gltrap54

Need Greenhouse Input Please......

gltrap54
7 years ago

This is my first post here , although I frequent several other forums on GW..... Been propagating for a few years, mostly vegetables, annuals, & super hots. I need some general advice from current or previous owners of greenhouses. I probably should start with what to look for when purchasing a starter greenhouse. TIA!

Comments (26)

  • cole_robbie
    7 years ago

    What's your budget?
    What size do you want?
    Do you need it to shed snow?

  • Mike Larkin
    7 years ago

    What do you want to grow ( what you listed or more), what are you using now to propagate?
    How much can you afford monthly -

    A heated greenhouse ( not sure of your zone) can be expensive.
    Also - what are you allowed to build in your neighborhood. Some local building codes may not permit a GH -

    Finally - You pay for what you get - save your $$ and buy what you really want .

    Mike

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  • gltrap54
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Thanks folks! Let me answer some of your questions......

    Budget: Around $4 - $5 K (including install cost)

    Size: Perhaps 9'W x 8'H x 10'L

    Location: NE Kansas, where winter can sometimes be harsh (requiring heat!). My home is in the hills above the Kansas River in a suburban setting, with no building code issues. I don't foresee operating costs, on a greenhouse this size, as being excessive......

    I'm recently retired & have gardened (vegetable & flowers)for the bulk of my years. Since retirement, I've delved into propagation, low tunnel gardening,& drip fertigation. I do my propagating in my heated shop using a propagation chamber & have capacity for 24 flats under 4', 4 bulb, T8 fixtures for growing.

    My focus would be on vegetables & flowers to start.It would also allow me to broaden my horizons ;)

    I'd appreciate any input that might help with my decision!

    Trapper

  • cole_robbie
    7 years ago

    With a budget that big, it's hard to go wrong. I just built a 19'x48' high tunnel for less than half that much money.

    How's your carpentry skills? If you can build a shed, you can build a greenhouse. If there are any Amish who build greenhouses in your area, they have some very nice designs. Find something you like and copy it. Beware of kits. Most of them are ridiculously overpriced for what you get.

  • gltrap54
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Thanks Cole Robbie!

    I've given some thought to constructing a hoop house, but haven't done a great deal of research on them...... I know they're much cheaper than a conventional greenhouse & serve the same purpose..... At one time there was grant money available from the feds for covering part of the construction cost (as much as 80%??) I'm only in this for a hobby, so I don't need anything as big as you have.

    Trapper

    This post was edited by Handsome54 on Sat, Feb 2, 13 at 19:19

  • cindy_ga
    7 years ago

    I'm new to posting on this forum too - I sometimes post on the Beans forum.

    I have just purchased a Harbor Freight Green House - the 10x12. Mudhouse's posts about the HFGH here and on her blog have convinced me that we can put up that greenhouse and survive. :) We're located in middle GA, I mostly grow veggies in raised beds with fairly intensive planting. Mudhouse's posts were encouraging to me because the desert heat isn't too far off from our temps in summer and if the drought continues in middle GA, we may actually be less humid. Our greenhouse was purchased from someone off Craigs List who had bought the kit, but never built it - so we got an excellent deal. If the first kit goes well, my hope is to purchase a second and attach the two greenhouses. Anyway - Trapper - here's a link to what convinced me to buy the HFGH. Good luck. (I have some questions about greenhouses and will get a new thread started.)

    Here is a link that might be useful: Building our Harbor Freight 10' x 12' Greenhouse

  • sugarbee03110
    7 years ago

    I also am new to posting. I tried to post a couple questions earlier but when I clicked preview and then submit it disappeared!! I live in southern NH (close to central NH about 20 miles) and plan on growing flower seeds myself for the 1st time. I just got back from Ocean State Job Lot and purchased 6 Mini greenhouses. Wow $20 each what a bargin!! They have 4 metal shelves and a zipped plastic cover. Once my seedlings get 2 to 3 sets of true leaves I want to be able to put them in the GH but I dont know what the minimum outdoor temp should be for the babies. Of course there will be no heaters involved so it is critical that I know what the minimum outside temp can be. I will be able to carry them back into the house each evening. Never done this before and want it to be at least somewhat successful so any help would be much appreciated!

  • another_buffalo
    7 years ago

    Cole-Robbie definately has the right idea. Build your own, or hire someone. I had one built just a little larger than what you are suggesting. Labor was the biggest expense at around $1400 and supplies around $800. That includes the furnishings, heat, electricity, soil, everything.

    The size is actually a little small, BUT when I go in there, i'm looking for things to do rather than playing catch up. So small is good.

