There is an ongoing interest in greenhouses, so I split the 'general chat' thread to give greenhouses a separate spot for future discussion. It is worth going back to an older thread on the same topic, found here: https://cubits.org/Dahlias/thread/view/78651/
Mr Islander and I are talking about whether I can have a greenhouse this year. It was supposed to be part of the house sale that I would have my greenhouse replaced, but when Covid hit we took the next offer we got which was quite a bit lower then we planned on, and there went my greenhouse plans. Now I have been looking at our location and really really want a greenhouse again, even if it is one of the plastic kind...but what I really want is another SunGlo like I had. Even with out the special features like raising it 18" higher on a knee wall and a poured cement foundation with 2 drains in the floor.
I think I could fit a lean-to size up against the garage above the high flood mark...We'll go out and measure it tomorrow. I have some savings left from my days of selling dahlias, (Also a birthday coming in a few weeks). I know I could buy one of the plastic pop up ones, but they tend to only last a few years in the sun exposure. I think I had the SunGlo for about 10 years and only needed to replace the heater and a door latch.
I loved working in my greenhouse in early spring when the sun was up and warming it...I sure would love to be out there again! It also made a good place to process tubers on a wet day, but still have natural light. The SunGlo comes with a lovely potting bin for soil, good counter space, heater and fan, room to run a hose in, screened doors and vents.
I asked for a raised bed for perennials for Christmas and it is being constructed. Now I need the greenhouse to start those perennial seeds as well as jump starting dahlias and taking cuttings .
Islander wrote:I'll have to check what the premium has that the basic doesn't. I don't remember that distinction. Our last one we set up on a raised footing wall to create more head room inside, then raised the benches higher to compensate. Being a tall person I didn't want to be stooping over benches. Now I will not raise the house taller and the benches higher because I find I do better sitting down when doing potting and such and will want them at a good height fort hat.
We found the Sun Glo to be sturdily made, which a lot of do it yourself greenhouses are not. My husband and I were able to put it together ourselves (But that was 10 years ago. We will hire a helper with less arthritis this time.) I have to say that my husband was a Boeing Engineer so reading directions and following them is not scary to him. I also have to say that he and I always interpret directions about 180 degrees turn from each other...It took a lot of patience and love to do this together,
Doing this on a cement pad with drains and drain pipes under it was also worth the extra work. Had I done it on brick, gravel or grass we would have had so much trouble with slugs slithering in. By putting it on the cement pad we were able to keep most creepy crawlers out. IT was easy cleanup of my work space to be able hose the floor down when needed. We had a shade cloth cover for it but I only used that one year because by the time it got hot enough to over heat the house I had all my plants and seedlings outside.
SunGlo engineers their greenhouses to withstand weather in Alaska, so we never had a worry about snow load on it. Of course we only ever had heavy snow the last year we were there but did not discover any damage from it. The doors are screened with window panels that can be removed for the summer.
They come complete with heater and fans, though our heaters did give out after a few years and we substituted ones bought at the local hardware store.
The ventilation fans worked well until the summer weather really warmed up but by then we had the seedlings all out and in the garden. The doors have removable panels over screening for ventilation. If you want to work with another person in the greenhouse I think you would want to go a bit wider with a wider walkway between sides so you could pass by each other. Put a comfy lawn chair at the back end and you have a lovely retreat to take your coffee out to the greenhouse and think about things.. Or for a fabulous retreat, put doors in both ends and a walled patio with room to set flats out to harden off, as well as chairs for a coffee drinking, cell phone using "morning room"..
The maintanance on the greenhouse was pretty easy. Mostly a good hosing off of the greenhouse exterior after the tree pollen season, and a good washing fft of the cement floor and the moss that would grow on the sill of the raised wall. That was in our Zone 8 Pacific Northwest climate. We built a wooden ramp up to the doorway to be able to bring the wagon up and in with bags of potting soil, etc. I totally loved the potting sink! Dump a whole bag of potting soil in it and set my pots by it and go to work filling and planting them!
I have used shelters like this but they don't do well in the wind. Now would I leave them up year round because the sun destroys the plastic in a few years. I have had several different types of these. The Flower House was probably the best and I am still using it inside my garage as a grow room inspite of broken zippers. IT does keep the heat of the grow lights in and helps to keep it up to a nice cosy temperature fro growing. Its still not the same as a plexiglass house with fans, heaters , vents and doors that are easy to open and close. Putting that big "Flower House" plastic greenhouse away was a project that takes more then one person, too! ! I would just dread being the one who had to zip it up and unzip it because it was quite a struggle. My husband use to dread it for weeks before finding someone who could help him take it down and fold it. He never quite believed that it could be packed away again. I have also had them collapse under a surprise snow storm when we were out of town. At this stage of my life I just want to be able to walk into the door, work, and close the door on the way out!
