Today’s edition of Polycarbonate Glazing Tips addresses Lexan Softlite and Polygal Polymatte. Both of these sheets have 100% light diffusion. This is an excellent choice for commercial growers or homeowners looking for healthier plants, increased yields and faster growing times. The sheets will spread the light out so it is evenly distributed to all parts of the plant, even under the canopy. Selections are available in corrugated, 8mm and 16mm sheets.
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.
Building a Polyfilm Greenhouse? Not sure how to attach the film to your greenhouse frame? This video discusses the use of batten tape or base and wiggle wire systems. They are both excellent for wood frames. The wiggle wire system is good for metal frames as well. As always, we hope you find this edition of “The Greenhouse Minute” informative and helpful.
Are you wishing for a lean to style greenhouse as above, but own a ranch style home? You may have 8′ or 9′ attaching height for the back wall, possibly a little bit more. Do you think it is impossible to get a greenhouse attached to your home? Not so. There are 2 different ways we are able to fit these with our Acadian and Evangeline Lean To Greenhouses.
Lower Roof Pitch
Home Attached Greenhouse with Lower Roof Pitch
For our standard roof pitch you have a rise of about 5 inches for every foot that you project away from the house. With our lower roof pitch, we can drop that to about 2 1/2 inches drop for every foot. So, for a greenhouse that projects approximately 10 feet, that would drop your attaching height about 25 inches. That is quite a considerable amount and will accommodate a whole lot of houses.
Fascia Attached Greenhouse
Fascia Attached Acadian Lean To
Still don’t have enough height with our Lower Roof Pitch? We are also able to offer a fascia attached greenhouse. This greenhouse will attach directly onto the fascia of your home, rather than the wall of your home. This will gain quite a bit of extra height, as you need to leave at least a 4″ clearance when you go under the soffit. This is so your roof vents can function properly. Combine this with our lower pitch, and you can attach this greenhouse to just about any home as long as you are not trying to project away from the home too far. If you will notice in the picture we also supply what we call an under soffit fill to fill in from the back of the greenhouse to your home.
In conclusion, just because you have a ranch style home does not mean you have to give up on owning a lean to greenhouse. We are more than happy to help you design the greenhouse of your dreams.
Greenhouse with Solar Powered Roof Vents and Side Vents
Of course the answer to this question is yes, you do need ventilation for your greenhouse. But what if your greenhouse is in a location with no electricity? There are several options which will alleviate this problem. The simplest thing to add is roof vents or side vents. A lot of the greenhouse kits will come with these either as standard equipment or as an option. If you are building your own greenhouse, you would just frame them out using the same material as your greenhouse and cover them with the same material as well. To simplify matters even more, I recommend using solar powered openers with these. This is an arm that is operated by a wax cylinder. It is a pretty basic piece of equipment. It functions on the principles of contraction and expansion. When it is warm the wax will expand and cause the arm to open. When it is cool the wax will contract and cause the arm to pull shut. There is no exact temperature setting on these, but there is a thumbscrew at the end which can be used to adjust the opening and closing temperatures. They are typically able to open between 65 and 75 degrees F, depending on the manufacturer. They will definitely simplify your life during the spring and fall months. No more getting up in the morning and opening them before you head out to work. Then, if you get home and forget to close them at night, the results could be devastating.
Intake Shutter with Solar Powered Opener
If you are building your own greenhouse, or need ventilation in an existing greenhouse, our solar powered shutters are perfect. They will supply natural ventilation for your greenhouse. They come in 6 sizes and require no electricity. The 4 smaller sizes may be fitted into a polyfilm greenhouse without any further framing. Or, they may be installed in a framed out opening the same as the 2 larger sizes. These shutters are perfect for just about any outbuilding, not just for greenhouses.
Polyfilm Greenhouse with Roll up Side Curtains
A final suggestion for natural ventilation is roll up side curtains. These are typically found in polyfilm greenhouses only, and come with a manual hand crank.
In conclusion, not having electricity in an area where you want to put your greenhouse should not be a deterrent. Use any of these systems, or any combination of these systems to help ventilate your greenhouse. Also, if you don’t like any of these suggestions, another way to go with this is to use solar panels to supply electricity to your motorized ventilation systems.
Glass Greenhouse with Black Frame and Black Aluminum Knee Wall
Are you considering putting a greenhouse up in your backyard? Have you been concerned about what it would do to the value of your real estate? Afraid it may be like putting in a swimming pool, which can lower the price of your home in certain areas? Well, worry no more. Realtor.com, one of the biggest real estate websites is now promoting homes with greenhouses. There is such a great selection of kits for your backyard available now. You can attach them to the house or garage, or have a freestanding unit.
