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I'd love to get a greenhouse before winter, what should I do and where should I look?  RSS feed

 
Isaiah Ari Mattathias
Posts: 80
Location: Oregon
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I have a feeling I'm in the right forum- badumpsh!!
I'm looking to get a greenhouse, like asap, something that I can grow in year round.
What do I need to do in terms of preparation- obviously flat land? Do I go with concrete slab, or rock or?
I am in Oregon and it can get down to about 20 degrees- but I'd like to plan for colder just to be safe, is this wise or a waste of money?
Lastly, where do I look? Which companies? Should I find a kit and have a contractor assist me? Are there any good, permie approved plants out there anyone wants to share? Thanks a bunch!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
garden master
Posts: 2497
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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bee chicken food preservation fungi greening the desert
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If I were building a greenhouse, and funds were not an issue, then I would build it into the side of a sun-ward facing hill, and use geo-pipes to store the heat of the day and the summer in the hill for use during the night and during winter.
 
Isaiah Ari Mattathias
Posts: 80
Location: Oregon
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Thanks for your reply. Are there any ready to build kits out there for this, or is it more of a custom job?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
garden master
Posts: 2497
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
471
bee chicken food preservation fungi greening the desert
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I built the harbor freight 10X12 greenhouse in 22 hours on level ground. It came as a kit which I paid about $500 for. Then I spent more time than that and about another $100 strengthening it so that would actually hold up to the weather. I think that auto window openers are essential, so that adds another $100. If I were doing it again, I'd add some kind of earth-tubes to it for better heat management.

Strengthening consisted of adding bottom chords to the roof, and a 2X4 over the door. A device to screw the door shut during windy weather. Caulking and weather stripping. Screwing the glaxing panels to the frame. Adding chains to the windows to keep them from blowing away.
 
Troy Rhodes
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There are infinitely many ways of making a greenhouse.

In round figures, if you do it yourself, you will save a good half on the price of a ready made kit.

As one data point, I built a 12 1/2' x 28' hoop house (6 1/2' center height) for under a thousand bucks.

Mine gets used primarily to store and dry our firewood, which it does superbly. For that application, the ground must be sealed off somehow. I used black 6 mil vapor barrier polyethylene, covered with tar paper to protect the thin delicate plastic from the sun and foot traffic.


I built mine almost exactly twice as heavy as the commercial kits, so no worries about snow load caving in my greenhouse.

There are a ton of youtube resources on how to do this. Here's the short version:

If you use a polymer glazing, it absolutely has to be treated to stand up to the UF, aka greenhouse plastic. The regular untreated kind will die in a year. Mine is rated for 4 years, and often lasts 5 or 6.

Make a curved jig to bend your EMT (electrical conduit, or more correctly Electrical Metallic Tubing). Keeping in mind after you bend it, it springs open a bit, so you have to make the jig a slightly smaller radius than you want to end up with.


Pound some 18-24) pipe (or bigger emt) into the ground and attach to pressure treated 2x6's. Your hoops slip into the pipes in the ground, and I put a self drilling self tapping screw through both to hold them.

In my case, (2) 10' pieces of emt make a perfect semicircle for a 12 1/2' wide green house. Make it as long as you want with a hoop every 2' if you get significant wind or snow.

I put a diagonal corner brace at each corner, and two purlins, or horizontal pieces that run along the roof. Every place they cross, the emt is screwed together with those self tapping, self drilling screws.


I made a little post over on the wood heating forum if you want pictures and so on.

http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/i-built-a-12-5-x-28-greenhouse-to-store-and-dry-wood-working-awesome.129149/page-2

It suits my needs perfectly, because I don't care if it freezes in the winter. Basically, it's a giant solar dehydrator. It does provide some spring/fall protection for some tomato plants and fig trees.


Various ground coupling techniques are a lot more work and/or a lot more money and probably the cheapest way to heat one in the winter, together with double glazing and more insulation.


hth
 
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