Attached Greenhouse?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by joe, Sep 20, 2006.

  1. joe

    joe Active Member

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    Does anyone have experience with an attached greenhouse? If so, what are the practical issues involved? What plants will grow there, and how is pollination handled, if there is no wind or bees in the enclosed space?
     
  2. anniew

    anniew keep it simple and honest Supporter

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    Much more information is needed to get reliable answers.
    where are you located? (heating, ventilation, amount of sunlight, etc.) What do you plan to grow? Some things, like tomatoes, don't grow well in the north in the winter. Some things need to be pollinated, like tomatoes, but can be done with simple vibration (shaking the plants daily).
    Give us more details and maybe we can help.
    Ann
     

  3. joe

    joe Active Member

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    >>Much more information is needed to get reliable answers.<<

    I am planning on moving to the Ozarks, and using Solar energy as much as possible. The proposed attached greenhouse would feature a "high thermal mass" design and use real glass, but just on the South side. I would try to grow basic garden crops (tomatoes, peas, etc) during as much of the year as is practical.

    The actual greenhouse design could be changed as needed to accomodate the requirements, once I know exactly what is required.
     
  4. Zebraman

    Zebraman Well-Known Member

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    Hey Joe;First of all Tomatoes are self pollinating,as are peppers and eggplants.However your best bet for using the greenhouse is as a season extender.Elliot Colemans book Four season Harvest should be on your bookshelf!Its on sale at Amazon.-
     
  5. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    I am planning on one also attached to the house, I will keep it around 55 in the winter should be easy to do using the excess heat from the houses wood stove. I want to have some citrus in pots as well as start my seeds in it.I plan on using 55 gallon barrels of water for thermal mass.
     
  6. cowboy joe

    cowboy joe Hired Hand

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    I have an attached greenhouse that I put in last fall. I only grew leafy vegis last winter...lettuce, kale, spinach, & bok choi as I wasn't sure what the average temp would be. It was a successful endeavor as we had fresh salads straight through the end of March. The beds were redone at that time to make room to start seedlings.

    I'm in western NY and the temps are fairly low (I hear the laughing from my northern neighbors). The real kick is long periods of cloudy weather. My greenhouse, an 8x12, a double paned commercial building, fluctuated between 40 -110F without supplemental heat or cooling during the winter months (outside avg temp ~20F).

    The extremes were experienced shortly after construction when I was getting the feel for what was going on. I eventually vented the door which connects the greenhouse to the house. A small solar panel w/ battery & thermostat control was also installed to power two muffin fans. The muffin fans actively exhaust the excess heat (yippee!) from the greenhouse into the house while pulling the colder air from the house. Nature is great...the fans are only needed when it is sunny...the solar panel only supplies enough energy when it is sunny...it's not an ideal system but it works. I also added thermal mass in the form of a block floor. All in all the adjustments reduced the temp swings to 45-90F. The max temp will drop to ~75F when I'm home & can open the entire door rather than just the vent.

    This summer I took the time to install a 75 gal stock tank. The use is 2 fold...aquaponics tank for raising fish & vegis in the summer...heat storage in the winter. The aquaponics system was a bust...my fault...the tank temp exceeded 90F this summer during a week I was away. The fish became heat stressed & died...the vegis followed shortly thereafter. The effect of the tank in the winter remains to be seen...fingers crossed.

    Good luck with your project! Please let us know how you make out & what you learn.
     
  7. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    For me any fruit needing pollinators the greenhouse doors were open to early bees (and to avoid overheating) by the time the flowers were ready. Didn't have any flowers before the bees, just grew things it'd never be warm enough outisde for or would not fruit before frost if not started earlier in GH. Rarely did letting bees in interfere with warming the house using the GH- could just open door to house small amount and open upstairs window to chimney in warm GH air
     
  8. Jack in VA

    Jack in VA Well-Known Member

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    Whats a muffin fan, and where do I get one? My kitchen window opens into my GH and I'd like to suck some of that heat in. Need something small with low RPM's (or volume) that I can pull out or cover up at night.
     
