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So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

Posted by lesli8 8TX (My Page) on
Thu, Feb 28, 13 at 13:28

My wonderfully talented dh is a collector or sorts. He always accepts "stuff" whether he has something already planned for it or not. Quite some time ago, he worked for our local public school and they went through a HUGE renovation. He was at the right place at the right time to collect a lot of "good stuff". They took out all the large alum. windows and replaced them with newer higher tech/effic. windows. DH collected 30+ large alum. windows. They took down the heavy duty galvanized chainlink fencing. He got to collect that also. They tore down many buildings with r-panel siding, he collected the old stuff before they crunched it up, and when they told him they wanted to clean out the bus barn, he did. He was to discard some 3ft pieces of new white r-panel sheet metal that they cut off from the roofing of the bus barn. So he thought he'd build me a greenhouse with all the good stuff. Going by the materials we had and trying to be reasonable also, he is building me a 21'x14'1" greenhouse. Why that weird size? because mostly of the window measurements, that is how it came out... So he is using the galvanized pipe (he is a welder by trade) and bolting it together for future portability for the frame, coupled with these I don't' know what they are 3ft pieces that he said are like metal 2x6's that he welded together to make 21' and 14' long pieces for supporting windows. He is using the 3'white r panel for skirting under the windows and we are buying the clear Suntuf polycarbonate panels for the roof. I have a gazillion solid antique bricks (from the old auditorium) for the floor/pathways. A local garden guru radio talk guy's nursery people suggested we use tar paper instead of weed fabric for the floor and some sort of gravel or mulch to cover. All the windows open and have solar screens they go all the way around thee greenhouse. So I think I have ventilation covered...?

Can you experts look at my descriptions and advise on trouble spots or make any suggestions that would prevent future problems? I am a gardener from way back but new to greenhouse gardening. I have hopes of using it for any silly thing I might think up. I love flowers, starting cuttings of roses, starting seeds. I am a heavy duty veggie gardener, and have a small farmette with my own milk cows/chickens (goats and pigs are gone) I am also considering vermaculture and rabbits to of course go hand in hand and add to my organic gardening/greenhouse.
PS he also "collected" a several hundred foot "board walk -decking" from the portable classrooms that the school used temporarily while the school was being rebuilt. It is all pressure treated, mostly short-ish pieces, but plans to build my greenhouse shelving and benches from these...Thanks for your suggestions and comments.
Lesli


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

The local botanical gardens just had a seminar on hobby greenhouses. Several items were stressed: the floor and ventilation. You shouldn't have any 'degradable' flooring, like mulch. It breaks down and also provides a place for wee nasties to hide. One of the most important factors in greenhouse design is the concept of thermal mass: you need something to suck up heat during the day and release it at night. Use the bricks you have so many of. Put down a gravel base, then landscape fabric, and maybe 1" of sand which will make leveling the bricks a whole lot easier. Tar-paper will interfere with drainage.

Most folks underestimate the need for adequate ventilation. Even though the windows may open and have solar screening, you'll still need 'active' ventilation in the gable ends, especially for times when you aren't around and the weather changes from cloudy and damp to sunny and hot. I've got a thermostatically-controlled exhaust fan in one end linked to a powered damper on the other. Another important factor is the need to move air around inside even without exhausting it.

Best tip of the day from folks that tend thousands of plants for a major botanical garden? An effective control for most soft-bodied critters like aphids, mites and juvenile scale.... A capful of isopropanol in a quart-sized sprayer with a couple of drops of Dawn. That's it...swirl to mix but don't make it foam....

Cheers


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

Since you're in zone 8, you will get the most use out of your greenhouse if you make it do double duty as both a greenhouse in the winter and a shade house in the summer. Even with all the windows open, in direct summer sun it will be 120 in there when it is 100 outside. Without shade, you won't be able to use the structure in the summer, at least to grow plants.

There are a lot of ways to make shade. You can make blinds or louvers in your windows. You can paint the windows with a temporary shade paint. Or you can use shade cloth.

Good luck with everything. It is great to see anything built from re-purposed materials.


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

apg4,
I am interested in your tip.... A capful of isopropanol in a quart-sized sprayer with a couple of drops of Dawn. That's it...swirl to mix but don't make it foam...

I found the following recipe on a web serach:

Mix one cup of your generic isopropyl alcohol, that you can find at most any store in the first aid section or the like, with 1½ teaspoons of Dawn to one quart of water. Mix those two ingredients with one quart of water and apply on your plant's leaves (top and bottom) every three days for two weeks.

