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Old 03-15-2017, 10:03 AM
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Man, that's the pits. I sure hope your rails aren't cracked. You'll know when they start thawing out.
I doubt it. They are open to the atmosphere. But on the other hand, it is thin wall sewage pipe.
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Old 03-15-2017, 11:17 AM
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We're in the middle of a "Nor-easter" storm. It's been snowing for a little over 24-hours and we've accumulated about a foot of snow and the temperature is 23*F.

I raked about 1,600 pounds of snow off the roof of my hydroponic greenhouse and will have to rake it again in a while.

But it remains tropical inside with the veggies doing nicely.
Very nice. But you can keep the snow!

Well, the lettuce thawed out, and the nutrients are flowing once again. Looks like no damage after all.
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Old 03-15-2017, 01:41 PM
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FarmerChad

Have you given any thought to using two layers of poly and inflating them for insulation??

I'm Jones'en for a nice big poly-tunnel/Roman arch set-up.....wifey says no.
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Old 03-15-2017, 03:32 PM
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FarmerChad

Have you given any thought to using two layers of poly and inflating them for insulation??

I'm Jones'en for a nice big poly-tunnel/Roman arch set-up.....wifey says no.
Matter of fact, yes I have. I know that some experts claim that you can reduce your night time losses by as much as 40%. That number seems high to me, but I guess the proof is in the pudding.

I think my next step is to install a wood burner on one end. I just happen to have a wood burning insert that is going unused. Im seriously considering putting it down on the west end of the green house. By putting it on one end, I can have a warmer area and a cooler area.

Speaking of, all though I didnt intend for GH#2 too become my seedling house, that is developing that way. Its close to my well house, so its close to water and electricity. The low height makes heating a little more efficient.

Im trying to develop my methodology 2 fold. 1 Method is for SHTF, no electricity etc. The second method is for the here and now. Obviously with no electricity the pumps wont run, the gas furnace will be worthless, etc. But I have these tools at my disposal now, so I might as well use them.

The wood burner will obviously be use for the here and now, and just in case shtf. That is a project probably for the end of summer.

Im loosely planning GH#3 further on back on my property. I was thinking something along the lines of a gutter connect, which I believe is what you are talking about.

We can always dream.
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Old 03-15-2017, 03:47 PM
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Forgot to update in my previous post..

So some damage to the lettuce. A few heads are pretty rough looking. Im just going to leave them be and see what becomes of them.

I decided that instead of trying to heat the bottom with the small propane heater, I would just use an electric reservoir heater. I picked up a 200 watt aquarium heater. Has a built in thermostat, I set it to 72 degrees.

I put it in right at 1:30, the water was 59. Ran some errands and checked the water at about 3:15, was almost to temp. And those temps were consistent in the reservoir and in the rails. This im impressed with. The water flow thru the rails isnt the fastest by any means, yet its heating up.

I think this is going to work out. Tonight Ill also throw some old sheets on top of the lettuce to conserve the heat as much as possible.

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Old 03-16-2017, 07:55 AM
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Alrighty, so its 21 outside right now. I stepped into the GH and checked the lettuce. I peeled back the sheets and the leaves are flexible. Firm, but flexible. The nutrient solution in the rails and reservoir were both hovering at 45-46 degrees.

The heater in the reservoir is doing its job. I wouldnt mind if the water was warmer, but its better then being frozen.

Been looking at the extended forecast, and trying to make some decisions. Im thinking on the nights with lows in the 40s im going to try to shut off the heat on the maters. I think the best way to achieve this is to set the maters on the ground, under the benches, loosely covered with plastic. The peppers can stay up on the benches close to the duct work.

Looks like Fri. night a low of 45. Then 2 nights down in the 30s. Then Monday a low of 48. You get the idea. I want to get the plants use to the 40s, so hopefully they can transistion to GH#1, where there is no heat.

Looks like by the 27th we should start having lows in the upper 40's more consistently.
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Old 03-16-2017, 10:07 AM
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As I mentioned previously I need the weather to start cooperating so I can get the tomatoes moved. They are starting to get compressed under the plastic. My main concern is the humidity under this plastic. Im thinking this could lead to fungal issues.



I havent measured but im confident that the Mortgage Lifters in the back right are around 30 inches tall.