  9. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    i think that the climate you are planning on moving to, there is a sufficiently long growing season to grow almost everything outside. why do you need a greenhouse? having it attached to your house during the looooong, hooooot, days of summer is going to raise the inside temperature considerably. they can come in handy for starting plants early i guess, but it is possible to direct plant almost everything and get a good crop without it. greenhouses also need to have big fans running in the summer and automated vents to let the over heated air out so everything in it doesn't cook.

    here, using raised beds for thermal mass and floating row covers extends the growing season to 9 or 10 months. i imagine it is very similar in the ozarks, except drier.

    so the problem is, why do you feel you need a greenhouse attached to your house?
     
  10. joe

    joe Active Member

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    >>so the problem is, why do you feel you need a greenhouse attached to your house?<<

    The sunspace is part of the solar energy house design.
     
  11. jasper

    jasper Well-Known Member

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    Cowboy Joe

    You said you had a greenhouse attached and you are in WNY. I am kind of looking at something for myself right now in CNY. How do you compensate for the short daylight hours for growing?
     
  12. PonderosaQ

    PonderosaQ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Try looking on e-bay or Amazon for book called The Solar Greenhouse Book by James C. McCullagh. It was originally published in 1978 by Rodale Press. It will answer all your questions and a bunch you are sure to come up with. It's well worth every cent you may pay for it. I had 2 attached greenhouses over the years and loved them. My current housing didn't allow for that so I now have a freestanding one.
    PQ
     
  13. cowboy joe

    cowboy joe Hired Hand

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    Jasper, the lettuce & such didn't seem to mind the short growing days. I suppose that you could put in a light or two if you want. We pulled leaves off of the plants rather than picking all at once and always seemed to have a reasonable supply without any extra lighting.

    PQ - I picked up a copy of "The Solar Greenhouse Book" at the local used book store for $4 a few years ago. Great book...lots of practical information!
     
  14. Mutti

    Mutti Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sunspace sounds great but hope you make some provisions for SHADE as summers in the Ozarks are way hot. Either but trees or something as all that solar gain sure isn't something you'd want down here. Even people who like heat retreat to the air conditioning or the river when the 100 degree high humidity days arrive. DEE who has a detached greenhouse which is emptied by June as everything would cook otherwise
     
  15. blue gecko

    blue gecko Well-Known Member

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    I have an attached greenhouse 8 x 27. Let me try to describe the set up, maybe it will give you some ideas. There is a canning kitchen in the southwest corner of my walk-out basement. On the west side is an enclosed mudroom that has concrete walls (stone exterior) and is partially underground. The green house is on the south side of both the mudroom and the canning kitchen. The kitchen has windows into both the mudroom and the greenhouse.
    From the back of the mudroom to the far side of the basement (north east corner) there is a 12 inch open pipe. Air can be circulated through the pipe.

    In the winter time warm air is pulled into the basement from the greenhouse and the air returns to the greenhouse via the pipe. The coldest the return air gets is 55. Last winter the basement go down to 65 degrees.

    In the summer time we close the doors between the mudroom and the greenhouse and circulate the air through the kitchen window then through the pipe and cool air comes in the far corner of the basement. The greenhouse has two doors that allow for air circulation in the summer. We just leave them open. This summer the basement temp got up to 78.

    The upstairs air return is in the basement so air can be circulated through the rest of the house with just the central fan.

    At night in the 'tween times we use an attic fan and leave both the mudroom doors and the greenhouse doors open so air is pulled through the pipe as well as any open windows upstairs.

    We haven't run the AC since the mid August and haven't used central heat for the last 2 years. A Lopi Liberty takes care of those needs.

    The greenhouse is relatively new and we're still tweeking the processes but it's my favorite place to hang out especially in the winter. In the summer it gets a bit warm but the ficus that lives in there year round seems to like it just fine!

    One other thing is that the green house is under an upstairs porch so its shaded somewhat in the summer.