My questions are:
1- Isopropanal (99%) appears to be expensive compared to Isopropyl Alcohol (70-80%) - are both effective? Is there a difference between them other than concentration %?
2- Is Isopropanal available at local stores - where can one purchase it other than the internet?
3- Are repeat applications necessary with Isopropanal as the recipe with Isopropyl Alcohol suggests?

Thanks!


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

Isopropanol is short for isopropyl alcohol - common "rubbing alcohol". (Used to be a hospital lab tech and chemistry major before calculus got ahold of me....) The 91% commonly found in the neighborhood drug store is just marginally more expensive than the 70% stuff.

I specifically asked as to the concentrations, as they seemed a tad 'mild' to me. Nope, a capful or two per quart is all you need, The Dawn acts as a surfactant to encourage complete coverage; they also said that it prevents the alcohol from evaporating so readily...but I didn't really buy that (see above).

This is used as a control on soft-bodied pests on thousands of seedlings and cuttings plus everything else in a huge greenhouse.


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

Thanks apg4 - your explanation cleared it up for me!


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

Would love to see some pictures!!


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

Well dh has the walls all built and the trusses, and there it sits, waiting for muscles (my sons') and time to work on it and get it all together. He has each wall built and lays them on the ground. He did get my sons who were here yesterday to help move one of the longer walls back to the super huge metal table so he could install the door frame. He has not done that yet, today he had to run to his mom's place to remove a shed roof so the well people could pull the well and fix what ever is wrong with it, tomorrow he has to go to my mother's and do drywall in a newly built on room. It is nice to have a husband that can do so much, but aggravating that he has to do it all for others first. ;) So when the walls start going up, I will try to add photos! Thanks for all of your comments. We do have vents for the gables, but they are not powered. I may have to work on that particular idea. I plan to use the Suntuf clear polycarbonate roofing panels, but I had thought of alternating with solid sheet metal on every other one on the south side (long side) to give extra shade. And I have looked into the shade paint stuff. I guess I will have to experiment with different things. Those are the tips I need!! love the bug killer tip too thanks! More tips please! I do have tons of old bricks, so I may be doing that esp. the paths and walk ways in the greenhouse and gravel under the plant shelves/benches.


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

You are killing with curiosity can you please post some pictures!


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

Very cool project! In Texas, you will definitely need shade cloth plus as much ventilation as you can possibly get: windows that open, doors that can be propped open, plus roof vents. And then on top of that some sort of misting system or swamp cooler.

There are roof vents that open automatically as the temperature rises but they do not use electricity. I can't recall the name but they are easy to find via Google or browsing greenhouse supply stores like Charlie's.

The old bricks will be perfect for walkways and edging - I love that idea. Under the bricks you can use regular weed blocking fabric - no tar paper please (what does tar leachate do to plants?)

What a great project - thanks for sharing! Do keep us posted!


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

oops deleted duplicate message, but have to type something...

This post was edited by lesli8 on Mon, Mar 18, 13 at 0:46


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

I do have a mist/fogging system already, we used to use it for our hog operation, now no more piggies so they will be perfect for my greenhouse, already had that in the plans. Well, the folks who suggested the tar paper instead of weed block are actually running one of the most successful organic nurseries in San Antonio, TX. Said since it is heavier it does not move around as much and keeps the product (sand, gravel/bricks) or what ever from sliding around as much, and as we have Bermuda grass (the bane of my existence, unstoppable, evil, most awful grass to keep out of gardens, and flower beds, large flower pots, etc and yes it will grow through the weed fabric!) that we will be trying to keep out I guess they thought I would be more successful with it instead. And they say it will last a lot longer. Also the soil in my yard is probably more than 4ft deep of a fine sandy loam, heavy on the sandy. DRAINS SUPER WELL. My dh and I have had the same discussion wondering about the tar paper and drainage, but something tells me it wouldn't be quite the issue here as it would be in other types of soil. Dh has suggested putting in a drain in the middle (or created low spot into a drain pipe-- piped under and away from the greenhouse.) Esp. if we do the gravel under like was suggested above with the weed fabric. I imagine that we will probably use the weed fabric instead. But I would sure hate to have to fight the grass for ever and ever...

;) sorry, Ray, I will try to take a few photos of what we have already, just looks so boring laying on the ground...LOL!!


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

Hi lesli8 --

Very interested in your greenhouse project -- so cool that you're able to reuse all those materials... and lucky you to have such a skilled - and willing - handyman husband!

I also live in TX and will be building a greenhouse as part of our new house design. I'll create a separate post with my questions so as to NOT hijack this post. Just wanted to thank you for checking into that 'tar paper' for the floor issue. We also have sandy loam soil and I think it sounds like a good idea.