    Here is a link that might be useful: lean to greenhouse, custom built

  • Mike Larkin
    7 years ago

    So what do you want to look at. Do you want to look at a hoop house or a glass (plexiglass) house?

    Budget: Around $4 - $5 K (including install cost) - good budget

    Size: Perhaps 9'W x 8'H x 10'L Good start on the plant list This may be small if you plant GH plant desires expand. Allow for expansion if you have the space. Once you start you
    You will need room for a potting bench,a little storage, and space to grow.

    Location: NE Kansas, where winter can sometimes be harsh (requiring heat!). My home is in the hills above the Kansas River in a suburban setting, with no building code issues. I don't foresee operating costs, on a greenhouse this size, as being excessive......
    You will need a good heater - You may need gas heater, dont do cheap, Cheap will need replaced in a few years

    I'm recently retired & have gardened (vegetable & flowers)for the bulk of my years. Since retirement, I've delved into propagation, low tunnel gardening,& drip fertigation. I do my propagating in my heated shop using a propagation chamber & have capacity for 24 flats under 4', 4 bulb, T8 fixtures for growing.

    My focus would be on vegetables & flowers to start.It would also allow me to broaden my horizons ;)

    You will hear suggestions about using Harbor Freight Greenhouse, however I suggest that you search this site for how many posts there are about HF good and bad. You decide
    I'd appreciate any input that might help with my decision!

    I bought atlas - and was happy ( mine is no longer listed)

    Here is a link that might be useful: look at Hobby

  • mudhouse_gw
    7 years ago

    I think Plantman's question ("So what do you want to look at?") is right on target. Greenhouses can be fully functional workhorses, but not terribly attractive, visually. Or, they can be delicate Victorian style delights, with little practicality. If you're in a suburban setting you may need to consider how your greenhouse looks to neighbors (I do.) No one type fits all of our needs.

    I have a 10 x 12 Harbor Freight greenhouse, and it's been just what I need for the last 5 1/2 years, after modifications for strength. When we started we knew nothing about greenhouses, so a kit was less intimidating than building from scratch. (Thanks Cindy-GA for your post above, and good luck with your build...keep me posted!!)

    With that nice budget, though, and the experience of folks who post here, I'd definitely investigate building the structure you need, as Cole Robbie and another_buffalo suggest. The shortcomings of the Harbor Freight kits (too weak for winds until modified, and panels that won't last as long as better quality) are certainly fixable. My greenhouse, stuffed to the gills year-round, is happy proof of that. But if you don't have pretty strict budget concerns, you have a lot more options. As Plantman says, reading here (or on my blog that Cindy posted above) can help sort out HF pros and cons. Shoot me an email if I can help.

    Asking questions and reading the archives here is a great way to figure things out as you go. I would not have had the courage to dive in almost six years ago without this forum. It's a great resource!

  • mudhouse_gw
    7 years ago

    Another_buffalo, great tour of your new greenhouse. You can tell a lot of hard work and thought went into that structure, and I'm sure you'll enjoy it. I liked your answer to the question, "What are you going to grow in there?" You're right, our greenhouses all help us to grow ourselves (in addition to our green stuff.)

  • gltrap54
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Thanks everyone for the links & chiming in with a lot of good info! I truly think I'd be happier (in terms of aesthetics, durability, & functionality) with a traditional greenhouse vs a hoop house.........
    Prolly double wall pollycarbonate & maybe a bit larger than originally stated. I'm a big guy that needs room to turn around. ;)

    This post was edited by Handsome54 on Sun, Feb 10, 13 at 12:04

  • karin_mt
    7 years ago

    Hi Handsome,

    You might look at Riga greenhouse kits. I have one as do several other members of this board, and if you search here you'll find photos and experiences of others. They are super sturdy and use twinwall polycarbonate. I'm totally in love with ours. They are pricey but it would fit (barely) within your stated budget.

    Good luck with the planning!
    Karin

  • gltrap54
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Thanks Karin! Wow, those Rigas are sweet! Any chance you could post a pic of yours? I'm curious about what site work (ie, pouring a concrete pad & water/elec supply)would need to be done. I'd think if you were going to spend that kind of money on a hobby greenhouse, you'd want it set up properly......

    Oooops! Now I do the search.... & located your pics..... Very nice indeed!

