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!

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!

Solar Powered Inflator Fan Update & Alternative

We have been continuing to get many inquiries about solar powering the inflator fan for greenhouses and livestock buildings, which is used to put air between two layers of plastic roof cover. For the last year we have been experimenting with a solar collecting package to determine what is required, while we work to keep our interested customers updated along the way.

The first thing that must be emphasized, is that you MUST use a squirrel cage type of fan and not a propeller type. The propeller type can not continuously run against back pressure.

The output required will be determined by the size of the greenhouse or livestock building. Our regular 110 volt fan draws .25 amp and puts out 80 cfm. Some small buildings can use a smaller fan and some of the bigger ones require our double output fan which gives 130 cfm.

Our inflator fan works quite well going through an invertor. Any 12 or 24 volt fans which we have tried have been extremely noisy and therefore not feasible.

The biggest challenge which we encountered, is that the specific time the fan is needed the most for heat insulation, is also the time where there is the least capacity for generating power.

We used a single solar collector and a single battery and there was simply not a quick enough capacity for the battery to hold charge when we had several consecutive cloudy days in December/January

To add another solar collector to an already fairly expensive package, really becomes prohibitive and can deter from moving forward with it.

Based on this experience, we wanted to offer an alternative that balanced economy with feasibility. We have come up with a way where the extra roof plastic can be used on the inside of the structure.

This means that you would not need the inflator fan but still have the effect of double plastic with the air pocket for better heat efficiency. This system does require a bit of extra “fiddling” but the net cost will be a little less.

1. The structure is covered with a single layer of plastic just the same as you would if you were only doing a single layer.
2. Take the second piece of plastic inside the greenhouse and fold it double lengthwise.
3. This double plastic will be attached to the underside of the ridge using the same aluminum as you would use to fasten the plastic to the roll up pipe.
4. Next remove the purlins from the one side of the structure and after you have pushed over the plastic, reinstall the purlins under the plastic. You will be pushing the bolts through the plastic.
5. The plastic will be fastened with wirelock to the underside of the end hoops.

We have already had some customers try this out and are very happy with the result. Please call us with any questions or to discuss your specific application and situation where you might use this. We would be happy to help you with your project!

The benefits of going to a bigger structure

What are some of the benefits of going with a bigger structure over a smaller structure?

Budget often dictates that someone needs to start small, especially when a person is just starting out as a grower with a greenhouse.
There is also the perceived notion that staying smaller means less heating cost. In itself, that is true, since heat loss is in direct proportion to surface area exposed to the outside.

As I have mentioned before, it is very important to weigh expense
against return.

A smaller air volume has less natural circulation.
Proper air circulation for plants is critical regardless of the season.
Think of a deep pond versus a shallow pond. The deep pond never has algae on the surface because of the increased movement.

Going with a taller greenhouse will automatically increase the circulation the same way.

Another point to consider with a taller greenhouse, is that there is more open space above the plants.

This open space is where moisture can go, away from the plants even before the greenhouse ventilation system does its job.

With a lower greenhouse, moisture is always in close proximity to the plants. In a taller structure, the plants will be dry much sooner.

Moist plants in a stagnant air mass are prone to disease. These plants will, as a result, produce less.

As always, be aware of the bigger picture.

Featured Add-On Roll Up Sides Q&A *Videos*

We made some tutorial videos regarding our roll up sides options. Please enjoy and let us know any comments you may have. You can also watch them all on our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBUPJhbi2DLs0UYSo0FRwwi0pMo51PV80

As always, we are available for any questions that come up, so feel free to email multisheltersales@gmail.com or call our office 1-866-838-6729 Thanks!

You can also see more at our Roll Up Sidewall Considerations article (also below videos)

 

Roll up Sides Q&A *revised*

We have had many questions recently about our roll up sides so we made some tutorial videos. Please enjoy and let us know any comments you may have. You can also watch them all on our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBUPJhbi2DLs0UYSo0FRwwi0pMo51PV80

As always, we are available for any questions that come up, so feel free to email multisheltersales@gmail.com or call our office 1-866-838-6729 Thanks!

*edit* we apologize the links on the last post didn’t work, they have been fixed