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!

**NEW** Self Sufficiency Packages

As an interest in growing our own food and being more self sufficient becomes an important value in today’s society, Multi Shelter Solutions wants to offer a solution to those new to growing: something simple, practical and easy to get started

~ Slightly higher ~ Snow Resistant ~ Not high enough for Wind Impact ~

STEPS FOR CHOICE

  1. Choose Your Size
  2. Choose Your Cover Option
  3. Choose Any Add On Value Option
  4. Place Your Order

Please see the download package for full details on all these steps

1. SIZE OPTIONS

Single: 10′ x 9′ x 8’8″
Double: 14′ x 24′ x 9’7″
Family: 18′ x 30′ x 10’6″

Please note, these packages are different from our MADE TO ORDER STRUCTURE KITS, as these are meant to speed up quoting and ordering, and as such are not able to be modified to be eligible for the special package pricing for these units. They do NOT have engineered drawings available and are sold for customer assembly.

2. COVER OPTIONS

Basic: Season Extender, Single Plastic
Deluxe: Year Round, double plastic, roll up sides, inflator fan

3. ADD ON VALUE OPTIONS

Base Option: Includes pressure treated 4x4s with t-post anchors and fasteners
Vertical Growing Option: Added Roll up Pipe for hanging baskets
Movable Option: Added Skis for versatile growing locations
Ventilation Option: Added Exhaust Fan, Motorized Louvres and Thermostat

4. CONTACT US FOR QUESTIONS & ORDERING

1-866-838-6729
multisheltersolutions @ gmail (dot) com

click to download below slide show in a printable pdf

In the following weeks, we will be sharing some articles to help you learn more about growing and considerations for your greenhouse purchase. You can subscribe to have them delivered to your inbox, or you can also click the links below to view them right away.

1. Where is the best place to put the greenhouse?

Factors that determine optimum location for growing, air flow, snow shedding and ground moisture

2. 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.

3. 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

4. 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

5. What are the considerations for growing over the summer?

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

6. What are the considerations for growing over winter?

Heating, interior tunnels, air circulation, humidity control

We look forward to helping you with your projects!

Season Extension: Moving Your Structure

A significant part of season extension involves moving an intact structure.

This basically allows you to get two (or possibly three) plots of production from one investment.

The idea is to start a relatively cold tolerant crop very early in the season (the timing will be different in different locations).

  1. Once the crop is firmly established in location A, (and it has warmed up) you will move the structure to location B and start another crop.
  2. You will harvest the crop in location A and then after working the soil, plant another crop in location A which is intended for fall harvesting.
  3. After location B is harvested and before frost you will move the structure back to A.
  4. Instead of doing twice in location A you could also choose location C.

A structure can be equipped with wheels which will run over the soil. There is quite a bit of flexibility where you go and the terrain you navigate.

The structure can be equipped with rollers on a track. This will determine where you go and this is usually intended for moving a bigger structure with fewer people.

The most common method of moving is sliding the structure on the soil. The base rail can be wood or steel.

It is critically import to understand the logistics of moving on a structure before you start. It is not hard to move a structure but it is also not hard to do damage.

Having a plan for proper anchoring is very important for a moveable structure. Your structure is at a vulnerable state when you release the anchors. Once you start, the job must be completed quickly. You have to be aware that the anchors may not come out or go back in easily so you may need to give yourself some extra time.

One other area of consideration on a moveable structure is the ends. There must be some sort of a flap or vent along the bottom so that when a structure is being moved, the ends will not uproot plant material. Generally speaking to have this ability in the ends takes away from the structural integrity, so some extra anchoring may be required.

You can see more information and photos on our movable information page. Please don’t hesitate to call us with ANY questions you may have. This can be a very useful addition to your structure, but must be understood correctly.

Stay tuned for part two and three of our season extension series later this week!

