse covering.  Then down the slope below the pond, another greenhouse, then another pond etc... with a small backhoe, I should be able to put in a good number in a day.  Oregon has some strange laws on water harvesting, but as long as it is from an impermeable surface, it should be ok.

Aside from the backhoe rental, the cost should be just a few dollars in plastic sheeting to go over the salvaged lumber or poles harvested from clearing other areas and to line the ponds.
 
                              
Posts: 262
Location: Coast Range, Oregon--the New Magic Land
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thanks for the great ideas!

bouncing sun off water...i have a shallow plastic sandbox, ill try filling it with water and putting it on front of some tomatos to see if it will get them to ripen faster. its almost september and mine are still very green(sigh). maybe some foil...
 
                        
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I have a book about dome greenhouses that people built in urban areas in the late 60's (?) and one of the things they did I haven't seen elsewhere is dig a small ditch on either side of the wall (all the way around) and line the ditches with plastic. Apparently this was to help keep the floor of the green house dry, which in turn helped keep it slightly warmer.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
Posts: 985
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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It probably depends on your soil, whether you'd need to line the drainage ditches with plastic.  In a very porous soil it might be necessary; in my heavy clay probably not necessary.

I just found the walipini pdf on another forum and read it -- I have Mike's underground greenhouse book (thank you, Mike!), also.  The advantage of the walipini type of construction is that here, I'd have to buy all the wood, but we have plenty of earth.  I'm just not sure that earth, by itself, will hold up underground in our wet winters.  We live in Eastern Oregon, the dry side of the Cascade Mountains, but the winters can still be quite wet (when things aren't frozen).  Our soil, when wet, turns into gumbo.  Yes, drainage is the key, but it will take some experimenting before I'm convinced that it's going to work here.

Kathleen
 
rose macaskie
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  On this subjet the guy who gets me enthusiastic is the zed master, you can find him and his many videos in google with the words, (Zero Energy Design.  Abundant energy in harmony with nature).
    I like the dug into the ground green houses too. I suppose the thermal mass that will absorb the heat and hold it in them is the siol sides and floor.
  Larry Hartweg the zed master, and he is not the only one, goes for water inside the green house it stabalises the heat it seems. Collects the heat  during the day and lets it off slowly at night, for the poor man it is water in oil canisters that maybe support a board he can use to hold plants and for the rich one in  a beautiful smimming pool in his pool house solarium. Maybe a poor man can dig himself a pool and use plastic for the glass in his solarium. 
    You have a roof on the green house with a good overhang so it wont lose heat through the roof and so it wont heat in summer when the suns high. the overhang is to stop the summer sun getting into the green house. The  windows are south south facing or equator facign to save people who live down under from confusion to catch the low winter sun.

    You have a thick masonary wall to your house on the green house side to store the heat that accumulates in gthe green house solarium or sunroom and you make holes in the top of the wall to  carry the heat into your house and through to the back in big tubes where the heat differencial should make the heat drop down the tubes and then  you lead it under you floor and back to the green house under the floor hoping it will have warmed your whole house in its tour round it.
Some of his pictures of pool rooms are dreamy.  agri rose macaskie.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
Posts: 985
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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Poor man (woman) here...I've been considering the amount of labor to hand-dig one of those walipini greenhouses in our heavy clay! 

I want to combine it with an aquaponics set-up, with the fish-tank set into the ground (because I already have a piece of pond liner for it).

Kathleen
 
Kay Bee
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
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any chance you could convince local excavators to drop extra fill dirt at your place?  you could build up that way...

the greenhouse probably wouldn't have as good a performance as a sunken style greenhouse, but it would be a lot faster/easier.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
Posts: 985
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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Maybe, but there isn't much, if any, construction going on right now in this area.  I was looking at the plans again, and I don't think the pit would have to be dug eight feet deep, since the walls are built up somewhat and then bermed.  Three feet deep I could handle, maybe even four feet deep.  I wouldn't have to dig down the extra foot or two they say because I would be planting in grow beds, not in the ground.

Am pondering how to combine this with rabbit cages that have an in-ground nest area -- the nest area needs to have human access so you can clean it out as needed, and so you can check on new babies.  I think if the back wall is double-walled, the cages could be inside the greenhouse (or outside, on the north wall), and have access through the wall to the nest area.  (I wish that Sketch-up didn't shut down my computer -- I could draw it.)

Kathleen
 
Kay Bee
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
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you could always start with the one or two of the more shallow style pankar huyu greenhouses and then expand (connect them?) as you were able to continue digging.

Combining a rabbit colony in to the back of the pit greenhouse is a very interesting idea.  Do you really need access to the nest area if it is underground?  I haven't heard of any of the colony style setups factoring that in.  It would be cool to have a "window" to peek in and see, though.

hmm, If you had the warren in the northern berm of the greenhouse, and then have the opening off the berm be an elevated wire hutch, you may end up being able to collect the urine and manure from underneath if the rabbits were good about picking the outside section as their "facility" area.  

I have done only elevated wire hutches in the past, but my plan was to have a large colony setup for the next time.  The big drawback I could see was how to get easy access to the manure/urine?  This design may solve that problem.  How would galvanized wire hold up in contact with dirt on a year-round basis?  I imagine that you would have to put some wire all around the outer portions of the berm to prevent tunneling out...

If you could design the watering system to be filled from containers in the greenhouse, that may solve the frozen water problems in the winter, too.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
Posts: 985
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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The reason for needing access to the nest area is that sometimes there are dead bunnies that need to be removed, or the bedding needs to be replaced.  Also, if you had a disease outbreak, it might be necessary to disinfect the nest areas.  I would make them out of ferrocement, I think, so there wouldn't be any burrowing issues.  (There are other things that the nest areas could be constructed of, but they shouldn't be just earth, as there would be a burrowing problem.) 

I don't want to do a colony-style setup, but would use individual wire cages, suspended above worm beds, connected to the underground nest areas with a tube of some kind.  I think maybe the best arrangement would be to have the wire cages on the north side of the walipini, with the nest areas in the berm accessed from inside.  Mount the feeders and waterers on the inside doors to the nest areas -- that is a good idea of yours to have them where they won't freeze (definitely a factor here in the winter) and where I could access them without being out in the weather.  I'd cover the wire cages with something -- the rabbits would be able to choose whether they wanted to be indoors or out. 

Kathleen
 
Kay Bee
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
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ferrocement - good call.  I'm going to see if I can beg my wife to sketch this out.  Nice to have an artist around the house 
 
rose macaskie
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  Green houses have some pretty big temperature swings. They get very hot when the suns out and lose temperature at night like crazy i would not have thought they were good for animals. agri rose macaskie.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
Posts: 985
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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Rose, that's the whole point of the walipini greenhouse, or mike oehler's underground greenhouse -- the mass of the earth moderates the temperature swings.  They would still need good ventilation, of course.

And the discussion of the rabbits isn't about having the rabbits *in* the greenhouse.  What we are talking about is having nest 'boxes' (probably more round than square) embedded in the thick earth of the north wall.  The wire outside cages would be outside the greenhouse on the north side, connected to the in-earth nest areas by a tunnel perhaps two or three feet long.  Rabbits don't tolerate heat well, so you are right that it wouldn't be good to have them inside the greenhouse; in fact, one of the reasons for the in-earth nest area is for them to have a place to cool off in the summer.  It's just that the construction of this type of greenhouse gives an ideal location for an idea I've had in mind for a long time.

Kathleen
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