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Ventilating a Homemade Polyfilm Greenhouse

 

Polyfilm Hoop House

Are you building a homemade polyfim greenhouse, but are unsure about how to ventilate it? Here are a couple of solutions for you. You can see that this greenhouse has roll up sides, an option which is readily available, but can be costly. We have 2 options available that insert directly into your polyfilm covering without any additional framing. They use the channel base and wiggle wire to insert directly into the greenhouse covering. You simply cut the film and install these accessories directly into the film covering without any additional framing.

Solar Powered Roof Vent

Intake Shutter with Solar Powered Opener

The first option is a solar powered greenhouse shutter. This has louvers and a wax cylinder powered opener. It will open when it is warm and close when it is cool automatically. They are available in 6 different sizes. If you would like to use this on another type of greenhouse such as polycarbonate, we can remove the base channel and you can insert this directly into a wood framed opening.

Solar Powered Roof Vent

Solar Powered Roof Vent

The second way to do this is with a solar powered roof vent. This is a lightweight polycarbonate vent. It weighs less than 10 pounds, but you get all of the benefits of the durable polycarbonate covering.  It also has the was cylinder powered opener that will automatically open and shut the vent as the temperature requires. To install this you simply cut the polyfilm and install it directly into the greenhouse covering.

A lot of people prefer to build their own greenhouses rather than purchase a kit. With these 2 ventilation options, there is no reason not to build your own polyfilm  greenhouse.

 

 

 

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Greenhouse Heaters – Our Top Pick

Natural Gas or Propane Greenhouse Heater

Vented Natural Gas or Propane Greenhouse Heater

Getting ready to heat your greenhouse? Well, now is the time to either check your existing heater or to purchase a new one. Our top pick, the Southern Burner natural gas or propane greenhouse heater is going to have a price increase (the first time since 2008) on November 20th. So you want to be sure to order prior to that date. This is a super greenhouse heater that will fit under a bench and not take up any valuable floor space. It requires no electricity. The heater is all aluminum and stainless steel. They will keep the temperature at the top of the greenhouse within about 5 to 7 degrees of the floor heat. There is a vented and a non vented model available. The vented model is 25,000 BTu’s and will be adequate to heat most small hobby greenhouses. If you have a larger greenhouse you would simply add a heater or two. There is a formula to calculate how many BTu’s will be required to heat your greenhouse based on the size of your hothouse, the glazing type, the indoor and outdoor temperatures. Please be sure to follow this formula, or your heater may be too small to get your greenhouse to the desired indoor temperature. Plan ahead. Winter is headed our way. Don’t be left out in the cold this year!



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What Tools Do You Need in Your Greenhouse?

Acadian Lean to Greenhouse

Plants Growing in A Lean To Greenhouse

If you are in the process of designing or purchasing a greenhouse you probably have questions about what accessories you should purchase with the greenhouse. I get asked this a lot. Some people want to completely ignore the accessories, while others have read every article and believe they should buy everything that you can put in a greenhouse. My recommendation is to start with the ventilation package. Yes, you will need it even if you are only overwintering plants and even if you are in a cold location. I have seen sunny winter days when it was 60 degrees outside and my fan and shutters were operating. And, I keep my ventilation system set at 90 degrees. On the other hand, I hate to see people load up on a lot of items that they will never use. A heater is a good idea, if it is close to the time of year you will need it, or if any modifications to the structure are needed to accommodate for vents, etc. I think the rest of the items should be added as needed.

Here is a nice article from our friends at Garden and Greenhouse which talks about some small hand tools and re purposed items. These are things probably most of us would never think about, but will be used over and over again.

Inexpensive Tools and Materials Every Small Greenhouse Grower Should Have

If you already have or are thinking about getting a greenhouse you should consider purchasing several inexpensive tools and related products. Although the items are not very expensive they can make a difference in how much you enjoy greenhouse gardening and how efficient you are at doing it.

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STILL a very happy customer!!

Tempered Glass Attached Greenhouse

Acadian Lean To Greenhouse

I received an email yesterday with this in the subject line. STILL a very happy customer!!! Lynne and Mike were kind enough to share a few words about their tempered glass shed style attached greenhouse. They purchase their Acadian Lean To in 2007. It is always nice to hear that people are happy with their purchases. Following is the email.