Prudens Purple with open flowers. Probably not the best situation to be in. Its painful, but I will probably pluck these flowers off. Will have to research this issue. If anyone has info, for or against, im all ears.

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Old 03-16-2017, 12:02 PM
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Default Pruden's Purple is an excellent fresh market tomato...

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Originally Posted by FarmerChad View Post
Prudens Purple with open flowers. Probably not the best situation to be in. Its painful, but I will probably pluck these flowers off. Will have to research this issue. If anyone has info, for or against, im all ears.
If the plan is to move the tomatoes outside, I would pinch off all flowers open or not.
The transition in temps and environment (controlled airflow vs open air) will add a certain amount of plant stress.
A plant holding flower would stress a bit more.
Plant rebound after pinching is quick anyway.
I would be more worried about greenhouse condensation on the foliage, that would be a bigger concern.
Seedlings can take it well, but teens and up can run susceptible to fungus.
LCG
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Old 03-16-2017, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by kmussack View Post
Here’s some of the stuff we’ve got growing in our hydroponic greenhouse;
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If the plan is to move the tomatoes outside, I would pinch off all flowers open or not.
The transition in temps and environment (controlled airflow vs open air) will add a certain amount of plant stress.
A plant holding flower would stress a bit more.
Plant rebound after pinching is quick anyway.
I would be more worried about greenhouse condensation on the foliage, that would be a bigger concern.
Seedlings can take it well, but teens and up can run susceptible to fungus.
LCG
LCG... the tomatoes will be moved over into the other greenhouse (high tunnel). I will most likely pinch back.

Seems like a couple years back I tried Prudens Purple with no luck. Or maybe it was Polbig that I am thinking of. Either way, I hope they do well. I have been searching for a good quality, early, indeterminate tomato. Last year Big Beef set pretty early for me, im just running a few weeks behind on those do to having to order fresh seed.

Wanted to try PP for earliness and seed saving.
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Old 03-16-2017, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by FarmerChad View Post
Matter of fact, yes I have. I know that some experts claim that you can reduce your night time losses by as much as 40%. That number seems high to me, but I guess the proof is in the pudding.
I don't know about night time losses, but I have a friend who works at a commercial farm. He says their double-layer inflated greenhouses stay around 60 degrees inside on days when it's in the 20s outside, with no additional heat, just the sunlight and the fans keeping the space between the plastic pumped up.
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Old 03-16-2017, 03:14 PM
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I don't know about night time losses, but I have a friend who works at a commercial farm. He says their double-layer inflated greenhouses stay around 60 degrees inside on days when it's in the 20s outside, with no additional heat, just the sunlight and the fans keeping the space between the plastic pumped up.
Pretty much as long as the sun is shining, there is heat. Matter of fact, right now its 47 degrees outside, I have the door wide open, the chilly wind is blowing in and the temp. in there is 79. If the door was shut, it would be a furnace.

I have had the door open since about 9 AM, when it was about 29-30 degrees.

And I only use single layer right now.
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Old 03-16-2017, 03:22 PM
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Pretty much as long as the sun is shining, there is heat. Matter of fact, right now its 47 degrees outside, I have the door wide open, the chilly wind is blowing in and the temp. in there is 79. If the door was shut, it would be a furnace.

I have had the door open since about 9 AM, when it was about 29-30 degrees.

And I only use single layer right now.

I would think double layer might actually help moderate some of the heat gain... greater greenhouse effect between the layers, acting both to insulate the interior from the outside air and giving a radiant warming effect with less direct heating of the inside air. But that's just my amateur ponderings.
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Old 03-16-2017, 04:23 PM
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I would think double layer might actually help moderate some of the heat gain... greater greenhouse effect between the layers, acting both to insulate the interior from the outside air and giving a radiant warming effect with less direct heating of the inside air. But that's just my amateur ponderings.
What you propose sounds reasonable. I know that you have to be careful with light transmission when you start doubling up. Otherwise your opening a whole new can of worms.
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Old 03-17-2017, 04:43 PM
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Well, tonight we are supposed to have temps more in the normal range. A low of 46ish. Light rain, and cloudy. I have decided that I need to get the tomatoes used to the 40s. So, all though it may seem counter-intuitive, I rolled up the sides of GH#2 about half way. I also plan to leave the door open tonight. The power to the furnace is shut off.

