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Greenhouses in buildings? or growies?  RSS feed

 
Tom Connolly
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is there a greenhouse forum also in the growies section, that focuses on growing things in greenhouses, rather than designing the building?
 
Kyrt Ryder
Posts: 746
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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Paul feels that greenhouse suck.

That being said we have a few really good threads about them scattered about.
 
Mike Jay
Posts: 622
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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I haven't seen a sub-forum for how to grow things in greenhouses.  Enough people on the forum are building greenhouses or living with them that it makes sense to discuss it.  I'd be interested in growing tropical stuff if I ever get my greenhouse built.  Problem is that I don't know the first thing about tropicals other than they don't like to freeze and they don't sell them at the local nurseries...
 
Terry Bytes
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Location: NE Iowa
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Mike Jay wrote: I'd be interested in growing tropical stuff if I ever get my greenhouse built.  Problem is that I don't know the first thing about tropicals other than they don't like to freeze and they don't sell them at the local nurseries...


I have always had this secret dream to grow a banana tree. I am up north in climate 4b, so I realize this is a bit of a reverse Jamaican bobsledding team movie idea.

I figure a wofati type structure (half underground) would be a good start in keeping the warmth levels up.

I shared this dream with a local biologist-turned coffee house owner who was originally from the tropics. He really like the idea, but said that even getting the temperature wouldn't be enough. The key would be to get the 16 hours of sunlight a day.

Considering the fact that we are currently at 9 hours of sunlight, and shrinking, I will reign in my growing choices.

The LED grow light market could probably handle this deficiency. However, the current price right now would only work if your product had a high retail demand - like marijuana. The videos and demos I watched on those, though, point out that as more and more states make it legal, and the market eventually gets saturated, there should be an abundance on the market. By then newer and better lights will be out, making the early generations much cheaper.
 
Mike Jay
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Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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I'm wondering about sunlight myself.  In the tropics I think they average 12 hours per day (just like we do) but it swings a lot less between summer and winter.  Here is it cloudy about half of the winter so the light is often very diffuse as well.  That is definitely affecting/impacting my passive solar design.  I've seen examples like CRIMPI where they get a lot of sun all winter to keep charging their climate battery (in Colorado).

Here's a gentleman growing citrus in northern Nebraska Citrus in the Snow.  That's still a bit south of me but it gives me hope.
 
Terry Bytes
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Location: NE Iowa
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You're right about the sunlight hours in the tropics! I'm sorry I transposed my own summer hours into the story.

Even though I have doubts about a banana tree, I don't have any concerns with some citrus choices. Basically anything that grows well in California or Florida as my southern limit. I notice our love of lemons, limes, and avocados. Since we do get so much sun in the summer, the greenhouse would just keep them from dying during the winter freeze. No expectation, necessarily, of producing during the winter. But maybe.
In the winter, I'd be just happy to keep consuming greens, brassicas, & tomatoes.

I like the video you linked to. That guy definitely has it going on. Did you notice from his Description, he's using the "Eazy Bake Oven" trick to heat his tomatoes? Just a light bulb to heat the water!

I have every intention of supplementing a wofati structure with a rocket mass heater. That is why I have been looking into both solutions on this site, and have all the Ernie/Emily/Paul products.

Edit:  Walipini?? I might have been using the wrong word when I said wofati.
 
Rebecca Norman
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Posts: 1246
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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Farther north and south latitudes get much shorter days in winter and longer days in summer than the tropics ever get.

Eliot Coleman's earlier book on winter vegetables, Four Season Harvest, has a lengthy section all about this question. he was inspired to harvest vegetables all winter in Maine, after travelling in France, which was as far north or farther north than Maine and thus has even shorter days in winter, but has much milder temperatures.

Coleman gives a rule of thumb in that book,  that under 10 hours of daylight per day, your vegetables will tend to hunker down and not grow, but might stay fresh for the harvest, and might boom ahead as the days get longer. Personally, I think that also depends a lot on the strength of the sun in your region due to cloudiness or clear skies. Here in Ladakh we have Vermont-like temperatures in winter, but we're only 34N, so our 10-hours-or-less period is supposed to be from, I forget, like 7 Dec to 10 Jan, but I found that several types of vegetables powered on through the winter putting on growth. My best were those notoriously hardy winter green leafies, like arugula, kale, and mustard greens.

Eric Toensmeier in Paradise Lot talks about growing a banana plant outdoors in Western Massachusetts, but it doesn't produce fruit, just makes the place feel familiar to tropical immigrant neighbors.

Eliot Coleman's books are great for learning how to get your own vegetables through the winter.
 
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