Just wanted to reach out and express our complete satisfaction with your product. It has been ten years now and we enjoy the greenhouse as much now as when it was new. Many enjoyable snow storms and rainy afternoons. It has endured the severity of the east coast temperature extremes and provides sanctuary to our plants without fail. Can’t thank you enough for all of your customer service during the purchase and shipping process. I wish all establishments had your dedication to customer satisfaction. Thank you so much,

Mike and Lynn Gaither

 

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The Key To Optimal Growth in Your Greenhouse

Growing Healthy Plants in Greenhouse

Greenhouse and Indoor Garden Growing

This is an excellent article from our friends at Garden and Greenhouse magazine regarding the need for consistency in your greenhouse environment. In order to have the best, consistent growth it is important to have the best, consistent climate. Although I must say that I find this a little bit more on the advanced end of greenhouse growing. I do not suggest that someone jump in with every known greenhouse accessory when initially purchasing their greenhouse. I recommend getting a ventilation system, as it is an integral part of the building. You can retrofit them, but it is easier to install them when you are putting up your structure. A heater is also a good accessory to order with your greenhouse. As far as some of the other systems are involved, I suggest experimenting and finding out what  you need rather than outlaying a bunch of money for accessories that your climate or plants may not need. Unless  you are an experienced orchid grower, for example,  you will know what humidity, etc your plants will need. Then it would be a wise decision to get your greenhouse set up with these systems at the beginning.

The Importance of Consistency in Greenhouses and Indoor Gardens

Consistency is the key to unlocking the maximum potential of an indoor garden or greenhouse. Plants thrive on consistency. Plants respond best to light energy, atmospheric conditions, and nutrients when they are kept as consistent as possible. Like people, plants burn sugars to provide energy for growth. In contrast to people, plants have the unique ability to create those sugars from sunlight. The creation and consumption of these sugars are actually part of a chemical equation. In other words, there are countless chemical reactions occurring at all times within and around the plant that contribute to healthy development.

When atmospheric conditions, lighting and nutrient levels are at optimal levels, the plant has everything it needs to make those chemical reactions happen without interruption. When the chemical reactions can occur without interruption, the plant’s growth rate is maximized. Maximizing the potential of a particular crop is the goal of just about every indoor horticulturist or greenhouse hobbyist. In order to maximize the potential of an indoor garden or hobby greenhouse, a horticulturist should closely monitor the consistency of the garden’s temperature, humidity, lighting and nutrient solution. Each of these factors has a significant effect on the chemical reactions that contribute to plant growth.

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Double Polyfilm Greenhouse

Greenhouse With Inflated Double Polyfilm Glazing

Double Polyfilm Greenhouse

There are many benefits to polyfilm greenhouses. One thing is that some municipalities will consider this a temporary structure and will not require permits, wind and snow load ratings, etc. They are also less expensive than a rigid polycarbonate covered greenhouse. One disadvantage to this is that most of the greenhouse polyfilm found today has a 4 year UV protection, so you will have to figure on replacing the covering every so often. Double polyfilm greenhouses consist of 2 layers of polyfilm with an air inflation system for greenhouse film blowing air between the 2 layers. This will give you a much better R rating than just a single layer of film. Manufacturers claim that it can save you up to 40% of your energy costs. That is quite a considerable savings. I find that the inflated film is more rigid and less susceptible to damage than a single layer of film. This all happens without lowering the light transmission properties of the polyfilm. This is an excellent choice that has been used by many commercial growers through the years and is totally acceptable for a backyard greenhouse operation. Be sure to use greenhouse polyfilm that is UV protected and has an anti condensate coating on it. If the film is not UV protected you should not expect to get any more than one years use out of it, sometimes even less. The anti condensate coating keeps droplets from forming on the film. This will contribute to the overall health of your plants. Any condensation that does form on the roof will come off in sheets rather than in droplets. If you have water dripping on your plants you will have damage to your leaves, fruits, flowers and overall less healthy plants. So, when considering your first or next greenhouse, take a look at a double polyfilm greenhouse and see what benefits it will give you.

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The Time To Prepare Your Greenhouse for Winter is NOW!

