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My wife is lobbying for a greenhouse. We had a pile of dirt that got leveled out behind the garage with just about the right space for a 10 x 10 greenhouse. Water is available there, and there is some drainage. I ran across some of the clear plastic sheets for light transmission at HD, but I'm wondering what else I need to put in there. I can also feed some power in there for a small heater. Open to anyone who can suggest ways to build it and make it really work. During summer, I will add shade cloth to cut down the heat and light so we don't wind up with pre-cooked veggies. Anyone have a plan? I'm likely to use redwood for the construction because things get wet and muddy in a greenhouse.
 

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Never made one, but did a lot of research on them, years ago. You would be amazed at some of the things I studied. Hint, do not EVER read a book on Forensic Pathology, they have pictures, lots of pictures, and about half of them in color. Did you know they have green houses in the Philippines? They are open on each end, and the reason they are built is to keep the rain from destroying tomatoes. There are plenty of plans on-line on making one, some better than others. I vent on one or both ends, especially with a fan should keep heat down. Personally, I would go with a hydroponic setup, instructions also on-line, or grow in pots, or in troughs, to save water. I have a book stuck away on Greenhouses World wide. Some plants do not grow so great in greenhouses, if I recall right. I do recall the Russians bitched about their salads, because (I think) lettuce did not grow well, so all they had in their salads was cucumbers and lettuce, something wasn't available for their salads anyway. You could even grow inside, with proper lighting. I believe it was that book that said a 4 foot square hydroponic setup could keep a family of 4 in fresh veggies year round - that would be with a number of tiers. I saw a lot of greenhouses in turkey. The poorer people made them out of scrap wood, and scrap plastic. Don't know how they had them set up inside, but do know they grew flowers for sale in them year round. Actually, from what you said, I think you seem to have a handle on making one. As for the inside, if you can't come up with an idea on that, I'd advise doing a bit of research on-line on greenhouse, and how they are inside. I've not looked, but they should have something. You would probably want drip irrigation rather than hydroponics. Easier to set up, cheaper, and you can pretty well regulate the drip rate. That is what the Israelis use, and they can grow strawberries in the desert, with minimum water. Take pictures. If it were me, I'd likely experiment with a dew catcher for the water. As long as you get dew that is, and I believe you do.
 
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Never made one, but did a lot of research on them, years ago. You would be amazed at some of the things I studied. ...You would probably want drip irrigation rather than hydroponics. Easier to set up, cheaper, and you can pretty well regulate the drip rate. That is what the Israelis use, and they can grow strawberries in the desert, with minimum water. Take pictures. If it were me, I'd likely experiment with a dew catcher for the water. As long as you get dew that is, and I believe you do. (Post abbreviated)
Thanks, good information. I live in the desert and water is scarce and expensive, so drip sound like a good idea, and it can run on a timer with a simple valve. I have learned that I have to deal with drainage out here, we have a hard packed layer of sandstone from one to three feed down that keeps water from draining. So I dig a hole to that layer, then use a pike to get through that layer back down to sand. Under my office shed, I dug five of these and filled them with crushed rock, and almost every tree and significant plant is planted in a hole beneath the hard pack layer. Before we moved here, we'd been informed that our back yard was prone to flooding because it is lower than most of the surrounding area. Because we dug in, that doesn't happen anymore. So I'll find a way to drain the irrigation water. Or, as an alternative, feed it into a filtered storage tank so it can be reused. Did I mention that we have the most expensive water in the state?

There does have to be an opening that pollinating insects can get through, and there are some automatic devices that can open vents when the heat is on. I have also thought about whether to string shade cloth inside or outside. Inside will provide modest shade, but stringing it outside has the advantage of reducing the heat that reaches the "glass."

The real question is about how to build the shed itself. I have not made one in the past, all my sheds were purchased and two built on site.