With GHs and High Tunnels, a particular phenomenon can occur. At night the temperature inside the tunnel can be colder then the temperature outside the tunnel. A few reasons as to why, solar radiation, humidity, lack of air stir. So my solution is to leave the sides up.

Todays progress involved getting GH#1 finished up. I built doors for the front and back, and got those covered with plastic.



After that chore was complete I got to work on some Hydroponic Dutch/Bato Buckets. These are nothing more then some kind of container with a hole in the side wall. This allows for a small reservoir in the bottom of nutrient, and the excess flows out. My system for this year will be "drain to waste", next year I hope to setup a recirculating system.

You can buy the commercial buckets which will set you back about $10 each, or you can just be resourceful and find something else. The shape of the bucket really doesn't matter too much. But, I will say that a bucket that has a flat face is far easier to install the rubber grommet into. Assuming you install the grommet. Im not too concerned with that this year. But you can use something like a 5 gallon bucket.

Im using Kitty Litter Buckets because thats what I have. We adopted a cat a few weeks back, and I immediately realized these buckets would be perfect. The cat uses 1 bucket a week, so I should have a steady supply. I really don't care that they are yellow. Maybe that will attract the bees.

The grow medium is unimportant. You just want something neutral. Vermiculite, Perlite, Gravel... just about anything. Im using chunky perlite, cause thats what the hydro store had.

So once you have your buckets, drill a hole about 2 inches up from the bottom. Install a 5 gallon paint strainer into it.



Put a couple inches of your grow medium in the bottom. Then put your plants in. These are Sweet 100's. Originally in Coco Coir. I just shook off the coir and stuck them in. If the system was recirculating, then you probably should hose off the plants roots.



Then fill the bucket the rest of the way up. I will fill it to the top later on and install a drip emitter once the bucket goes into its final home.

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Old 03-18-2017, 06:50 AM
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Showoff



LCG... the tomatoes will be moved over into the other greenhouse (high tunnel). I will most likely pinch back.

Seems like a couple years back I tried Prudens Purple with no luck. Or maybe it was Polbig that I am thinking of. Either way, I hope they do well. I have been searching for a good quality, early, indeterminate tomato. Last year Big Beef set pretty early for me, im just running a few weeks behind on those do to having to order fresh seed.

Wanted to try PP for earliness and seed saving.


When I lived in NC, I had very good luck with Celebrity. In fact it was so much better than anything else I tried, I'd say it was the only one that did really well. It is a hybrid but for commercial production it seems like seed saving would not be overly important. For prepping I'd say it would be vitally important.

One thing I suspected with the other tomatoes I tried was with all the former (and existing) tobacco farms in the area, disease was a factor with my success with Celebrity and lack of success with others.

Three more that you might want to try. Bella Rosa, Heatmaster and Amelia. I have no experience with these yet but they are all disease resistant hybrids and do well in hot weather according to what I read. All are available in Totally Tomatoes catalog.

I try a few different varieties every year and am prone to use open polllinated varieties but hybrids do have a lot of advantages if you are not saving seeds, especially for the disease resistance many of them carry.
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Old 03-18-2017, 08:23 AM
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When I lived in NC, I had very good luck with Celebrity...
Three more that you might want to try. Bella Rosa, Heatmaster and Amelia...

I try a few different varieties every year and am prone to use open polllinated varieties but hybrids do have a lot of advantages if you are not saving seeds, especially for the disease resistance many of them carry.
I tried Celebrity 2 or 3 years. Not much output for me. Also tried Bella Rosa, but only had 2 plants. Did produce beautiful maters. Its a determinate, so im not really a fan of that.

I believe in keeping seeds for both hybrids and op. They both have a purpose in the garden.

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We've got twelve Dutch Buckets in our greenhouse...
kmussack, you really should start a gardening thread. Im sure lots of folks, including myself would like to learn more. If you start your own thread you can go into as much detail as you like.
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Old 03-18-2017, 11:04 AM
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Alrighty, so its 21 outside right now. I stepped into the GH and checked the lettuce. I peeled back the sheets and the leaves are flexible. Firm, but flexible. The nutrient solution in the rails and reservoir were both hovering at 45-46 degrees.

<snip>

Looks like Fri. night a low of 45. Then 2 nights down in the 30s. Then Monday a low of 48. You get the idea. I want to get the plants use to the 40s, so hopefully they can transistion to GH#1, where there is no heat.