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

The greenhouse is going up!! I am so excited!! I have posted some of the long awaited photos on my blog.

Here is a link that might be useful: Over Yonder (at the farm)


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

Here is a photo. I have ended up using the Suntuf brand of polycarbonate roofing panels. I decided to get the grey transparent version for the south side, and will put clear on the North side of the roof. We still need to install 3 windows and the flooring. But I am so happy I am beside myself!!

Lesli


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

Forgot to add that we had to special order the ridge cap and it has to be installed at the same time as the north side of the roof and it won't be in till 4-22-13 so we have to wait to do any more with the roof.

Lesli


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

I can tell from the pic that "dear husband" doesn't cut corners. That looks very strong and well-built.


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

;) Thanks!! I think so! He generally does everything 'heavy duty', most often that is a really good thing, and sometimes it's just heavy! LOL He is a very handy guy and I love him so much for doing this for me!! He got the last of my windows in today. Still waiting on the ridge cap. ;-( . It should be here Tuesday.

This post was edited by lesli8 on Sat, Apr 20, 13 at 21:25


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

**Update**

Well I will have to add a photo tomorrow! DH has nearly completed the structure of my greenhouse. He needs a few pieces of trim and 3'x8-10 inch piece over the door of the clear polycarbonate. Then we will get to work on the floor. We have been somewhat distracted by dear son's HS graduation and his family party that has taken on a life of its own. It will be this weekend and then I have 2 more weeks of school left then I will be out for the summer. With my last baby leaving the nest, I will have some time on my hands for playing in the greenhouse ;)
I am very glad that I chose to use the smoke grey roofing that only allows in 20% sun over the south side of the greenhouse roof. It makes up for most of the greenhouse during the hottest part of the day. You can really notice the difference between standing under the shaded roof and the clear part of the roof! I think in the winter it will still get plenty of sun the way it is designed. I think when we get the floor in and the misters/foggers it will make a huge difference. Then there is the benches/tables etc. And the *plants* of course!

This really has been a HUGE Job for folks who have never built a greenhouse before and are building from scratch instead of a kit.

I went to a local nursery the other day and went in one of their greenhouses and they had a rubber tree that had grown through the pot into the ground. It was huge! There were tree frogs all over it. So cool, that is on my list too. Rubber tree, ficus, fiddle leaf fig, pony tail palm, ferns and all sorts of "giants" for the jungle look ;). **Can't wait !!**


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

oops sorry I got busy and forgot to add the photo. We are still not finished. He got the door on and all that, but he will remove it tomorrow and hopefully soon we will have base delivered for the floor, we are going to put in a limestone base and then the tar paper then the bricks and so on and so forth. I kind of jumped the gun and ordered my African night crawlers. Wow! those are some kind of wigglers I have to say. I will have tons of worm castings. Now am thinking I might need a bunny for the worms. What if I skip the bunny and feed the worms bunny food? Hmmmm
Lesli


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

oops sorry I messed up...how does one delete a message?

This post was edited by lesli8 on Fri, Jun 14, 13 at 22:56


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

Wow, that's really a nice structure! I can imagine your excitement and anticipation.

Why do the worms need a bunny? Or is it the bunny who needs the worms? Elaborate please!


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RE: Wonderful husbands!

Wow. I am really impressed with your greenhouse. It is looking great!

You are fortunate to be blessed with such a handy husband!
Wish he could be cloned! ;)

My DH is also very handy, but a torn rotator cuff is preventing him from building something similar for me.

I am looking at kits at the moment but always appreciate seeing perfectly good materials be repurposed instead of ending up in landfills.

Please post more pics as the progress continues. I'd love to see a rubber tree with tiny frogs!

Thanks for sharing.


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RE: Wonderful husbands!

Wow. I am really impressed with your greenhouse. It is looking great!

You are fortunate to be blessed with such a handy husband!
Wish he could be cloned! ;)

My DH is also very handy, but a torn rotator cuff is preventing him from building something similar for me.

I am looking at kits at the moment but always appreciate seeing perfectly good materials be repurposed instead of ending up in landfills.

Please post more pics as the progress continues. I'd love to see a rubber tree with tiny frogs!

Thanks for sharing.


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RE: Wonderful husbands!

Duplicate message removed.

This post was edited by dreamgarden on Sat, Jun 22, 13 at 10:02


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

Well, we have done a lot more work. This photo shows the limestone base, we used a plate compactor and tamped down the base, then we lay down the tar paper and then bricks, we are 3/4 through with the bricks. I will try to get that photo soon. It is looking great. Frustrating sometimes, but my dh is a perfectionist, so it all has gone slower than I'd hoped, but way more wonderful than I had ever hoped it would.


