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Author Topic: starting a HF Greenhouse  (Read 745 times)

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Offline DDW_OR

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starting a HF Greenhouse
« on: August 23, 2017, 02:53:06 am »
I got two of the 10x12 Harbor Freight green houses i am going to put back to back.
remove the three center panels from each, then use 5 of the 6 panels to make the resulting green house 2 feet wider in the center, so 26 feet long by 10 feet wide.
i will be adding two 55 gallon barrows in the center section.

digging a pit 15x32, then make a foundation out of Rail Road Ties in the pit 26x10.
then fill the inside and outside of the foundation with good soil.
then build the greenhouses.
will add the Modifications i saw on Youtube
Tape the panels
add cross braces
screw the panels to the frame





plan on growing Tomatoes, green peppers, green beans, peas, semi dwarf Oranges, semi dwarf Tangerines, in the greenhouse.
we are growing Zone 7. the record recorded low was -1F

using an OWB for winter heating.

may even put in a 3 person hot tub. have several double pane windows

Mod - 09/05/2017
 historical Temps

 
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Online fishpharmer

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Re: starting a HF Greenhouse
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2017, 07:56:23 am »
Interesting, I look foward to reading more about your greenhouse project.
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: starting a HF Greenhouse
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2017, 11:15:17 am »
I've been doing hydroponics for the past several years.  I never got into the fish thing.  I have had good success with peppers of all types, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, kale, and lettuce.  I can also grow a few cantaloupe.  The one problem I do run into is pollination.  But, that is more with the vine crops. 

I do most of mine in 5 gal containers, and recirculate the water.  I also have a space for 3 inch pots that are placed in a 4x4 plastic fence post.  I use that for things like lettuce, kale, and onions.  My medium is sawdust.  Seems to work pretty good for me. 

The other thing you'll probably want is grow lights.  I have them on a timer, and use them when the days get shorter than 12 hrs daylight. 

I'm not using any heat source.  I've been going to about Thanksgiving until everything gives up.  October may be spotty, as for yield.  I can start again in the beginning of March with the cool weather plants.  I also installed an attic fan with a thermostat for ventilation.  My construction is just 2x4s and sheet plastic. 
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Online PineNut

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Re: starting a HF Greenhouse
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2017, 02:41:04 pm »
I have two green houses. Each one consist of two of the HF greenhouses. I did not do anything special with mine, just assembled them end to end and left out the panels in the center. That gives me a door on each end which is sufficient for ventilation. The only thing I did not do that I should have is to close off the top vents permanently. I heat mine with OWF and use supplemental electric heat if necessary. I use mine only for over wintering plants and do not try to keep it at a very warm temperature, usually at the mid 30's or above.  With my location in SW Mississippi, I don't need heat very much. I did manage to purchase them using their 20% off coupon, getting someone else to get one for me. Only problem is after about 10 years, there are holes that are appearing in the outer surface of the panels on the roof on my older one.

Offline DDW_OR

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Re: starting a HF Greenhouse
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2017, 04:01:10 pm »
I have two green houses. Each one consist of two of the HF greenhouses. I did not do anything special with mine, just assembled them end to end and left out the panels in the center. That gives me a door on each end which is sufficient for ventilation. The only thing I did not do that I should have is to close off the top vents permanently. I heat mine with OWF and use supplemental electric heat if necessary. I use mine only for over wintering plants and do not try to keep it at a very warm temperature, usually at the mid 30's or above.  With my location in SW Mississippi, I don't need heat very much. I did manage to purchase them using their 20% off coupon, getting someone else to get one for me. Only problem is after about 10 years, there are holes that are appearing in the outer surface of the panels on the roof on my older one.

any photos?

here is how i plan to layout the interior
the shaded areas along the walls are benches 18 to 24 inch height, 24 inch width
center shaded area is floor growing; either in the dirt or in 5 gallon buckets
the large round circles are the trees
the smaller circles in between are the 55 gallon drums.
i saw on Craigslist that some are plastic and have removable lids. so thought of putting one in the ground (bottom), then another one above it (Top), as height as i can get it.
pump from bottom to top, float switch to stop pump when top is full, then gravity feed from top to plants, then drain from plants to bottom.
this way the pump should not have to run 24/7 

 
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Offline DDW_OR

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Re: starting a HF Greenhouse
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2017, 04:11:02 pm »
...... The only thing I did not do that I should have is to close off the top vents permanently. ..... I did manage to purchase them using their 20% off coupon.......Only problem is after about 10 years, there are holes that are appearing in the outer surface of the panels on the roof on my older one.

i have been wondering about those vents
yep, the HF here would not let me use the 20% on the sale price, but they did let me use it on the regular price. so regular price, minus 20% = $30 cheaper than the sale price
i hope in 10 years there will be better panels available for when mine go bad.
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Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: starting a HF Greenhouse
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2017, 04:27:28 pm »
the smaller circles in between are the 55 gallon drums.
i saw on Craigslist that some are plastic and have removable lids. so thought of putting one in the ground (bottom), then another one above it (Top), as height as i can get it.
pump from bottom to top, float switch to stop pump when top is full, then gravity feed from top to plants, then drain from plants to bottom.
this way the pump should not have to run 24/7 

 (Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
I did something similar.  My "top" tank is too far from my bottom tank to have some wiring (plus I didn't think about it and run some conduit).  In my bottom tank, I have two float switches.  When the tank fills to the top, it triggers a 12v relay that latches and triggers a solid state relay to run the pump.  When the tank is nearly empty, the second switch breaks the 12v power connection to the relays and the power is dropped from the pump.  In theory, since I never drain the lower tank completely, I should never overfill the upper tank (275 gallon IBCs).  However, as the plants consume the water, I have to add some from time to time.  Occasionally I forget and put too much in.  Then I get a gusher at the top tank :-\  A failsafe float switch up there would come in handy!
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Offline DDW_OR

