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Old 11-19-2015, 09:00 AM
fullofit fullofit is offline
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Default Zone 5 or colder Greenhouse ideas



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So I am in zone 5 / 5a and I am interested in putting up a greenhouse that would support a survival / sustainable micro farm. I want to see what others in zone 5 and north of zone 5 have for greenhouses and how you are using them?

Style:
  • Walipini?
  • Passive Solar?
  • High Tunnel?
  • Hoop house?
  • Plastic Sheet or PolyCarb Panels or Glass?
  • Aluminum or Wood or PVC or Steel frame?


How is it being used?
  • Seed Starting?
  • Season Extending?
  • Certain Plants only?
  • Cold Hardy Plants in Winter?
  • How many Months are you actively using it?

Pictures would really be appreciated!

Would transparent row covers be more effective?


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Old 11-19-2015, 09:29 AM
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I operate a 10'x 40' hydroponic greenhouse year round in the Finger Lakes Region of Central New York.

As you can see in the above image the greenhouse is attached to the south facing wall of my home.

The floor of the greenhouse is 37" below grade and the foundation is insulated with 3" of extruded polystyrene foam.

The glazing is double walled polycarbonate.

There is a 35,000 BTU natural gas heater in the greenhouse that keeps the inside temperature above 50 degrees F even on the coldest days.

Inside I have five 2'x4' deep water culture tanks, two 2'x 4' grow beds, a twelve position Dutch Bucket system and five stand-alone Dutch buckets.

We grow most of our fresh vegetable needs throughout the winter months:

Lettuce, Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Hot Peppers, Kohlrabi, Swiss Chard, Pak Choi, Kale, Beets, Carrots, Rutabaga, Radishes, Cucumbers, Summer Squash, Broccoli, Zucchini. (We've got a small Lime tree and a small Lemon tree too but they are far from producing yet.)

There are seven 600-watt HPS/MH grow lights and one florescent grow light to supplement natural light in the winter months.
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Old 11-19-2015, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmussack View Post
I operate a 10'x 40' hydroponic greenhouse year round in the Finger Lakes Region of Central New York.

As you can see in the above image the greenhouse is attached to the south facing wall of my home.

The floor of the greenhouse is 37" below grade and the foundation is insulated with 3" of extruded polystyrene foam.

The glazing is double walled polycarbonate.

There is a 35,000 BTU natural gas heater in the greenhouse that keeps the inside temperature above 50 degrees F even on the coldest days.

Inside I have five 2'x4' deep water culture tanks, two 2'x 4' grow beds, a twelve position Dutch Bucket system and five stand-alone Dutch buckets.

We grow most of our fresh vegetable needs throughout the winter months:

Lettuce, Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Hot Peppers, Kohlrabi, Swiss Chard, Pak Choi, Kale, Beets, Carrots, Rutabaga, Radishes, Cucumbers, Summer Squash, Broccoli, Zucchini. (We've got a small Lime tree and a small Lemon tree too but they are far from producing yet.)

There are seven 600-watt HPS/MH grow lights and one florescent grow light to supplement natural light in the winter months.
Do you have any pics of the inside ?

Any idea what it is costing you to heat it?
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Old 11-19-2015, 09:46 AM
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Just South of Seattle. But in Marine Enviro...I think my Conditions might be nicer than Yours?
Harbor Freight 10 X 12. Polycarb panels, Aluminum Framing. NOT very good against wind, as I have to collect and reinstall departed panels.

I prevent freezing by filling empty Milk jugs with Water, and placing at periphery {Inside}, and in walkway, on shelves, and anywhere I have room. They also make it easy to Water Winter Plants without having to attach and run out a Hose when it is really cold. For bitter Winter weeks, I also run a cheapie Thermostat-controlled electrical fan/heater on Low speed.

I am limited for Landspace. If you have space, I would do a Square-Foot per Dollar Analysis, as it is clear to me that There just isn't enough Floor and Shelf Space in My Little GH.