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

here are a few more photos.
5 photo roofingtarpaper_zps507a6e2c.jpg

6 photo greenhousefloorbefore_zpsf40c1ee2.jpg
7 photo heluvsme_zpsf74c1c94.jpg

 photo finallybrickfloor_zps9a8f21d3.jpg


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

Have you got it filled it up yet? Hope to see more pictures soon.


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

Very nice greenhouse! I agree with textea, more pix please.


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

No, I still need to take more photos. It has been mighty hot, I have a few things in it. Been our hottest week so far its been around 104-ish and greenhouse has been staying around 100 degrees. Dh has been working on putting the screens in. He built me two tables. We hung an ugly tarp on the inside in the rafters to give a deeper shade for my few plants, as dh said the wind would tear it up on the outside. It has helped tremendously. Fall will be the most help of all. I will see about taking more photos.


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

No, I still need to take more photos. It has been mighty hot, I have a few things in it. Been our hottest week so far its been around 104-ish and greenhouse has been staying around 100 degrees. Dh has been working on putting the screens in. He built me two tables. We hung an ugly tarp on the inside in the rafters to give a deeper shade for my few plants, as dh said the wind would tear it up on the outside. It has helped tremendously. Fall will be the most help of all. I will see about taking more photos.


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

A few photos,

 photo greenhouse9_zpse3e2e3d0.jpg

 photo greenhouse5_zps31cbca3a.jpg
 photo greenhouse6_zps79e4bb3e.jpg
 photo greenhouse2_zps1ac80d2e.jpg

I have put up a huge ugly tarp to give a little shade as I have not been able to get the GH shade screen yet. But I played out in the greenhouse most of the day. Our temps finally dropped, and the good Lord has given a bit of rain. We expect temps around 90* all week, great relief over the 100*+ days. Today I found a snake in the greenhouse, he came out and got a drink out of a large saucer I had a large pot in. I have never seen a snake drink before, so that was pretty cool. It was only a rough green snake, but it gave me quite an initial fright! He was about 3ft long and as large around as a large garden hose. I lost track of him and don't know if he got out or not, I fear he is enjoying the large pot of oakleaf fern.
 photo greensnakeinthegreenhouse_zpse845b625.jpg
Lesli


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

Absolutely love your greenhouse! Look forward to seeing more pics!


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

So very nice keep the pics coming.


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

I have been playing in the greenhouse in between writing on my novels.

rubbertree mixed planting photo rubbertreemixedplants_zps5ff23651.jpg
Rubber tree with mixed planting

red leafed philodendron photo Whatisit_zps9f1f7e2a.jpg
red leafed philodendron
painted urn photo agedurn_zps5fbffbde.jpg urn with macho fern


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

That's a great looking greenhouse and I also wanted you to know that its awesome how calm your are about the prospect of sharing space with the tree snake!


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

I wonder how the greenhouse is doing.

Is the snake still living there?


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

LOL, I haven't seen the snake since I took these photos. I hope it is because it moved out!! But I have some green anoles that I released (3) but one was a tiny baby and I saw it outside shortly after. And after the first few times I only ever saw one at a time. I am pretty sure that one was a female and one a male, so I am hopeful they will breed in or out of my greenhouse this coming year. I used to see them in my yard years ago, but our drought has been the end of them I am afraid, naturally, so I transported some from my MIL's yard last year. I love all sorts of critters, but snakes less so. But I do love the little green grass snakes. We have a huge 500+ year old oak tree in our yard and we have a pair of small green snakes that raise babies under the roots of it some years. It was really cool to see several tiny green snakes the size of regular green yarn about 6 inches long come out all at the same time. Tree frogs are also a favorite, I hope to see many, but the drought has hampered them too. If we'd just have a wet year, it would be so appreciated by so many critters.
My husband installed an old wood stove for the winter. Some of the plants still have gotten too cool for their preference. For Valentines day he is installing florescent lighting for me this weekend. I suppose (cross your fingers) I might get an old farm sink installed w/water hook up inside the greenhouse for my April 1, 25th wedding anniversary. It is wonderful, I love my greenhouse and my husband, but ;) he milks it for all its worth! LOL Basically, I won't ever get another gift as long as I live, because he gifted me with the "ultimate" gift of the greenhouse. LOL


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

I have looked at all 3 pictures and can't see any snake.


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RE: So...dear husband is building me a greenhouse from scratch...

Poaky1, the snake is in the last (fifth) photo in the Sep 9 post, not in the three photos in the Nov 9 post.


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