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Discussion Starter #1
I'm trying to decide between a bay window sort of thing that goes in the house and an outdoor greenhouse with a single wall of panes. Cost will be similar. My purpose is to extend the vegetable season in zone 3-4.

Any suggestions?
 

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I would do outdoor, definitely, unless you're only planning to have a very few plantings. I can't see a bay window being particularly helpful unless it's positively huge --- but making a positively huge bay window might be structurally problematic.

Have you considered adding a kind of arboretum/greenhouse onto your house? Since zone 3-4 is a kind of cool zone (I'm guessinfg :D ), it would add warmth in the winyer AND be extremely convenient when the snow is 12 feet high (as I'm guessing it gets in zone 3-4 :D ). I guess it would also cost about the same, maybe a bit more, than a glass paned outdoor greenhouse.
 

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The window ones are nice for a few houseplants. They have the advantage of sharing the heat from the house. Not sure they are big enough or bright enough for much else tho.

The stand alone should be big enough to do more, but may need supplemental heat and poss extra light, especially in midwinter.

Have you also considered cold frames? Or am I just adding another layer of complexity to your decision making efforts?
 

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I've had both and agree with the other respondents. Go with the outdoor GH. Do you have anywhere you could put a lean to up by the house? They have many advantages as a small GH eg easier to heat and keep out of the wind, often enjoy refelcted heat from the house, can get heat from the house or give heat to the house if connected by a door, window or other vent,require less building materials etc etc.
Also remember whatever you build it will be too small almost as soon as you build it..............

Enjoy,

PQ
 

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montana mom: i just ordered some green house plastic to attach to the inside walls of my polycarbonate glazed green house which is not attached to anything. i am going to put it on the wall studs and lower the ceiling at the same time to conserve heat. i am thinking i may build a second green house next summer using two layers of this greenhouse plastic one inside and one outside of a two by four frame and then put water barrels inside to moderate temps. there are some good ideas to be found on this site: http://www6.mailordercentral.com/igcusastore/Home.asp
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks y'all.

I am afraid that the only place that would be sunny enough to do an attached greenhouse is the actual garden spot!! So that is a no go. The window that overlooks the garden spot needs replacing and I am thinking now that I may do the bay thing there and then do a freestanding. Then I can make the most of that sunny spot. The window will be for my seedling/early starts and the greenhouse will be for full plants.

I am looking at glass panels or sturdy plastic ones. I see lots of cheaper shells that are made of soft plastic but the potential leaching is a concern to me. That is a great site sisterpine, thank you...as you know I have to get it up NOW if I am going to do it this year!! lol
 

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Liza, check with the closest glass replacement place and find out what they do with windows that they take out of homes. Most of them will give you older windows so they don't have to haul em off. They make great grow beds by laying them over straw bale sides.
 

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Looks like you have a lot of good suggestions so far, so I'll just toss this in: no matter where you place your greenhouse, make sure you can ventilate it WELL. It's amazing how much heat can build up in these puppies! Even in subzero weather, we have to open vents in ours, it gets so hot. Not to mention in the middle of summer!
 

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I highly recommend the glass windows over the haybales. On sunny days, just put a stick under one edge for ventilation. Close up for night...Better not to have to throw something up in a hurry. I've made too many mistakes with hurry and slap-dash.

Then, all winter, study up, and save every penny you can. If I lived in MT, I would only look at polycarbonate triple wall windows. I would probably use conc. block for the lower part, and the polyc for the upper and roof. This is bloody expensive, but the polyc is well worth it. I will use hoophouses here in zone 6b and heat with chickens and rabbits. Where you will have a heavy snow load, I'd use the polyc. If you can get many old windows, those work well also, but need some help with insulation and there is always the possibility of breakage. Steep peaked roof and Sisterpines idea of lowering the ceiling with plastic to cut down on the area to keep warm.

Good luck.

Sandi
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well, I've had a change of plans!! They can not get the special bay windows in my window size (and I'm not in the market for cutting walls! lol) so that idea is out.

I did, however, order a solar shed for one part of the yard and am now planning to go ahead and find some of the lean to style as suggested earlier. I hadn't thought of the solar heat benefit to the house there and have decided that was worth scooting my garden spot out a few feet.

Thanks again. This is more of a process than I thought it would be!! lol.
 

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Excellent Mt Mom!

I've seen a lot of the lean-to greenhouses in this area, and some fully built greenhouse-sunrooms, as well. I would go ahead and do one, but I'm a bit hesitant, as we already get way too hot and humid in the summer --- however, it would be great for winter and, given how mild some of our winters are, would drastically cut down or maybe even eliminate heating costs. So maybe I could do one which only gets panelled in in the winter - ?

Please tell us how it went once you get it done --- it's such a tempting idea for me and I know, if I lived someplace with cooler summers, I would definitely do it! :)
 
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