    This post was edited by Handsome54 on Sun, Feb 10, 13 at 22:32

  • gardener1
    7 years ago

    Mine cost only $220 dollars to build. Very little to heat and I got all the Glass for free. I believe Glass is the best protection. It may not be the prettiest thing in the world but it absolutely gets the job done I have made my money back ten times over. And as you can see I'm adding on. However after i put up the single panes I got a huge lot of double panes so the singles are coming back down for another use. Maybe a cold frame. Check out your local craigs list for free window panes. I love greenhouse gardening. I just picked my last ripe tomato the other day and it's Feb.12 2013. Crazy Huh!

    Here is a link that might be useful: My Bamboo Grove

  • karin_mt
    7 years ago

    Handsome,

    Some folks have done elaborate site prep for their Rigas, but they don't need anything more than what you'd do in any case. Certainly you'll want electricity and water no matter what you choose. You'll also want a perfectly level base area. Rigas come with their own foundation kit that you dig in. Then the structure gets built on top of that. A concrete pad is not the best idea for a few reasons. Gravel or pavers are the most common choices and they are nice and cheap too.

    If you are interested in heat retention, then insulating the foundation is an extra step that is a good idea. My original Riga thread shows how we did that (I think).

    Hope that helps!

  • gltrap54
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Thanks karin ! You've been very helpful in this process! One more question........... Should I consider constructing beds in my greenhouse vs all container growing?

  • gardener1
    7 years ago

    Handsome54
    I have in ground beds in mine but I put thin sheets of insulation under the beds. Which helps. I really like my in ground beds but I also have plenty of room for pots and a pond. The inground beds don't need to be watered as much as the pots. Plus the plants can grow much larger with the added room to grow. Check out this blog it may help you.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Gabelmans Gardens

  • karin_mt
    7 years ago

    Yup, I agree with everything Gardener said. I love having beds in the ground because the temp and moisture are more stable.

    For insulation, I think it's best to go around the perimeter rather than underneath. You want to allow the warmth from underground to come up, while blocking the chill from the surface, which is much colder than the ground a few feet below that.

  • gltrap54
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    I'm a bit nebulous on the insulation application.... Should there be insulation around the outside or inside perimeter of the gh foundation ? What type of insulation should be used? How deep do the beds need to be? Should the beds be lined with landscape fabric?

  • karin_mt
    7 years ago

    The insulation can either be directly under the foundation or just inside the perimeter. We used styrofoam sheets that are 2 inches thick, and we used two of them for a 4 inch thick layer that goes 16 inches deep all around the perimeter.

    Our beds are not lined - I don't think there is any reason to line them. I did remove a couple wheelbarrows of clay subsoil so that I would have room to add peat moss and compost. Ours are not very tall, just 4" sides. Just tall enough sides to contain everything, but not so tall that they are like raised beds. But people do that differently depending on how they are laying out their setup.

    Let me know if you'd like a photo that shows that.

  • gltrap54
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Googled foundation insulation & got a little better idea of what I need to do, but if you could post a pic of yours, that would be great!

  • karin_mt
    7 years ago

    Here is a photo that shows the foundation. You can see the metal frame which is set into the ground. Just inside of that is the top of the styrofoam. There are two sheets, taped together, set down 16 inches. We put in the foundation first, then dug a deep and skinny trench just inside the perimeter and slid the styrofoam down into it. After that we did the final leveling of the foundation.

  • karin_mt
    7 years ago

    Another pic showing the brand new greenhouse with the paver floor and ground bed on one side. Gosh, the greenhouse looks so clean and new in that photo!

  • gltrap54
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Again thanks! This gives me a much better idea of the concept. OBTW, you have a very nice set up!

  • MichiganFarmer
    7 years ago

    A lot of good information already posted. I have been hearing more and more about pit style greenhouses that utilize the constant temperature of the ground of 50 degrees coupled with a greenhouse or hoophouse structure over top. I would like to incorporate decomposing horse manure with red worms to provide good humus for our garden and feeding the chickens in the winter with the worms. All structures degrade over time and the cost of the structure replacement should be considered. Obviously, you never know how long something is going to last, but there are good indications how long greenhouse plastic can last if you do your homework. Treated lumber on the ground can last a long time and can be shielded with plastic to help prevent leaching of the pressure treating chemicals in the soil. Another alternative to treated lumber is composite material (basically standard size 2 x material but plastic based). Constructing a greenhouse gives you an opportunity to build what you want and is easy to do, while saving you money. As you probably already know, orientation of the structure in relationship to the sun is important. Depending on what you grow, shade clothes can be beneficial as well. Very few times have I heard where heating a greenhouse with electric, gas, etc is cost effective. Instead, covering plants with a secondary cover within the greenhouse and utilizing a bowl or bucket of warm water during the night can be a great help. It is a little more work, but well worth the savings. Hope this helps a little. Mike's Plans