Looks like by the 27th we should start having lows in the upper 40's more consistently.
Spring! Oh glorious Spring! Oh wait, you're in the South.

Seriously, you've got quite the nice setup. I attended a greenhouse growers seminar a month or so ago and it was pretty enlightening. These were commercial growers; one of them had 26 acres under cover! I didn't know that could be done.

One very interesting presentation involved integrated pest management. Evidently there's plenty that can be done in the enclosed environment that doesn't involve pesticides, and it was pretty cool. I also find your hydroponics setup interesting.

Are you planning to transition to aquaponics at some point? One of the urban agriculture projects I'm involved with uses soil-based aquaponics. It's a nice twist that makes a huge difference in the taste of the food! The fish are yummy too. I'd like to volunteer for the hand's-on labor if I could find the time. No better way to learn!

Amazing job. You have every right to be proud.
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Old 03-18-2017, 11:53 AM
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Could you make light weight wall panels out of 2" rigid polyisocyanurate insulation (sold at Home Depot for about $20 for a 4'x8' sheet?

Not sure how it would work for a greenhouse but it works quite well in our homebuilt RV. We run a 500 watt heater sometimes when it is 20 degrees outside and our RV stays above 60 inside.

Maybe not worth it for just a few cold days?
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Old 03-18-2017, 09:06 PM
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Spring! Oh glorious Spring! Oh wait, you're in the South.



Are you planning to transition to aquaponics at some point? One of the urban agriculture projects I'm involved with uses soil-based aquaponics. It's a nice twist that makes a huge difference in the taste of the food! The fish are yummy too. I'd like to volunteer for the hand's-on labor if I could find the time. No better way to learn!

Amazing job. You have every right to be proud.


I'd like to evolve into aquaponics eventually. Can you explain how a soil based system works if Chad doesn't object. Maybe even a thread of your own.

I attended a 3 day weekend seminar too on grenhouses and included aquaponics and hydroponics (before I bought my high tunnel) and I really believe they are the wave of the future as far as food production is concerned.

Chad, if you aren't already doing it, check out a microgreen set up. These things are selling for top dollar, particularly at high end restaurants and you get a crop every week or so, continuous.
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Old 03-18-2017, 09:19 PM
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Spring! Oh glorious Spring! Oh wait, you're in the South.

Seriously, you've got quite the nice setup. I attended a greenhouse growers seminar a month or so ago and it was pretty enlightening. These were commercial growers; one of them had 26 acres under cover! I didn't know that could be done.

...I also find your hydroponics setup interesting..

Are you planning to transition to aquaponics at some point?

Amazing job. You have every right to be proud.
Believe me, Its felt like winter with temps down in the 20's. Thankfully thats on the way out.

If you have the moo-lah, they make a greenhouse any size you want. Ever heard of Metrolina Greenhouses? They are down around Charlotte and have something like 160 acres under cover!! We have been wanting to go on a tour, just have to make time.

As far as hydroponics, I like it so far. I really don't have much of an interest in Aquaponics. Its ok, but nothing that I want to tackle.

Thanks for the kind words.

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Could you make light weight wall panels out of 2" rigid polyisocyanurate insulation (sold at Home Depot for about $20 for a 4'x8' sheet?

Not sure how it would work for a greenhouse but it works quite well in our homebuilt RV. We run a 500 watt heater sometimes when it is 20 degrees outside and our RV stays above 60 inside.

Maybe not worth it for just a few cold days?
Its not unheard of. People have used all sorts of stuff to insulate with. I have been keeping my eyes open for a used solar pool cover. Also, they do make curtain systems for greenhouse.

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I'd like to evolve into aquaponics eventually. Can you explain how a soil based system works if Chad doesn't object. Maybe even a thread of your own.

I attended a 3 day weekend seminar too on grenhouses and included aquaponics and hydroponics (before I bought my high tunnel) and I really believe they are the wave of the future as far as food production is concerned.

Chad, if you aren't already doing it, check out a microgreen set up. These things are selling for top dollar, particularly at high end restaurants and you get a crop every week or so, continuous.
I have considered taking trays of microgreens to the market. Im just not sure my clientele would have much of an interest. Im going to do the lettuces, maybe get a feel for how micros might work.
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