I use Aerogardens for Propogation, inside the Main House, where it is easy to tend them.
Then Early Spring I have nearly all the New Stuff in the GH. As they Flourish, I keep repotting and putting out what I can, leaving inside only those plants that need the Isolation from threats Animal or Other. I also live on a SuperFund Site, and so cannot put any plants in the Ground.
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Old 11-19-2015, 09:55 AM
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Default 300$ green house

Would need probly 7to9 kw ov solar to run those lights in the winter alot less if led lighting were used
35000btu sounds great that insulation and below ground depth are really working well i wish i had done that with my above ground glass house as my left over plants got froze out about3 weeks ago (no heat)
I brought one tomatoe plant and 4pepper plants in the house
My green hose roof is made from triple pane grocery store freezer doors and one row of double pane house sliding glass doors, wall glas is mostly single pane house style windows it gains me 2_3 weeks in the spring and2-4 weeks in the fall

I added a picture to my profile

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Old 11-19-2015, 10:21 AM
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Here's and interior picture from when I was just setting up. I've got more current images at home. Perhaps I'll post them tonight after work.

The gas heater has a thermostat with five positions. I've kept it at position number two to maintain the 55-degree temperatures. I'm not sure what it's costing me to heat the place but my household bill hasn't increased much. I'm going to meter the electrical service this winter. I'll look into metering the gas too.
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Old 11-19-2015, 10:24 AM
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HA! I went to find the Growing Zone for me, and Found it is 8B!! Long ways from Your Conditions! I'll shut up now!
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Old 11-19-2015, 10:54 AM
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By the official map I'm in Zone 6a.
But with a properly designed and constructed greenhouse you can grow in the winter. It isn't cheap or easy but it sure is nice to pick your own fresh home grown vegies on Christmas.
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Old 11-19-2015, 12:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmussack View Post
Here's and interior picture from when I was just setting up. I've got more current images at home. Perhaps I'll post them tonight after work.

The gas heater has a thermostat with five positions. I've kept it at position number two to maintain the 55-degree temperatures. I'm not sure what it's costing me to heat the place but my household bill hasn't increased much. I'm going to meter the electrical service this winter. I'll look into metering the gas too.
Is that a painted wood frame?
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Old 11-19-2015, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
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Is that a painted wood frame?
Yes, that's a primed and painted wood frame.

Keep in mind this is a hydroponic greenhouse where I strive to keep the relative humidity below 50%.
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Old 11-19-2015, 04:34 PM
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Here's how it looks today.
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Old 11-19-2015, 04:37 PM
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Here's how it looks today.
Said it before in another thread. SWEEET set up.

I have greenhouse envy.
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Old 11-19-2015, 04:48 PM
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Here's a closer look at one of the tanks.
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Old 11-19-2015, 05:22 PM
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That's a super organized setup you have, with lots of extra room if you need it as well.

Wondering why you decided to go hydroponics? What happens if/when you lose epower?
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Old 11-19-2015, 07:43 PM
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Here's how it looks today.
Very nice clean and organized !
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Old 11-19-2015, 09:38 PM
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Very beautiful!

Could you estimate the kWh of power used by the liquid system, and, the lights?
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Old 11-20-2015, 06:09 AM
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What are the electrical requirements?
I've been meaning to do these numbers but have been procrastinating. So here goes....
(I used a Kill-A-Watt meter to take these measurements this morning.)


six grow lamps set @ 50% power 6-hours per day = 6 x 290W x 6h = 10.44 kwh/day
one central aeration pump, 24 hours per day = 10W x 24h = .24 kwh/day
exhaust fan 2.4 hours per day = 60W x 2.4h = .14 kwh/day
three louver motors, 2.4 hours per day = 3 x 60W x 2.4h = .43 kwh/day
Dutch Bucket nutrient pump, 24 hours per day = 24h x 18W = .43 kwh/day
Dutch Bucket aeration pump, 24 hours per day = 24h x 4W= .10 kwh/day
five Stand Alone Dutch Bucket nutrient pump, 24 hours per day =5 x 24h x 11W = 1.32 kwh/day
two grow bed nutrient pumps, 24 hours per day = 2 x 24 x 15W = .72 kwh/day
periodic use of LED work lights and RO filter pump = 1.00 kwh/day (estimated)

Total daily electrical consumption estimation = 14.82 kwh/day
At $0.08 per kilowatt hour my daily cost estimate is = $1.18/day or $36.00/month.

What if we lose electrical service?
We have a whole house natural gas fueled auxiliary generator set. Backing that up is a gasoline fueled portable generator, and I've got these on the roof;

In the event of a long term grid down scenario I can convert the grow beds to the "Kratke" method of hydroponics that doesn't require aeration and I could hand water the Dutch buckets and grow beds. I'd have to cut convection vents in the top of the greenhouse to allow for passive ventilation.