These little greenhouses are great when you are starting out, or living in a temporary home your are renting. They are also very nice when you are hardening off plants. They can also be a total disaster if the sun comes out when you are away and you didn't expect that and can't get home to vent them!
"They can also be a total disaster if the sun comes out when you are away and you didn't expect that and can't get home to vent them!"
I know a person who lost several hundred cuttings in one of those flimsy greenhouses. The sun came out unexpectedly and he was away. They looked like boiled spinach.
Even an 8 x10 greenhouse has enough capacity to keep the temps tolerable, if the doors and windows are closed. I have one that is over 20 years old and it still is useable although the original corrugated plastic has gotten brittle and I covered that with regular greenhouse plastic to quell the leaks.
Greenhouses are wonderful for gardeners but there is a steep learning curve and mistakes are often deadly.
Name: Steve San Diego Commercial cut flower grower
Noni, just remember, "the more money you spend on a greenhouse, the more you will have for a tax write off". Of course, ito take advantage of the write off, you won't be able to retire your bouquet/plant sales for a few years.
The word hoop is often thought of in a negative way but in greenhouses, the best ones for the money are so called "hoop houses" . Ours is 16x32. It is a modified hoop house in that metal pipes are placed into the ground and are 4 feet above the ground and then the hoop fits over or inside the pipe and this gives you a wall and benches can be placed closer. Two issues are seldom discussed: (1) to heat or not to heat. Ours is un heated and is useful from about March15th to July. Heating greenhouses is very expensive and you need two layers of plastic film besides a heating system ands lots of money for fuel. (2) you need the ground to be level and this was the most difficult task to do when we put up our greenhouse.
We put up a hoop house the last year or two we were on the Island. My purpose for it was to keep my chrysantheums alive over winter. It did a pretty good job of that but it dripped water on our heads constantly from condensation on the plastic. If I can't come up with a permanent structure (Well, as permanent as greenhouses tend to be) I might try that again. We spent about $1000 on 20' by 7' structure. It was hard work for my husband to do physically though. I think I would at least want a fan in it. It was nice to take off the plastic in early summer though.
Our hoop house has the shade cloth on top of the plastic film much of the time, especially when you are working in there. We keep saying we need to organize and clean it but that seems to happen infrequently. Empty pots and flats on every level surface . Oh, well. .
Name: Steve San Diego Commercial cut flower grower
We are lucky in So. Cal. - there is no need to engineer a snow load so many growers use a hoop house instead of the traditional greenhouse structure. For me, the deciding factor has been the permits required. A hoop house with no electric does not require a permit. Any hoop house using electricity (lights, heat, automation, etc.) requires a permit. A permit increases the building cost a great deal/sq.ft. I have a couple of cheap hoop houses, so no permits, but I have one attached to the barn so I have lights and electric heat mats. I have 4 foot sidewalls and roll those plastic sidewalls up when I need ventilation/cooling. In the summer I use a white latex paint to create shade. With the change in weather here in recent years (we haven't had a hard frost for 3 years) I find I am using the hoop houses more for shade in the summer than for heat in the winter.
I just split this thread off the general chat thread... posting now to 'pop' it to the top of unread threads for y'all. There's also a 5 year old thread named 'Greenhouses...' that is relevant to this discussion, found here: https://cubits.org/Dahlias/thread/view/78651/
I have locked that older thread, redirecting folks to this thread.
So. we called in our order on the greenhouse today...and found they are just as overloaded with orders as all the seed houses. Lead time on our 8 by 15' Sunglo are 3-4 months out and the company is looking for a new factory site to let them increase production. Ah well, so be it..the greenhouse is ordered, whew! I think this year some simple shelves along the outside of the wall of the garage will do, where we thought about putting a lean-to greenhouse, and plastic to cover things at night as they harden off...I will need those shelves for hardening plants off anyhow and that can be the permanent spot for them. I am very agreeable now that my greenhouse is ordered I still have my old pop up inside the garage with the growlights but that baby is never moving again....it will be discarded once the new one is up. Then I will be able to get my car back in the garage.
Major progress on the greenhouse project! No, it isn't arriving any sooner but we now have the pool dissasembled and removed from the yard so now I can see the lay of the land. We figured out on lining the greenhouse up with the garage that is 15' away instead of the house which is at an angle to it. The only square corners here are in the buildings (And raised beds) It means moving 2 sections of dog yard fence and we still have a great pile of sand and cement blocks that were part of the pool site. Its going to be awesome looking out at the garden from the greenhouse as well as from the back yard without the pool in the way.
