Important Reminder – Self Sufficiency Packages

Just a quick reminder that you are still able to order the self sufficiency packages after May 31st (and any of our structures!) But it will be later delivery. As an example, when you order in June, it will likely be October delivery.

Please contact the office for specific pricing and delivery times. That is the most reliable way to stay up to date and accurate during these rapidly changing times

We are incredibly grateful to everyone for planning ahead, and for your patience. We love working with you on your projects and are grateful we have been able to continue that throughout the last three decades. Cheers to growing & more in 2021!

What are the considerations for growing over winter?

Heating, interior tunnels, air circulation, humidity control

When someone is intending to grow in a plastic covered greenhouse over winter, the first order of business is to put a double layer of plastic with air between.

This cushion of air acts as insulation and will reduce heat loss by about 30%. A secondary benefit from this cushion of air is that it reduces condensation in the greenhouse dramatically.

Even if you are not going to heat the greenhouse, it makes sense to put the extra layer of cover with air between since it will provide a significant extra margin for cold.

The small fan which puts the air between the layers is made to work against pressure. It can not “over fill” the cavity.

When installing the second layer of plastic, it is not pulled tight. This allows the second layer to puff up to about 10 cm which is the optimum space.

It is the dead air space that creates the insulation value. If the air is moving, you will not have optimum efficiency. This is the reason it is important to be vigilant about patching any holes in the plastic when they occur.

Especially if your intention is to grow without heating, you could benefit from installing and using small interior tunnels. These tunnels would only be covered during severe weather. Since the air volume is small, even the heat from a few light bulbs will make a difference.

Interior air circulation is even more important in the winter time than it is in summer. In the winter time when things are more likely to be closed up, the probability of stagnant air is high.

It is important to monitor the humidity level in your greenhouse as well. Getting rid of excess humidity will cost you some heat, but you are creating a healthier environment for your plants.

If you are using a forced ventilation system for either humidity or heat control in the winter, it is important to have the thermostat close to the incoming air so that things will shut down quickly if the incoming air is extremely cold.

Any heating system which is used in a greenhouse should have a stainless steel heat exchanger and burner. The standard aluminized units simply will not stand up long term in the moist environment of a greenhouse.

We hope you have found value in this series of posts, helping you prepare for your new growing adventure! Reminder that the deadline is May 31st for Fall Delivery. We look forward to working with you for your projects!

What are the considerations for growing over the summer?

Ventilation, excess heat, making sure roll up sides are critter proof

One of the critically important things that each gardener/grower needs to know is the temperature threshold of each plant.

This is the temperature at which a plant will stop growing and an even higher temperature at which a plant will die.

When a plant has passed the threshold where it stops growing, it will take some time to recover and start growing again.

This is why proper ventilation is so vitally important. On a sunny day, proper ventilation is defined as one air change per minute. You must know the volume of air in your greenhouse and have your ventilation method capable of moving that much air.

A forced ventilation system is the simplest to set up and control since it is thermostatically controlled. The up front and operating cost are significant. Each exhaust fan has a cubic feet per minute (cfm) rating which must be equal or greater than the air volume of the building. A forced ventilation system also has a motorized louvre which will open each time the fan turns on.

On a shorter structure that is facing into the wind, there is the option of ventilating through the doors and windows. This is an economical system but the hardest to control.

Adding roll up sides to a structure has the capacity of moving a lot of air as long as there is air movement around the greenhouse.

This is why it is a good idea to install a window as high on each end as possible. Since warm air rises, this will create a “chimney” effect on a calm day. The down side of roll up sides is the potential for draft across the floor and the fact that you have to be there to open and close the system. You may need to put up mesh to deter uninvited guests.

In addition to changing the air in the greenhouse, it is also important to circulate the air horizontally. Stagnant air pockets invite disease problems. There is not a prescribed rate to move the air, it is just important to keep it moving.

A proper watering system would not be considered as a part of making a greenhouse more efficient but it must be remembered that a greenhouse will increase the water needs of all of the plants.

A final consideration for growing over the summer is the potential need for shade. Most vegetables are good for full sun, all the time, but it is important to remember that this does not apply to all plants.

Wishing you a productive growing season!

We hope you are finding value in this series of posts, helping you prepare for your new growing adventure! Reminder that the deadline is May 31st for Fall Delivery. We look forward to working with you for your projects!

How Can I make my greenhouse its best?

Different tips to make it more efficient, proper space for plants, proper light,
when to heat and not

There are numerous ways of making your greenhouse more efficient and a better return for your investment.

The first question which needs to be answered, however is, “What does it need to be efficient for?” The answer to that should be in line with your goals and priorities for your greenhouse.

As an example, if you are not going to be growing in the winter, you will not need to make the structure “heat efficient” but you will need to ensure that it is “snow efficient”. If you are growing in the greenhouse through the summer time, the efficiency of your ventilation system is critical.

Making your structure more heat efficient (summer perspective) will be expanded on in post #5 and more heat efficient (winter perspective) will be expand on in post #6.