For avid gardeners who pore over heirloom seed catalogs, stress out over snails, and ID plants by their Latin names, owning a property with a greenhouse is a dream come true.
Surprisingly, it’s not an expensive pursuit. You don’t need to pay mansion-level prices for this awesome outdoor amenity. Plenty of modest ranches and bungalows boast a greenhouse in the yard. And if you’re a person who loves to get your hands dirty and grow your own food, or cultivate award-winning roses, having a handy on-site spot is key.
We put so much time into planning out our greenhouses — glazing options, size, lighting, bench/table configurations, even décor. But sometimes, we forget to consider one of the most basic elements of the greenhouse, the floor. There are many options for flooring material, ranging in cost from quite inexpensive to fairly costly, but every greenhouse floor must start with positive drainage. With all of the misting and watering that occurs daily, the last thing you want is to create a soggy, slick basis for walking and working. So start with good drainage and take that into account as you are making your flooring decisions, then check out these options to determine which one fits your budget, aesthetic and lifestyle.
Although pouring a concrete slab is likely one of the more expensive flooring options, it creates a permanent, solid basis for your greenhouse activities. Much like a patio floor, a concrete greenhouse floor will need to have a surface drain installed to allow water to drain out. Pouring a concrete floor is not an easy DIY project as there are too many variables to cover, so this is an option best left to the pros. The investment will repay you many times over, though.
Similar to the concrete slab, stone flooring is a more permanent option, especially when mortared in place. If you opt to forego mortaring, space the stone closer together and use a stabilizer in between such as decomposed granite or gravel. Make sure you choose a stone that has a flatter, smooth surface, as you don’t want to be tripping as you work — look for larger, flatter pieces labeled “flagstone” or “patio stone,” and forego lesser expensive “field stone” that tends to have a bumpy, irregular surface. A surface drain is also a must if you opt for a mortared stone floor.
Brick flooring is a beautiful, elegant and permanent option, but it can also be a more expensive one. Brick, like stone, does not necessarily need to be mortared in place, but it will need a surface drain if it is. If your greenhouse location has relatively level ground, and you have some basic DIY skills, this could be a project for you to take on, but most greenhouse owners will want to consider hiring the pros to correctly install this floor.
Many greenhouse owners opt for pea gravel for their flooring. It’s inexpensive, creates positive drainage and is readily available. You can also opt to install weed barrier underneath the gravel, and option that I recommend to keep the gravel from settling into the soil and disappearing. Be sure to keep the gravel clean by periodically washing it down, as a build-up of moisture can create a slick surface. As easy DIY project, gravel is a great middle-of-the-road approach to creating a functional greenhouse floor.
Also known as weed barrier, this woven black fabric is the choice of many commercial greenhouses to suppress weeds and create a nice level floor for walking and working. It allows water to pass through, creating positive drainage, while at the same time keeping your floor from becoming muddy. If you choose this option, go for the more expensive, commercial grade fabric, as it truly is a more durable and effective product. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for — and why go to the trouble of installing this product if it’s not going to do the job?
Good old-fashioned mulch is a great option for greenhouse floors — it provides great drainage, sure footing and enriches the soil as it breaks down. It’s also readily available and inexpensive. Opt for a higher quality shredded mulch rather than wood chips, as shredded mulch interlocks to form a tighter mat upon which to walk. You’ll need to replenish your mulch floor as it breaks down, but it’s an easy annual task that any homeowner can do. It’s available both in bags as well as in bulk (per cubic yard), with the bulk option being the least expensive by far.
We are happy to announce the addition of rolls of ground cover to our product line. This is a versatile product that has many uses. It is an excellent flooring for a greenhouse. It can be used by itself, or you can place sand, gravel or pavers over the top of this material. The UV protection ensures a long life. It is also used by commercial nurseries in the fields. Liners, which are immature plants, will be placed on this cloth for additional growing. We personally use it in the walkways of our vegetable garden. I have seen people cut it in circles and use it in conjunction with edging and mulch around trees. This weed barrier is good to use basically anywhere were you do not want weeds to grow. Available in rolls only in 3′, 4′, 6′, 10′, 12′ and 15′ widths by 300′ lengths.
Are you interested in growing orchids in your greenhouse? The American Orchid Society (AOS) is offering a free to all webinar next week. This will be put on by Ron McHatton of the AOS. A variety of topics on orchid culture in the greenhouse will be discussed. If you register early, you can submit any questions that you may have. This looks like a very informative webinar. Plus, you can’t beat the cost of free. Even if you are just considering purchasing a greenhouse to grow orchids in this will have a lot of information for you. Plus, I am sure there will be lots of advanced growing information as well. Will you be there? I will. I am already registered. To register, simply click this link. http://bit.ly/2sOZYSZ