The Greenhouse Progresses

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I had no idea where to put this.... I almost put in under "problems" after hearing the lovely stream of things coming out of my husband's mouth as he works on putting in the boiler.... :rollhappy: :p

We've been growing for 5 years now. Our first was a home depot NOID dendrobium. Followed by a few phals from their half-dead clearance shelf. Then we found The Little Greenhouse (OMG, an orchid vendor less than 30 minutes away! :eek: ) That REALLY got us going. They helped us with our initial light room, and told us about the local orchid society. We joined, and learned a good bit about growing and light room setups from a couple of other light growers. :) However, our dream was always to have a greenhouse. Living in a townhouse, that was not possible. We expanded the light room again and again. Added RO. And dreamed.

This summer, we purchased a house on about an acre (we moved to the middle of Nowhere to do it)-- so that we could finally build that greenhouse!

After much effort, the structure is finished. Electric is run, plumbing is complete. Shelving is almost finished. Now we are working on the heat.

Here's the greenhouse today (after our lovely ice storm)


My husband (on the left) and father in law working on the boiler for the Greenhouse. The boiler is in our basement. The greenhouse is only about 20 feet away from the house, so we ran insulated lines underground.


About the construction: It's a pit greenhouse, dug in 3ft. The floor is 3ft of dark granite gravel, with about 200 feet of corrugated piping running through it and a blower fan to circulate air from the greenhouse through the gravel floor. (basically the 3 feet of gravel acts as a heat sink. we hope it will save on heating in the winter, as well as the fact that the entire greenhouse is sunk in to the ground 3ft.) The construction is of pressure treated lumber and twinwall polycarbonate. The inside is also lined with poly plastic for a bit of extra insulation. Dimensions are 15' wide, 20 feet long, 15' tall (floor to peak)
Wow, quite a space you have there!

So once you get it done, you can babysit my chids right? :)
Heather said: it weird to say I am in love?

I always say I don't want a greenhouse, but that is really quite gorgeous. I'm jealous. Again today!

Congratulations, I look forward to watching (helping!) you fill it with equally gorgeous plants!

Ummm... what's really scary, is that.... once the plants are in, it'll be full. VERY full... :eek: We would've made it bigger, but couldn't because of local ordnances.
I'm sure you'll enjoy that baby. We put one up about 2 1/2 years ago and love it. I also had thought of digging and putting it in the ground but was worried about water. Mine is about your size but no where near as tall. In the winter how do you plan on getting that hot air down from the ceiling into the lower areas?

Mine is attached to the house so the heat is run off of my oil furnace for the house. I don't know if you've thought about it yet, but if I were you, I'd spend the extra money and get a Southern Burner gas or propane heater in there as a back up. They run without electricity. One may not keep everything roasty toasty but my hopes is that it will keep them from freezing. This will also give us time to get some other type of heat in there if need be. I have a kerosene heater also that has never left the box. The fumes from that may kill the flowers but not the plants.

If you have any questions you can always P.M. me and I'd be glad to help.

Good Luck to you!
THat is a beautiful greenhouse..........I am very envious.

Can't wait to see the finished product.
We're still debating between spray on shade and shade cloth. :eek: We have a neighbor from HE*& so we are trying to do what will be least offensive. :poke:

We'll have a sensaphone, et al to let us know if power/heat goes out, and will have a backup. Our FIL is donating his small generator. It's enough to run the circulating pump on the boiler (boiler is bottled propane fired. We have a large buried tank already, so we are just tapping into that) and the fans/vents.
We had a greenhouse at our place in the Catskills, I am amazed how much hotter than the outside temperature it could get. I think a shade cloth wold be easier to remove when you don't want/need the shade.
NYEric said:
We had a greenhouse at our place in the Catskills, I am amazed how much hotter than the outside temperature it could get. I think a shade cloth wold be easier to remove when you don't want/need the shade.

It's in open sunlight morning through about 6:00 P.M. Shading of some sort is a must. On a couple of sunny days, even w/ outside temps at 18 degrees, the greenhouse has been at 90 :eek:

W/O shade, everything'll be toasted. :eek: It's just a matter of picking which, and how much. We know we'll stagger it so that there's a higher light area (probably toward the front) and a lower light area. We're leaning toward the spray on, as crazy neighbor woman who watches me in her underwear at 2 am probably would be offended at having a 15 x 20 foot glimmering silver clad UFO. :rollhappy: (though the evil part of me says... yeah, just aluminet the whole thing!!! :p :evil: )
shade cloth can be easier to put on, depending on how big the house is (just pull the sucker over, tie it down, all set). just remember in big winds it's kinda like a sail or a kite if not properly attached.
there are types of spray on shading that become less shading when wet (as, when it's raining, the sun is less so more light is needed/wanted). just make sure you use a sticker or it'll wash off... you could probably use a roller to apply it. when i apply it at job #2, i get to walk down a rickety, 3-4" wide gutter with a 3 gallon tank on my back to spray it... i'm not terribly fond of that part of my job...
Don't forget that some paphs prefer brighter conditions in the winter (like armeniacums and micranthums) with cooler temps. Shade cloth is easier to adjust. Also, aluminet shade cloth supposedly has better heat retention/reflection characteristics that normal shade cloth. In cold climates, it's typically used at night on the inside ceiling to provide more insulation.
The only issue with the inside is if we had to remove it for any reason, it would be next to impossible with all the plants in place, and I would be concerned about heat build up in the summer, since normal summer days here are in the mid 90's with matching humidity. With Crazy Lady and the HOA, most likely outside though isn't going to be an option. (that'll probably rule out aluminet totally :confused: ) No matter what, though, we have to figure something out.