Season Extension: Ventilation & Heating

To make your greenhouse more of a year round functioning entity, there are two main areas in which you have to make the structure more efficient-Heating and Ventilation.

1. Heating is your biggest expense for the winter so retaining heat is a priority.

The easiest way to retain heat in your greenhouse is to install a double poly cover with air in between. A small squirrel cage blower attached to the inside layer of plastic aids in maintaining air between layers.

The more dead air space between these layers you can create, the closer you will be to achieving a 30% reduction in heat loss. Holes will result in air movement and therefore less efficiency. 3″-5″ consistent space is ideal. It is a given that you would have less than that around the edges and over the ridge.

Double plastic will have a considerably longer life span. It is important to realize that as plastic gets older, the light transmission will be reduced which will reduce production.

Infrared plastic (IR poly) does further reduce heat loss and increase light diffusion so it can also be a consideration when looking for ways to reduce heating costs.

2. Ventilation is also one of your biggest considerations for the warmer times of the year. Ventilation can be done through forced or mechanical methods or passive through vents or roll up sides.

Vents are extremely effective since they can be placed higher up where the heat needs to be expelled. Mechanical ventilation is more costly both up front and to operate but it is easier to control since it is attached to a thermostat. For mechanical ventilation to be effective, it needs to be sized and located properly.

Roll up sides are less costly and simpler to install but are restricted by the fact that you have to be there to open and to close.

Climate control is especially challenging in the spring and the fall since most days you will have the need for both ventilating and heating.

One area that you need to be especially aware of is stagnant air. Without proper air movement, circulation and exchanging, stagnant air can cause many different types of diseases. It is important to understand what your plants require

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.

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

Celebrate Organic Month with MSS!

~Celebrate with Multi Shelter Solutions~

  • photo contest all month long – draw on the 27th during Norm’s zoom, stay tuned for more details!
  • Fun Fact Friday on IG/FB with prizes!
  • In Case You missed it Monday (Wednesday & Thursday too!) Helpful Articles
  • Prize Draws & Giveaways
  • Q&A Zoom Webinar with Norm Sept 27th (details below)
  • Books, Ebooks, Gift Cards & More!

We want to share our gratitude and raise awareness for a sector that is doing so much to help feed the future and be mindful stewards of the earth

Let’s celebrate organic, today & everyday!

Follow us on IG @multisheltersolutions FB Multi Shelter Solutions on our website www.MultiShelterSolutions.com Email multisheltersales@gmail.com or call the office with any questions

Keep your eye out in your mailbox, you might be receiving one of our special postcards!

PHOTO CONTEST

Throughout the month of September to celebrate Organic Month, we are having a photo contest! 

Send us your greenhouse photos to be shared with credit given to you & your business & during the Q&A Sept 27, we will make a random draw of all entries to win a $100 gift card. All participants will receive a pdf or Kindle of the greenhouse book as our thank you for participating 

Please email entries to multisheltersales@gmail.com

Or tag us on your social media photo! 

Make sure to include your name, business name and location!

Q&A Event with Norm Sept 27th https://fb.me/e/30a0Q65h5

Norm will be hosting a Q&A on zoom to cover the topics we’ve posted about throughout this month and answer any questions.

  • organic shelters uses & benefits
  • ventilation options & ideas
  • season extension technologies

Stay tuned for rough timeslots posted and confirmed throughout the month

All live attendees are eligible for amazing prize draws and other fun opportunities!!

The draw for the photo contest winner will be during the event and winner contacted after if they are not present.

Working with MSS and the New Electronic Log System

click to watch video

As we mentioned in a previous video, MSS is known for working with its customers to keep down the cost of shipping. That was all about the communication process before the load actually left.

Today we are discussing how and why we need your help during the delivery run: the new reality of trucking is ELD (Electronic Log devices)

Historically, our driver has had to keep a paper log of driving and deliveries. This was to ensure that there were no more than 14 hours per day or 70 hours per week of working and driving.

The system was cumbersome but at least there was some wiggle room.

With the new electronic system, there is zero wiggle room. It must be turned on before the driver starts moving and literally every minute must be accounted for. When the 14 hours is up, the driver must be stopped; there is no allowance for doing an extra 20 minutes to the motel.

If the officer asks for a report, it will be right there that the driver was illegally moving. The fines are extremely high and the driver’s record will precede him. Many of our stops are rural and remote. Often the driver stops early just to play it safe.

The driver must be very efficient with his time and here is how you can help:

  • Let us know if there is anything going on in your area on the roads.
  • Make sure the address and directions we have are accurate.
  • Have your area for unloading ready. Lumber to lay things on should be nearby.

Losing time to these kinds of things can mean that the last drop of the day is pushed back until the next day. This will add to the delivery runs’ expenses and must be passed on to the customers. We do not do our deliveries at a profit when margins can be sharpened.

We enjoy making connections with our customers. Unfortunately, the driver simply does not have the leeway to chat as much as previously.

We appreciate your help and participation in ensuring a smooth flow.

to watch the previous video, click here: https://youtu.be/l2rc-Z710Aw

How MSS Coordinates Deliveries & Back Orders for Top Customer Satisfaction During Challenging Times

[click to watch video]

Working With Our Customers for Mutual Benefit on Deliveries

Multi Shelter Solutions has always been known for working with its customers.

This is particularly true for coordinating deliveries to minimize freight costs. It is more than just saving on freight, though.

Our deliveries ensure that the product gets to you when it is supposed to and in the condition it is supposed to.

Occasionally we are faced with a situation where a shipment is not complete at the promised delivery date. It has always been our policy to still ship the order with the back order going out at our expense.

We deem it more important to keep you happy and on schedule than worry about the additional expense.

We know it’s well known, but with fuel prices going up at unprecedented rates and supply chain issues ongoing, meeting this commitment has become even more of a challenge and required more creative solutions.

It has also emphasized how critical good communication between all parties is. You need to have timely and accurate information on your order status and we need accurate information on your schedule.

It is pointless for us to show up with an incomplete order when you are not ready for it.

We hope that we have built up a level of trust where you feel comfortable giving us this information, while knowing we are working hard on your behalf.

Through good dialogue, we can minimize the impact of these delays for both of us.

We appreciate the trust you have shown in us by placing your order with Multi Shelter Solutions. We will always look forward to working with you on your project through to completion and in the days that follow