Why did I choose hydroponics?
The method is efficient and provides for the maximum yield per unit of space.
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Old 11-20-2015, 08:58 AM
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14 Kilowatts is an insane power requirement. It would cost $$$$$ to get an off the grid solar set-up for that. Where I'm at there's no grid-connection so it's all off our own power so to speak

I totally respect your setup and food production though! Your greenhouse looks very rugged to resist snow too!
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Old 11-20-2015, 09:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmussack View Post
What are the electrical requirements?
I've been meaning to do these numbers but have been procrastinating. So here goes....
(I used a Kill-A-Watt meter to take these measurements this morning.)


six grow lamps set @ 50% power 6-hours per day = 6 x 290W x 6h = 10.44 kwh/day
one central aeration pump, 24 hours per day = 10W x 24h = .24 kwh/day
exhaust fan 2.4 hours per day = 60W x 2.4h = .14 kwh/day
three louver motors, 2.4 hours per day = 3 x 60W x 2.4h = .43 kwh/day
Dutch Bucket nutrient pump, 24 hours per day = 24h x 18W = .43 kwh/day
Dutch Bucket aeration pump, 24 hours per day = 24h x 4W= .10 kwh/day
five Stand Alone Dutch Bucket nutrient pump, 24 hours per day =5 x 24h x 11W = 1.32 kwh/day
two grow bed nutrient pumps, 24 hours per day = 2 x 24 x 15W = .72 kwh/day
periodic use of LED work lights and RO filter pump = 1.00 kwh/day (estimated)

Total daily electrical consumption estimation = 14.82 kwh/day
At $0.08 per kilowatt hour my daily cost estimate is = $1.18/day or $36.00/month.

What if we lose electrical service?
We have a whole house natural gas fueled auxiliary generator set. Backing that up is a gasoline fueled portable generator, and I've got these on the roof;

In the event of a long term grid down scenario I can convert the grow beds to the "Kratke" method of hydroponics that doesn't require aeration and I could hand water the Dutch buckets and grow beds. I'd have to cut convection vents in the top of the greenhouse to allow for passive ventilation.

Why did I choose hydroponics?
The method is efficient and provides for the maximum yield per unit of space.
$.08 is pretty dern cheap. I thought energy prices would be a lot more in NY. I average $.10 year round here in MO. 12-14 in the summer and 9-7 in the winter.

14kw/hrs is not a lot... really. My whole house averages around 43kwh a day. Like you say I am sure you can cut that if you need to. I am sure it doesnt run 14kwh in the summer when you have natural light.

I didnt catch what lights you were using. They look like fluorescent. Have you looked at the LED swaps? They use the same fixture... but are expensive.

Also it doesnt look from the pics that the GH is more than 2-3 ft bermed?

Could use solar hot water panels to heat the water for the grow beds?
That might cut the load on your gas heater.

I am just kickin stuff out there btw, I am in no way critiquing your set up.
You got a good thing goin there.
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Old 11-20-2015, 09:52 AM
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[quote=kmussack;8037680]I operate a 10'x 40' hydroponic greenhouse year round in the Finger Lakes Region of Central New York.


Absolutely beautiful!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kmussack View Post

There is a 35,000 BTU natural gas heater in the greenhouse that keeps the inside temperature above 50 degrees F even on the coldest days.

We grow most of our fresh vegetable needs throughout the winter months:

Lettuce, Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Hot Peppers, Kohlrabi, Swiss Chard, Pak Choi, Kale, Beets, Carrots, Rutabaga, Radishes, Cucumbers, Summer Squash, Broccoli, Zucchini. (We've got a small Lime tree and a small Lemon tree too but they are far from producing yet.)

There are seven 600-watt HPS/MH grow lights and one florescent grow light to supplement natural light in the winter months.
Do you have any estimates on the amount of natural gas and electricity that you use? It obviously varies. Say when that photo was taken maybe for one guesstimate and summer for another?

I'm not sure that the energy costs would come close to paying the cost of produce way down where I am with dirt cheap natural gas.

And do you have any idea what it cost to build that?

Thanks! And that is amazing.

During a winter day I'll bet that that place is a good one to spend some time.

Edit: Metered and answered I see, thanks!

I'd set up a lounge chair in there and stay during the grey winter days I think.
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