Another specific question is about whether or not I should use single or double layers of the "glass." I know the folks on the Forum will have opinions and possible suggestions. If I use two layers with a small dead air space between, will it make a significant difference in keeping heat out in summer, and in during winter? I will be sealing in the layers with calk, plus a strip of something on top. Any other suggestions? Theoretically, I could buy some argon gas and fill the space, but I think it would inevitably leak out.

Your thoughts and input is deeply appreciated. Thinking something through in advance is cheaper than figuring it out as you go.
 

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Tom:

I've not built one per se but I have helped a neighbor with his several times over the years. The following are some of the take always from that experience. His is used for vegetables as he is a heavy duty gardener.
1) Put down a layer of good weed fabric and cover that with base of gravel for the floor and to support the frame. Keeps down the weeds, mud and promotes drainage in general.
2) Use pressure treated lumber rated for ground contact for the plates for the walls and be sure to anchor these unless you don't expect any wind issues.
3) For the walls, rafters and tables, Red wood would work but that seems very spendy. My neighbor used good quality fir and painted it.
4) For temperature, install a thermostatically controlled fan to keep the heat down in the summer. For the cooler months he uses one or two oiled filled radiant heaters that have thermostats.
5) Ground contact lumber was used for the planting tables. The table tops were covered with a thin layer of sand to which he added old water bed heaters and covered them with sand to keep the beds warmer in the winter. All plants are then started in seedling pots set in the sand.
6) the walls and ceiling are covered with insulated, clear panels purchased at HD. Since this green house is up here in the PNW, shade cloth is not an issue in the summer, the fan seems sufficient. If necessary he can open the door and uses a screen door to keep out unwanted creatures.

So that is my two cents worth. If you have any specific questions send me PM and I'll take them up with him.

Enjoy your greenhouse.
 

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I live in the desert and water is scarce and expensive, so drip sound like a good idea, and it can run on a timer with a simple valve. I have learned that I have to deal with drainage out here, Did I mention that we have the most expensive water in the state?
That is why I suggested a dew catcher. Should be plenty for drip irrigation in a small greenhouse, free. And you should be able to regulate the drip so there will be no excess watering to worry about. I would not grow in or on the ground, that would give access to bugs, etc. A bench, with a wall all around the top, or pots would be what I would choose. If you have the height, and the plants can get light, could go to two or three shelves. Grew some tomatoes in a box filled with dirt on a concrete porch some years ago. If we had something for those plants to grow on would probably have topped 10 feet, and they produced enough tomatoes it looked like we could have fed a small town. Big tomatoes too. There are various types of drip irrigation that can be used. But all are best if the drip is right next to the plant, so the water goes down right to the roots. Some systems use just one source of water, and the water is directed to the plants thru plastic tubing, like fish tanks use, with small pinholes. Others could use a plastic bottle, with tubing, at each plant.
The real question is about how to build the shed itself. I have not made one in the past, all my sheds were purchased and two built on site.
Do a greenhouse plans, or similar, search. Find plenty of examples, along with plans for some. Or, you can buy one.

specific question is about whether or not I should use single or double layers of the "glass." I know the folks on the Forum will have opinions and possible suggestions. If I use two layers with a small dead air space between, will it make a significant difference in keeping heat out in summer, and in during winter? I will be sealing in the layers with calk, plus a strip of something on top. Any other suggestions? Theoretically, I could buy some argon gas and fill the space, but I think it would inevitably leak out.
Two layers sound reasonable to me. If you were using glass panes instead of plastic, more of my reading, supposedly if you put in one blue pane to every ten regular panes, plants are supposed to grow better. No clue if that would work or not, but at least is wouldn't hurt anything if not.

On one of the Alaska shows, forget the name, been awhile since I watched it, an older guy turned his entire house into a greenhouse. Growing potatoes, tomatoes, radishes, and all sorts of veggies. He also put in a tank of tilapia, to provide manure for his plants, and fresh fish for himself.
 

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Was looking for something different and found this in my saved photos. Saved it several weeks ago, and had forgotten it.
 

