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.
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.
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.
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.
Yep, That is Tom and my greenhouse. We really do practice what we preach. We think everyone in America should own a greenhouse! This was a rare snow storm in SE Louisiana. I don’t think the neighbors could even believe that we were outside in this mess. Today I just wanted to take a minute to reflect on the beginning and growth of Advance Greenhouses. Fifteen years ago Tom and I were studying how to get on the internet. We knew the product we were interested in, as we had been selling and installing greenhouses for a while. Our first adventure with polycarbonate was in 1993. We got a book about 4 inches thick on how to set up a website and dove into it. What in the world language were those people using? Something I had never heard of before. I am sure we fought and cussed our way through it and came up with what was an absolutely horrible website. But, people started to find us. We also did a lot of local garden shows to put the word out. Fifteen years later, here we are. Through the years we have had the pleasure of speaking and working with many like minded people. We love flowers, but we also love fresh food that we have grown for ourselves. Our greenhouse has been multi faceted. We have stored my cherished hibiscus plants, started seeds for the garden, started annuals and perennials for the flower gardens and even grown some food hydroponically in our greenhouse. As I tell people, it is a learning curve to figure out exactly what will work in your greenhouse. There are some hard, fast rules, but we are all growing different plants under different circumstances. We all have to do a little bit of experimenting to figure out what works exactly for us. In closing, we are running some sales this month as a customer appreciation (also an appreciation for what we have thanks to all of you). Visit our website to see the specials. Our business is very personal and very rewarding for both of us. Thank You! Tammy and Tom
Let’s face it. Around here nothing gets thrown out until it is way past its prime. We use flats over and over again, even after they are broken. Pots, they never get thrown out. We clean them good and bleach them and reuse. But, everything must ultimately come to the end of its usability. I am sure most of us do not even think about recycling our garden pots, plastic, etc. This article from Michigan State University helps us to explore this option. I must say that I do disagree with the author on one point. They stated that some greenhouse plastic and polycarbonate may not be recyclable. In fact, I have always been taught that all greenhouse plastic and polycarbonate are 100% recyclable. Have any doubts? Check with your local company before carrying your materials in.
By now, greenhouse operations have gleaned the production areas of spring and early summer plant material. I have come across some operations that have deposited used and even un-used containers, flats or carrier trays in large dumpsters for recycling (Photo 1). At each operation, I have been asked about proper disposal of these horticultural plastics and the answer is easy— recycle (Photo 2)!
In other instances, I have come across garden-retail centers that accept and collect used containers from consumers (Photo 3). Regardless of where used plug or liner trays, containers or carrier trays come from, there is a possibility these horticultural plastics can be recycled.