Season Extension: Hanley Caterpillar Tunnels

The first area to discuss regarding season extension are those structures that are simple enough to disassemble and relocate to another spot-primarily referring to Hanley Caterpillar Tunnels.

The real lure of these buildings is their low cost and simplicity to move. Generally the area is prepared in advance and then the tunnel is moved over the area when the planting is to be done.

Since the original design specified 6′ hoop spacing, the intent was always to remove the cover before risk of heavier snow fall. More often now, growers are going to 5′ spacing (and sometimes 4′) to allow the covers to remain on longer or even permanently.

By having a smaller hoop spacing, it allows the cover to stay on permanently, which allows for a much earlier start in the spring.

The key to the concept of the hanley working is in the rope.

  • The back and forth pattern of the rope resembles the way a person would lace up a boot.
  • Typically there is a spring loaded clip at the base where the rope passes through.
  • Once the rope is fully installed, it is important to tighten it through three passes from end to end.
  • If the rope is not tight enough, the wind will create wiggle and movement sideways.
  • When the plastic is tight enough, it also allows the grower to slide the plastic up the hoop to allow ventilation.

Generally the plastic is about 25′ longer then the tunnel.
This allows the installer to bunch up (pig tail style) the extra poly at both ends between a pair of posts.
It is important to get the plastic as tight as possible lengthwise first.
There must also be a rope from the top of the last hoop to the tie off post.

There are a couple of challenges to consider with the hanley tunnels.

  1. One of these challenges is to create a proper entrance. Typically entrance is achieved by slightly lifting the plastic and ducking underneath.
  2. The other are of challenge is the low shoulder height of the structure. This restricts the use to a couple rows of taller items in the middle and a couple rows of shorter plants along the side. The width of the tunnel does lend itself to three regular size beds.

Once you have learned about the nuances of the hanley tunnels, and asked any questions that come up, you will be better prepared to have these efficient season extenders work for you and your application.

Feel free to look at our Hanley Application page for more information and photos, and give us a call with anything else you require.

We are pleased to have many happy customers these structures are working for, and look forward to you being next!

Check out our new book if you want to know more “So You Want to Buy a Greenhouse…Your Guide to Planning a Greenhouse Purchase”

Norm shared some nostalgia after Coffee Time with Norm recently. Check out his story here:

 

Season Extension: Moving Your Structure

A significant part of season extension involves moving an intact structure.

This basically allows you to get two (or possibly three) plots of production from one investment.

The idea is to start a relatively cold tolerant crop very early in the season (the timing will be different in different locations).

  1. Once the crop is firmly established in location A, (and it has warmed up) you will move the structure to location B and start another crop.
  2. You will harvest the crop in location A and then after working the soil, plant another crop in location A which is intended for fall harvesting.
  3. After location B is harvested and before frost you will move the structure back to A.
  4. Instead of doing twice in location A you could also choose location C.

A structure can be equipped with wheels which will run over the soil. There is quite a bit of flexibility where you go and the terrain you navigate.

The structure can be equipped with rollers on a track. This will determine where you go and this is usually intended for moving a bigger structure with fewer people.

The most common method of moving is sliding the structure on the soil. The base rail can be wood or steel.

It is critically import to understand the logistics of moving on a structure before you start. It is not hard to move a structure but it is also not hard to do damage.

Having a plan for proper anchoring is very important for a movable structure. Your structure is at a vulnerable state when you release the anchors. Once you start, the job must be completed quickly. You have to be aware that the anchors may not come out or go back in easily so you may need to give yourself some extra time.

One other area of consideration on a movable structure is the ends. There must be some sort of a flap or vent along the bottom so that when a structure is being moved, the ends will not uproot plant material. Generally speaking to have this ability in the ends takes away from the structural integrity, so some extra anchoring may be required.

You can see more information and photos on our movable information page. Please don’t hesitate to call us with ANY questions you may have. This can be a very useful addition to your structure, but must be understood correctly.