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Green House Was Trashed By High Winds...?  RSS feed

 
Dean Howard
Posts: 126
Location: NE ARIZONA, Zone 5B, 7K feet, 24" rain
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My main concerns are to alleviate "sun intensity" (shading), "wind intensity", ( blocking structural and crop damage), hail damage, and some critter control.  Luckily, I've been preparing a 20X24 high-tunnel, but I'm not sure how well the fabric/plastic hold up to 60mph winds.

My aluminum frame greenhouse did not last more than the first year.  We fought overheating as things warmed up... and even built a "Blast Fence" to lessen wind damage.  I would not recommend this type of green house for anyone in a high-wind environment.  Large aluminum members developed cracks and were torn in half with 65 mph plus winds...panels falling out everywhere, not going to repair, but replace it.

What alternatives do you find work best?  Wood Frame, High Tunnel, Post and Beam?.. and what works the best for your particular situation?  Anyone?
 
Amit Enventres
Posts: 441
Location: Ohio, USA
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My little house is not very big, but I do fight the wind. What I found was several things. 1 diagonal bracing all over the place. Think old stain glass window. Then, to keep down the flapping even more, rope. Third, mine is wood, which doesn't allow vibrations to travel through it as easy as metal. Fourth, sheltered on wind sides, when possible. I like deciduous trees for that, but anything goes. For the heat stress, I have roll up sides, which has the affect of generally more air movement, but at the price of no burn. I might be covering it too... We shall see. Fifth A-shaped roof. We get snow load. The round ones are horrendous at snow load. I think some bury or half bury theirs for the heat and, I guess that would work for wind too. Good luck!
 
Bryant RedHawk
garden master
Posts: 2743
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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I prefer a wooden frame with 4x4 corner posts buried 2 feet deep, if it's going to be a long house I just add posts every 8 feet of the length.
I also like a 23 degree roof pitch with roof mounted air vents that face the peak instead of the edge, that way the winds don't rip them off and carry them away.
Lower air vents are easy to frame and will just get blown closed if they come loose.
Roof joists are held to the top plates with hurricane clips (2 per joist) and joist hangers on the ridge board.
Bottom is 2x6 held with 3 screws, this holds the corner posts square as well as setting the perimeter for buried hardware cloth to deter pests (voles, moles, rats, etc.).
For glazing I prefer to use either Plexiglas or Lexan, these should be 0.25 in. thick but 0.18 will work ok.
I use furring strips and screws to hold the glazing in place (predrill all holes), that way if something strikes the panel hard enough to damage it, I can just take out what is broken and replace it.
In this sort of frame it is easy to use shade cloth for temperature/ sunlight control and I don't have to worry about replacing stuff every 4 years from sun damage.
I've lost high tunnels to both wind and to snow, it sucks since I have to start everything over after the cleanup.

Our winds can get up to 70 mph and the normal wind usually registers 20-40 mph (we are on top of a mountain ridge with a clear swath straight up to the ridge so no wind break until I plant the fruit trees in that area).
My framed green houses are heavy but that is on purpose, I use 2x6's, 4x4's and the ridge is usually two 2x6's glued and screwed together for stiffness. If I want a half wall to mount benches to, I use 2x4's for framing that as well as for the bench.
I try hard to not need treated lumber so what I did was get some 6 inch PVC pipe and fittings, I glued these to get the right length and then put on screw cap ends.
I use this to soak the wood that will touch the soil in a borax solution for a few days then pull the wood out and let it air dry off the ground.
Since I am cheep and didn't want to make up more than two of these tubes, it takes me a week or two to get the wood ready for the build but I have that sort of time frame in mind when I plan a new greenhouse build.

Redhawk
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1282
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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I know several people who have had their wood shed type chicken coops blow away this year. Brutal, I tell ya. I'll be doing wood and glass but the most successful farmers I know have a hoop house, commercially bought variety. They do have to replace the fabric/plastic stuff every few years but pretty much everything here has that problem. Heck we have to go out and nail the roof down on our lean-to so frequently it's amazing.

They rolled up the sides when it was hot. That's all I got.
 
Lori Marton
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I don't have wind problems so can't really recommend anything on design.
I can however speak to the ability of mature bamboo groves to slow or completely stop wind without having to take up huge amounts of space. Something you might want to look into but I offer it with a caution! Prior to buying or planting bamboo be VERY sure you understand its properties, its pros and cons, and how to mitigate or eliminate the potential problems. Bamboo is not a plant and forget thing like a tree. It is a grass that grows fast (as in impenetrable in as little as 5 years) and in the case of running bamboo can get out of control if you take your eyes off it. On the other hand it is an awesome carbon sequester, stabilizes soil, new shoots are human eatable, makes great animal feed, bio char, lumber, mulch and as tall as a 90 foot wind break as well as so much more if grown responsibly. Just remember - no matter the precautions one day it WILL break out. Be sure you understand and are prepared to deal with it when it happens. The sheer pressure of the root balls will overwhelm anything eventually though eventually might be 1 year or 100. For 100% assurance it won't get out of control the only thing I know of is to surround it with water - it needs soil to spread and doesn't like wet feet. If you ever need to kill it you can cut it to the ground, water heavily and cover with a clear plastic to drown/steam it in sunny areas or black plastic to drown/cut off light anywhere. The only other option I know of is to dig out about 3 feet deep of dirt to get ALL roots.
Please understand I issue that warning not to discourage its use - I grow bamboo and love it. It provides so much for my family, but I have seen what it can do as well. Hope this helps
 
Dean Howard
Posts: 126
Location: NE ARIZONA, Zone 5B, 7K feet, 24" rain
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:I.
My framed green houses are heavy but that is on purpose, I use 2x6's, 4x4's and the ridge is usually two 2x6's glued and screwed together for stiffness. If I want a half wall to mount benches to, I use 2x4's for framing that as well as for the bench.
I try hard to not need treated lumber so what I did was get some 6 inch PVC pipe and fittings, I glued these to get the right length and then put on screw cap ends.
I use this to soak the wood that will touch the soil in a borax solution for a few days then pull the wood out and let it air dry off the ground.
Redhawk


Sorry for the delayed responses... Thanks for that complete description RedHawk... I love the Borax solution... pun intended, ha, ha.

After just seeing the post on Ceres type greenhouses (insulated greenhouses, passive solar w/massive thermal storage batteries), I'm convinced this is the way to go... expensive, but great for the long term.  I'm wondering if someone will create a post of a Poor-Mans version someday?... maybe WOFATI-like.
Thanks to all.
 
Steven Kovacs
Posts: 225
Location: Western Massachusetts (USDA zone 5a, heating zone 5, 40"+)
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Can you make your greenhouse sunken enough in the ground that wind is less of an issue?
 
Bhut Jolokia
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A lot of wonderful tips and tricks on this thread. Our greenhouse was destroyed in the last rainstorm. Made of aluminum, it was bent in half and went a good 1/4 mile away. I'm planning on making one from wood. (with a lot of everyone's ideas put together!)
 
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