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Re: starting a HF Greenhouse
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2017, 12:40:11 am »
thank you for the ideas.
thinking of programming a Raspberry Pi to take care or the watering system.
the last time i did any programming was at DeVry with the 8088 processor.
and before that it was basic programming with the Commodore 64, no machine code.

so, a float switch in the Top for Empty and Full. will add an overfill pipe to the Bottom
Bottom = Empty, Full, and Over Full
then for the Raspberry Pi to check system water level, shutoff pump, wait 30 minutes, check Bottom water level to see if Full switch is active, if not then open main water valve to fill. if Over full activates then shut main water off and activate pump.
a flow sensor or 3 would be good additions.

i will be trenching the following to the Greenhouse, water, 240V, Ethernet, and an empty 1 1/2 inch pipe

wish i had Natural Gas near the property.
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: starting a HF Greenhouse
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2017, 06:26:44 am »
For my watering system, I simply used a fish tank pump.  I believe its somewhere around 60 gal/hr.  I have a programmable timer that allows it to run for a 15 minute cycle for 4-5 cycles a day.  I run that into 1/2 inch line that hangs overhead.  Then, I put in a 1/2 gal/hr emitter that runs off a 1/4 inch line that runs to each plant.  Excess water is run into a 4 inch sewer pipe that runs back to tank.  It connects to each bucket.  I have a smaller greenhouse and only use a 25 gal tank, which is a cheap tool box from Lowe's. 

For my lettuce, kale and onions, I use an ebb and flow setup.  They seem to tolerate that very well.  Runs off the same system.
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Offline bigred1951

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Re: starting a HF Greenhouse
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2017, 09:40:27 pm »
Ron do you have any pics of your hydro system. I've thought about doing one just have no clue how to set one up really or how to feed them. I know you have to add the nutrients to the water.

Offline DDW_OR

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Re: starting a HF Greenhouse
« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2017, 01:14:20 am »
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Offline DDW_OR

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Re: starting a HF Greenhouse
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2017, 07:25:15 pm »
greenhouse build is on hold until the fire season is over.

I have made the RR tie foundation. it is two ties high, used 1/2 x 20 inch pvc pipe to secure the upper to lower tie.

now going to test the soil on the 166 acres to see where i have the best soil to use.

so, until the rains start i will be working on other projects.

  

 

 
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: starting a HF Greenhouse
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2017, 03:29:01 pm »
Ron do you have any pics of your hydro system. I've thought about doing one just have no clue how to set one up really or how to feed them. I know you have to add the nutrients to the water.

Here's how my system works.  I have a water reservoir which holds about 25 gal when totally full.  It's a heavy duty plastic tote from Lowe's and costs $12.  They also have a 40 gal one for $20. 
 

 

The big pipe is a return line.  The green hose is just a garden hose that attaches to a submersible aquatic pump.  You can pick them up on Ebay pretty cheap.  You only need one that gives about 5 gal/min at 6' of head.  I run that on a timer to water about every 6 hrs for 15 min.  I'll add another 15 min cycle when the afternoons get hot to reduce plant wilting.  I attach that to a series of pipes overhead.  This is some 3/4" irrigation pipe I had laying around.  Everything is dry fitted, since there is no pressure in the system.  I have it going out to zones, so I can shut them off when a zone isn't in use.
 

 

At each zone, I reduce it to a 1/2" hose which you can buy at Lowe's for $20 for a 100' roll.  You'll need to cap the ends.  I then put drip lines to the buckets.  It uses a 1/2 gal/hr emitter.  I am growing in sawdust, but some others use clay marbles.  I put a 5 gal paint filter in the buckets to hold the sawdust.  That prevent debris from coming back into the system.  They last a couple of years.  That can get into the emitters, and they have to be cleaned when that happens.  You also want dark buckets to keep light from making algae.  The bottom has an overflow that allows the excess to go back to tank.  Without that, you'll have problems if you put in more water than the plants use.  I put a 3" hole in the lid, which seems sufficient. 
 

 

I also made an ebb and flow system for my smaller plants, like lettuce and kale.  I also grew some onions in them.  These are made from 6' fence posts I got at Lowe's.  You need to glue caps on each end to make them watertight.  I made a rack to hold these in.  The water comes in from the top, and just goes through the system until the last one goes to tank.  You also have to put in an overflow and a valve to adjust the outflow from the system.  Otherwise the water goes through the system too fast for the small plants to absorb.  My system will hold 42 plants.  It's a lot more than what you need.
 

  

 

I've used Miracle-Gro as a nutrient source.  I've also used some hydroponic store nutrients, which are a lot more costly.  You have to have enough nutrients and have to cycle them a bit to get the best results.  You can also make your own nutrient batches from compost and other additives, but I have never gone that route.  You also want to keep your water at a pH between 5.8 to 6.8.  I use some spa balancers from Kmart to get my pH in balance.

The nice thing about the system is that you don't have to weed.  You do need to keep an eye on bugs.  I had aphids on the peppers and cabbage bugs on the kale.  Other than that, my system uses about 5-10 gal of water per day.  I don't plant more than we can eat of a fresh basis.  There's only 2 of us, so the small greenhouse works for us.  Our growing season has been extended by about 1 month on each end. 
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