This thread is at the bottom of the list. We have two green houses one is a very small 8 x 10 that we bought 25 years go. It is held together with duct tape. Well actually, I placed a piece of greenhouse poly film over the top of it to quell the leaks and it is has been rejuvenated. I do have a small electric heater in there and a commercial heat mat but during this stretch of warm weather they are off. I may turn them on in a couple of days when the weather is much cooler. I like to say it holds 1,000 plants but that means plants in 2.5 inch pots and the walkway in the middle is bridged over with old boards and it is hell on wheels reaching the plants with the watering pot. So, usually I use a hose to water when it is full. The larger greenhouse is not heated and holds many more flats of dahlia plants but Margaret "steals" lots of my space with her fuchsias, geraniums, petunias, salvia, marigolds, swedish ivy, calibrachoas, rudbeckia, and ageratum and a bazillion other things. And some of the space is above your head as the hanging baskets are on pipes suspended by baling twine(the pipes are very secure and I replace the twine every couple of years) . When you over water them the water is not wasted as it hits the small pots below. Margaret likes to pull the shade cloth over the greenhouse when she is working in there during even mildly hot weather. We have a water bin that must hold over 40 gallons of water under the bench and we add 20-20-20 greenhouse fertilizer to the water to "turn it blue" as they add blue dye to the fertilizer. Plants love that balanced fertilizer as potting soil really has almost no fertilizer in it. That reminds me that I need to buy another 25 pound bag of it. If I am lucky our nursery supply shop will have it for about $35- but that is a 20 mile one way trip so I will probably buy it at the local farm store for $40-. The brand there is Jacks and the bag I am working from is Plant Marvel and they are of equal quality. The 10 acre nursery we frequent uses Plant Marvel. By the way, Jacks is the company that Jack Peters started after the company called Peters(his father?) was bought out by Scotts and they eventually sold the brand and it is not available here. We used to love Peters 20-20-20 fertilizer but Jacks and Plant Marvel are just as good. Miracle Gro can be used in a pinch but is very much more expensive.
Its getting to the time when our greenhouse company told us they would have one for us. We contacted them to ask yesterday. Interesting answer!
"Well, we have one huge order ahead of yours but we hare having trouble getting the doors and vents and they want to wait until those things are available. We can do yours now if you don't mind waiting for the doors and vents to be made or you can order vents seperately from (Name of company given)." We told them to go ahead and ship it...I won't be needing it to start plants until next winter now so I will take what they have as they have it. It will make a nice rain shelter if I get caught out in the rain (which is almost non existent here in summer..)
Ted, thanks so much for this information on Hoop Houses. I think that could be within my budget and I can build a very small one to suit my needs. I love the idea of metal pipe dug into the ground; it's very windy here and I think that could solve the wind problem. I don't mind replacing the plastic as needed. I also love reading about your other greenhouses, and all the great tips and tidbits you throw in. I would love to see photos of your greenhouses and all you describe within, Ted.
Yay for deciding to get the greenhouse shipped so you can start using it, Noni!
I'll be following this thread because I have had the use of a couple small greenhouses and boy, did I ever use them! both were glass but I would love even a hoop house, since many things don't need heat.
We built a hoophouse at our last place and it was really nice to have. I used it to grow my chrysanthemums and over winter them. It cost us about $1000 to build a 10 by 25' one. We build two raised beds with a path down the middle, hammered in rebar along the framework and then put plastic drain-pipe over the rebar posts to form the hoops. The cost was for the rebar, outdoor wood for the frames, and greenhouse plastic (treated to withstand ultraviolet light) to go over the hoops. We built a wood door for each end so it could be opened up to allow ventilation. If I were doing it again I would make the beds only 3' deep since I had to reach to the back from the center path. The only time it was hard work after getting it built was when we got a heavy snowfall and had to get up every few house to shake the snow off the framework. If you only want it for spring growing just take the plastic off in the summer or fall. The only thing I didn't like about mine was the constant drip of condensation from the roof during the springtime. We did have vents above the doors but they didn't totally solve the problem in our damp springtime.
Where do you keep your pot roots over the summer and do you have an automatic watering system for them or how do you keep them comfortable on hot days? I have mine on a shelf outside the garage on the south east side but it gets really hot for a few hours there in summer. I guess I will move them back under the asian pear tree where I had them last summer, but that is our outside coffee/lunch place.
Pot tubers: I have a 30 x 20 area that has fruit trees to the west and fruit trees to the east and some shade from the North also. The area gets sun only in the middle of the day for a few hours. It is also right next to water spigot and I hand water once a day and more on hot days. They are grown above the ground on a chain link panel mounted on some milk crates. When I grew them on the ground the slugs an snails were a problem and it took days to harvest them as opposed to a few hours for the chain link plants. It is the roots that grow out of the bottom of the pots when grown on the ground that take forever to harvest and also the they ruin most of the pots.