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looking for a porous fabric to cover a greenhouse  RSS feed

 
Gilbert Fritz
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Location: Denver, CO
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I'd like to use a row cover type spun-bond fabric to cover a hoop house instead of the usual plastic sheeting material. The reason for this is that fabrics have more shading and venting ability during the day, while still keeping things warmer at night. My plastic covered greenhouse just got way too hot during the day, even with vents and the door open. Also, there was a rainforest humidity effect in the plastic tunnel which seemed to promote bugs and disease.

The problem is that I've yet to find a fabric that would be strong enough and come in large enough sizes.

Does anyone have any ideas?
 
Travis Johnson
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Would geotextile fabric for roads work? You can buy it in big lengths, quite wide and at reasonable cost.

Around here we get a fabric used by the paper mills that we use in place of geotextile for roads.
 
Gilbert Fritz
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I'm not sure. Would geotextile let in enough light for the plants? I've never handled the stuff and don't know what it is like.
 
Walt Chase
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Location: ALASKA
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Thats a tall order to find something like row cover that would be large enough and strong enough to cover a GH.  Instead why not look into shade cloth for your GH.  I've bought shade cloth from here: http://www.shadeclothstore.com/default.aspx and was pleased with the service and product.  Shade cloth can be had in several percentages of shade and will definately help keep your GH cooler.

ETA:  If you do buy shade cloth get the knitted and not the woven.  Knitted is a stronger product.
 
Gilbert Fritz
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Location: Denver, CO
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Would a hoop house covered with just shade cloth be any warmer at night? The main cooling force on my field during spring and fall nights is radiant cooling to the sky. Would shade cloth interrupt radiant cooling? I'm assuming it would slow down the wind.

I could of course spread the shade cloth over plastic mesh, but that is one more layer to deal with and would reduce the breathability of the structure.
 
wayne fajkus
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Tyvek house wrap will hold up. While not porous, it let's water vapors thru.
 
Walt Chase
Posts: 63
Location: ALASKA
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While not 100% sure, I would say that shade cloth would not be much help in holding heat in at night. Too porous.  It would be used over the top of your plastic covering, you could drape it over, which is the most common way or build a frame that sits above your current GH and support it from there, kinda like a tent rain fly that doesn't touch the tent.

A place I worked at many years ago had several glass greenhouses.  We were located in middle GA in probably zone 9.  We always "whitewashed" the glass greenhouses each spring.  Mixed it up and applied with a garden sprayer.  They make a special coating that goes on and over the course of the season slowly washes off the glass.  It definitely kept the GH cooler than the bare, clear glass.  I don't know where to source that any more or if it would be compatible with plastic covering on a GH.

I hear you on the radiant cooling at night.  That is my biggest obstacle as well.
 
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