When you intend to start plants in early spring and then move the greenhouse to start another crop, the moving process can be made more efficient by installing “skis” under the base.

Anchoring concerns are touched on in post #3. This is also a way of making more efficient use of your property with investing in more greenhouse space.

When you implement a trellising program, you will make more efficient use of the floor space in your greenhouse. It is important to consider the need for your plant load being balanced on your structure.

Another important thing to be mindful of is the shading that is created when you implement vertical growing. Under certain conditions you may need to consider supplemental lighting to make things grow.

One consideration that is important to be mindful of as well, is that in the confined space of a greenhouse, you can not grow everything. This is not just a space limitation, but a climate limitation.

Certain plants prefer it warm and some like it cool. Other plants prefer wet and others dry. It will be more efficient use of your greenhouse if you collaborate with a like minded person. You grow more of certain things and the friend does likewise and then you trade the extras.

Here is to working together and growing together!

We hope you are finding value in this series of posts, helping you prepare for your new growing adventure! Reminder that the deadline is May 31st for Fall Delivery. We look forward to working with you for your projects!

How do I make sure it stays where it is supposed to?

Pointers on anchoring, what kind of things will impact holding power of anchors,
anchoring after moving a structure

A phrase Norm has used thousands of times in his career is, “There is no such thing as too many anchors.” We consider it important to help customers understand the aerodynamics involved with a greenhouse shape.

The relatively small cost of the anchors is a short-lived savings after a building has blown away or shifted. By understanding and implementing what is required you can ensure a long term usage of your structure.

The job of your anchoring system is to counter the three aerodynamic forces working on your building.

  • Down force is usually seen as snow load
  • Up lift and lateral shift are forces typically associated with wind load
  • Wind going over a structure creates lift similar to wind going over an airplane wing

The first thing you will need to assess is what you are actually working with. If you have bedrock close to the surface, you have large rocks, or you have straight sand, it will impact your options for anchoring.

The actual holding power of your soil is an important consideration. Soil that has been recently excavated has considerably less holding power than soil that has not been moved in a long time.

The total surface area of an anchor post in contact with the soil is an important consideration. Large and short may have more contact area than long and slender.

When anchors can be used in alternating directions, it will multiply their individual holding power.

Wet soil usually does not have the same holding capacity as well drained soil. An important consideration here is rainwater which is shed by the building. As an example, with a 16’ wide structure, 8’ of rainwater goes each way. This means that the narrow area next to your building get 8 times the rain that the rest of the property gets. If you have poorly draining soil, this could be a potential problem.

If you are planning to use the movable structure option, proper anchoring has some additional challenges. Since your building is vulnerable to sudden increases in wind during this process, your anchoring protocol needs to be done quickly. Always do a test in the new area to confirm what you will be working with. With the quickness that is required, there is also a reminder that taking shortcuts will come back to haunt you.

We would like to reiterate, “If you are not 110% sure, please ask” There is no situation out there that is so unusual that we have not already been through it.

Your long term success is very important to us!

We hope you are finding value in this series of posts, helping you prepare for your new growing adventure! Reminder that the deadline is May 31st for Fall Delivery. We look forward to working with you for your projects!

What is the best size and shape for what I want to do?

Covering the sizes we are offering and when it would be best to choose from the website for a more custom situation.

Determining the space that is required to meet your objectives will be your first consideration. This goes beyond the foot print or floor space which you would need for the plants you wish to grow.

In our Self Sufficiency packages, we are offering the convenience of 3 choices. There may be a situation where none of these choices will meet your short term objectives or long term goals. If that is the case, it would be advisable to explore our website for a more suitable package in the context of what you are learning here. The self sufficiency packages are meant as a simple starting point, but sometimes simple isn’t always the best choice

If it is your goal ultimately to have more than one greenhouse, consideration needs to be given for how the second or third building would fit on your property. As an example, if you have a total of 50’ wide available and you build 16’ now, it restricts your future options. Going a little longer now (if that fills the space) is much cheaper and simpler than doing an addition.

If it is not your intent to grow (and heat) through the winter time, it would be important to have a structure which would efficiently shed snow. Using a more snow efficient shape does not mean that the structure can be left totally unattended for extended periods of time. If that is going to be your situation, we have options for building structures to meet that requirement with closer arch spacing.

A very important reason for needing a taller building would be the need to use the vertical growing option. You will be able to grow more rows on that foot print because of the side clearance provided. If you plan to only grow short crops in the soil a lower greenhouse will work.

A point that many overlook in their consideration of the importance of side height is that they intend to work the ground with a rototiller.

A final point for the shape consideration, has to do with wind load. Wind load increases exponentially as the building is taller. Especially if your property dictates orienting the building across an extreme prevailing wind, it would be advisable to go with a lower profile.

Here is to comprehensive planning!

We hope you are finding value in this series of posts, helping you prepare for your new growing adventure! Reminder that the deadline is May 31st for Fall Delivery. We look forward to working with you for your projects!