Greenhouse with Polycoolite glazing in the snow

Advance Greenhouses Personal Greenhouse

Even though this picture was taken several years ago, it won’t be long before many of us will be seeing this as we look out our windows and long for summer. I know it is a few months yet, but now is the perfect time to prepare your greenhouse for winter. It is still warm enough that you can move any plants remaining inside the greenhouse to the outdoors. This will allow you to give your greenhouse a thorough cleaning. Be sure to use a mild disinfectant soap to clean with. Get the mold out of every nook and cranny. I know that we all keep our greenhouses relatively clean, but this is just something that happens with all of the humidity. Check any corners or places where there may be potential leaks and be sure to seal them up. Clean your benches if you have any. Repair or rework your flooring, depending on what you have in place there. Check all lighting and electrical systems. If need be, get a certified electrician in to help you with this. You can never be too safe. Same with your greenhouse heater. Whether you have electric, natural gas or propane, be sure to check your greenhouse heat source and be sure that it is properly connected with no leaks. Also, turn it on and make sure that it works. You may have to go out later in the evening as the temperatures drop to try this, but trust me, it is worth the time and effort to do this. In fact, I think that checking your heating system is the most important part of getting your greenhouse ready for winter. I cannot tell you how many times I have received panicked calls that it is going to freeze tonight and my heater won’t come on. There is just no way to get parts or a new heater to you fast enough. So, even though we are still enjoying summer time temperatures, think about the winter and your greenhouse now.

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Visit a Local Greenhouse During the Holiday Weekend

Photographic Greenhouses

Greenhouses Photography Tour

With the long holiday weekend upon us, there is not a better time to visit a local display greenhouse. I have several favorites. I love to go to Bellingrath Gardens in Alabama. They have a beautiful conservatory. City gardens in New Orleans also has an excellent conservatory. Even the small town of Monroe, LA has the Biedenharn  with a beautiful conservatory. If you have a little more time and can take a trip the Biltmore in NC will also take your breath away. Also, Calloway Gardens in GA has a conservatory with butterflies and plants. These are all probably within an 8 hour drive of our location. You will probably not have to go far to find several in your area as well. Take a young gardener along and inspire them. You will find many styles and sizes of conservatories and greenhouses to explore. This article is about a couple of photographers who have started on a quest to explore greenhouses in far away places. I am totally envious of them.

The Search for the World’s Most Enchanting Greenhouses

Magnus Edmondson and India Hobson’s greenhouse quest began in Oxford, England, at the Botanic Garden, on a Sunday morning. “We were the only people there, and it was so incredibly quiet,” they write. The only sounds were “gasps of wonderment” and the “occasional sigh.” From there, Edmondson and Hobson, photographers based in Sheffield, were hooked. They began what they call “a self-initiated Greenhouse Tour of the World”—they find, explore, and photograph greenhouses, potting sheds, polytunnels, conservatories, and other indoor spaces made by humans, for plants.

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Do It Yourself Hydroponic Systems

Deep Water Culture Hydroponic System

DWC Hydroponic System

This one is for all of you d-i-yers out there. This article is from our friends at Garden and Greenhouse Magazine. It discusses the different types of hydroponic systems and how to set up your own hydroponics in your hobby greenhouse. I have owned a greenhouse full of hydroponic systems, experimenting with the different types to see which I liked the best. I think I preferred the NFT system. We used it to grow basil. It was as simple as could be.

Do-It-Yourself Hydroponics

Experimenting with hydroponic gardening is a fun and productive way for greenhouse hobbyists to expand their horticultural knowledge. The term “hydroponics” is a general name that encompasses all methods of soilless gardening. In other words, there is a multitude of ways to garden hydroponically. However, don’t let the seemingly infinite amount of hydroponic systems deter you from giving hydroponics a try. One of the best ways for greenhouse hobbyists to break into hydroponic gardening is by making a homemade hydroponic system.

 

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Want to Extend Your Harvest Season This Fall?

Slitted Garden Low Tunnel

Garden Row Cover

The low tunnels or garden row covers are perfect to extend your season at the beginning and the end of the cycle. They come with a slitted cover as shown above, or with a perforated cover. They extend your harvest season by offering frost protection of 2 to 4 degrees F. To harvest, you simply need to pull the cover up and gather your crop. Then, just stretch the cover taught again and refasten the side. In the spring they will assist you in planting early, even up to 10 days before suggested planting dates. They will help to warm the soil and protect young seedlings from harsh spring winds. The perforated covers will offer the most warmth, with the slitted covers offering the best ventilation. These covers are only meant to be left on your garden for 3 – 4 weeks. But, I have personally used these in a different manner. In the South, we plant our strawberries in the fall. We usually have to apply and remove frost protection for brief periods of time. Last year I put the low tunnel cover over my strawberries for the entire winter. I used the slitted. The biggest problem was in the spring. No bees or wind could get in to pollinate the plants. I ended up using a small paint brush and pollinating them myself. The strawberries were yummy. Actually, the covers turned out to be much sturdier than I originally thought. We have some serious winds in the winter. So, get a head start, harvest longer, or experiment with your own system with these covers.

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