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!

Organic Month Q&A Recordings

Norm hosted a Q&A on zoom to cover the topics we posted about throughout the Organic Month in September and answer any attendees’ questions. Below are the video recordings from that event.

  • organic shelters uses & benefits
  • ventilation options and ideas

  • season extension technologies

Contact us today for your custom quote 1-866-838-6729 multisheltersolutions@gmail.com

4 Week Delivery!

(VIDEO) Did you know??

For most Ontario locations we can have your structure to you in 4 weeks!

And we will still be heading east with our truck at least once, maybe twice still, weather and order dependent, so if you’re cleaning up from the storm and need something, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Orders out west can still be delivered this year as well!

Call to find out more! 1-866-838-6729 multisheltersolutions@gmail.com

Adding a Softcover Structure to the Side or End of Another Building

There are two ways of adding a structure to the side of a building. It can be done as a lean-to (half structure) that goes parallel to the building and up to the eave, or it can be a complete building at 90 degrees to the existing building. This article applies to the latter option.

When considering attaching an MSS structure at 90 degrees to another building, there are some important considerations to be mindful of before the purchase.

The first is that these buildings are almost always considered high humidity (especially when it is a greenhouse). This means that you will be subjecting that wall to a higher level of moisture. Extra waterproofing should be considered. This high level of humidity should be an extra concern if the intent is to use the warm air as a source of heat for the solid building.

The other thing to bear in mind is the potential snow shedding patterns from the bigger building roof. If the height difference is more than 2’, measures should be implemented to slow the process of shedding snow. Without slowing the rate that the snow comes off the taller building, the force of the impact could be triple or quadruple the weight of the actual snow.

If there is a likelihood of significant snow levels being shed, we recommend reducing the rib spacing of the first 12’ of the building. Going from 4’ to 3’ spacing will increase the strength by 1/3. Going from 3’ to 2’ is a 50% increase in strength. This will give your building the added strength for the impact of shedding snow and the volume that would potentially be on the roof.

The third thing that needs to be considered is how the cover will be fastened to your shelter at the wall. For a stand-alone building, you would be on a ladder or platform off the end but this is not possible if the end hoop is right against the wall.

One option is to have the first hoop about 2’ from the wall and then cover that section with something solid (plywood, sheet metal, Lexan, etc.). This will give you a place to crawl up and secure the cover into the wirelock.

Another option would have you put the first hoop about ½” to 1” from the wall. The wirelock channel would be installed on the underside of that hoop. During the cover installation, you would slide the cover through the gap and then wrap the cover around to the bottom. The wire inserts would be installed from the underside. This option is a little more tricky when doing the double plastic cover. After the cover is installed, the gap can be filled with square foam strips which are available at the building centers. Extra care must be exercised to protect the cover from bolt heads and nuts.

The third option would be to install the structure as per normal but about 1’ from the wall. The covering would be done as usual and once this is complete, the building would be slid up against the wall. This process is a bit risky since the building is not secured to the anchors for a short period. The longer the building is, the more challenging this option is.

The last challenge which needs some attention has to do with the method of ventilation which will be used. Typical ventilation flows through the building. In this scenario, ventilating though the building would also mean that you have to go through the attached building. It can be done, but you would be best to get some additional advice on the process.

If roll-up sides are going to be used, it must be noted that the attached building will interfere with proper airflow.

The challenge with using forced ventilation is “where does the air get into the building. It would be best to create a sketch of the building with thoughts as to what you intend to do. We will use our experience to advise you.

It is important to understand and work through these challenges before you purchase. We are here to advise.

Retightening a Loose Cover

A question that we are often asked in the fall is “Do I put the cover on now or in the spring?”

As with most everything in life, there are two ways of looking at things and both sides have pros and cons. The answer is always the same though, “Put the cover on now since, in our opinion, the pros significantly outweigh the cons”

The pros of putting the cover on a new building in the fall include less frost penetration and a chance for ground moisture to start evaporating sooner than later. Less frost penetration means you will require much fewer heat units to get the structure operational in the spring (significant savings). Ground moisture is a challenge every new structure owner faces and allowing that extra time will significantly enhance the growing environment (much healthier).

The main con of putting the cover on in the fall is that with colder temperatures during installation, you will most likely be dealing with an excessively loose cover in the spring. This will be a task that needs to be dealt with to prevent premature cover wear. This will NOT be an ongoing issue. Once you deal with the loose cover, it will be good to go and add life to the cover.

Since cover tightening should not be undertaken until the temperature is consistently warm and warm enough It should therefore not be done until May and until the minimum temperature is over 20C. This requirement also means that you should use a temporary fix to carry you over until you can do a permanent fix.

Do not use rope (especially nylon) over a loose cover to temporarily tighten a cover unless you are facing an emergency. The abrasion factor will create new problems while you are dealing with the other problem. Seat belt material or ratchet straps make ideal fasteners for a loose cover.

If you do not have access to this and you know you will be dealing with a loose cover, you can call our office for some tarp scraps. These can be cut into 2” or 3” strips and then put over the cover at 12’ – 15’ intervals. It is important that the straps are lying flat on the cover before tightening.

When you have a warm calm day to tighten the cover, the job can be done in two stages. Since you must pull lengthwise, you can do one end on one day and the other end the next day. If you simply loosen one side and pull tight, you will have uneven tightening which still will have premature wear.

Once the two sides and one end are loose, pull toward the end and start refastening from the peak and work down. You are always working from the middle to the corner. If any wrinkles develop as you do this, always pull 90 degrees to the wrinkle. If the wind is still calm when you are finished with one end, you can then do the other end. It is important to remember that once you have started loosening the cover, you are committed to finishing the job. Having loose cover overnight is an invitation for trouble.

If anything in this article is not clear, please do not hesitate to contact us for clarification before you start.

Installing Wire Insert on Multiple Layers of Plastic

In response to a few questions about increased difficulty of installing the wire insert on 3 layers of 7.2 mil plastic. I have done my experiment with zero added degree of difficulty.

I don’t want to leave it just like that. I would like to add a few points.

First of all, the temperature was about 18C when I did this. It will progressively get more difficult because the plastic is less pliable as the temperature gets colder.

I should follow this up with the same experiment when the temperature is below freezing.

For my experiment I put extra screws into the channel simply to increase the chances of interference between wire insert and screws.

I had one instance where it was a little more tricky and had to push a little harder.

I could see that there could be a possibility where you might need to take out the wire insert and start 1 centimeter over.

There are a few things which I wish to point out on logistics and technique. There is a critical thing to remember for the helper who is pulling on the loose plastic.

He/she must be pulling at least 30 cm ahead of where the wire is going into the channel to allow the necessary slack to get the wire into the channel.

The same applies for the person inside the structure who is pulling on the end wall cover.

Inserting the wire insert is very much a wrist action and proper technique is probably even more important when doing 3 layers of 7.2 mil

Your thumb should be on the next equal bump (either up or down) so that you can apply some twisting action to the insert.

Never simply slide the insert up and down as this can abraid the cover.