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I don't know if they just haven't put the roof on, or it was on and blew off.
There are many of these that are quite large near the California Coast, but we sometimes get 50-60 mph winds here, so it has to be rigid. I've gotten some very good ideas so far.
 

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Yeah, different plans for different parts of the world. In the meantime, I did a search. with "sources for greenhouse heat". Some very interesting ideas, basically some are free to use. Could be some $ to setup, depending on what you have access to, but free to use sounds good to me. Hmm, just recalled, I've been looking into solar and wind power. Some batteries, charged by sun/wind power, could run a small heater thru the night, shouldn't need during the day. But try that search, I'm pretty sure there is something on there that should be able to help you. Might want to do one on protecting a green house from winds too.
 

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Yeah, different plans for different parts of the world. In the meantime, I did a search. with "sources for greenhouse heat". Some very interesting ideas, basically some are free to use. Could be some $ to setup, depending on what you have access to, but free to use sounds good to me. Hmm, just recalled, I've been looking into solar and wind power. Some batteries, charged by sun/wind power, could run a small heater thru the night, shouldn't need during the day. But try that search, I'm pretty sure there is something on there that should be able to help you. Might want to do one on protecting a green house from winds too.
I had some thoughts about burying some stones in a deep hole and piping the air through them to keep the freeze off the plants. Not geothermal exactly, but a few meters down the temperature is pretty stable. A little solar power charging a battery could probably keep gently pumping the underground air up into the shop, It might also be possible to recycle that same air. A trench and some large pipes buried in it could be enough if the rest of the greenhouse is well insulated.

I guess you could dig the first 3 feet of the greenhouse down into the earth where the soil would help with the warmth in winter and help cool it in summer. Interesting ideas, that's for sure.
 

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I used to read about so many subjects, now it is a bit hard at times to dig them up in my mind. But I recalled a solar heater. Basically a shallow box, lined with black, piped into a window. A search will inform more. But drums of water, inside, painted black, along with a solar heater, possibly with pipe inside the drums/barrels (filled with water) would not only heat during the day, but heat up the air at night.

Ah, just thought of the desert tribes, they used to build a large wall at the entrance to the house or cave they were living in. It was set so the sun would only hit it during the cold months. It would absorb heat during the day, then the heat would come out during the night. Slick idea.
 

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My wife is lobbying for a greenhouse. We had a pile of dirt that got leveled out behind the garage with just about the right space for a 10 x 10 greenhouse. Water is available there, and there is some drainage. I ran across some of the clear plastic sheets for light transmission at HD, but I'm wondering what else I need to put in there. I can also feed some power in there for a small heater. Open to anyone who can suggest ways to build it and make it really work. During summer, I will add shade cloth to cut down the heat and light so we don't wind up with pre-cooked veggies. Anyone have a plan? I'm likely to use redwood for the construction because things get wet and muddy in a greenhouse.
 

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Ah ha.
Growing Marijuana Hydroponically
Growing Marijuana Hydroponically
 

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My wife is lobbying for a greenhouse. We had a pile of dirt that got leveled out behind the garage with just about the right space for a 10 x 10 greenhouse. Water is available there, and there is some drainage. I ran across some of the clear plastic sheets for light transmission at HD, but I'm wondering what else I need to put in there. I can also feed some power in there for a small heater. Open to anyone who can suggest ways to build it and make it really work. During summer, I will add shade cloth to cut down the heat and light so we don't wind up with pre-cooked veggies. Anyone have a plan? I'm likely to use redwood for the construction because things get wet and muddy in a greenhouse.
Here is greenhouse that Norm Abrams built years ago...

 

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Excellent information from Norm. Didn't realize you have to seal the top and use breathable tape on the bottom of the panels. Weep holes too I am unlikely to make the kinds of interlocking joints Norm made, but I now know how I'm going to make it! Crushed stone really works for a base, and I will also dig a few deep holes to fill with rock to allow for thorough drainage beneath the caliche .
 

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Maye you can get some ideas here Tom
 
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