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!

Greenhouses 202: How to get your structure to survive the elements

Norm will be speaking on Saturday morning at the Guelph Organic Conference at Guelph University. We are eagerly anticipating getting to see many of you either at the workshop or the trade show. Below is an overview of what Norm will be speaking about. Please contact us if you have any further questions.

The purpose of this workshop is to share some of my 40+ years of experience to save you some grief and expense. This workshop is an expansion of part of last year’s workshop “Greenhouses 101” which is on our website.

We will be covering the three forces which are exerted on a building: Up, Down and Lateral. These forces will be looked at in the context of aerodynamics and weather. Examples of each problem will be given and preventive measures to be used.

Some basic principles of engineering – how going wider and/or higher becomes exaggerated
Security of your building starts with proper anchoring. How much anchoring is enough or too much?
How is stability affected when the anchor point is not at the ground?
How does structure shedding rain affect the holding power of anchors?
How does recent excavation have on holding power?

Down force is commonly referred to as snow load. The most commonly asked question is “how is the structure rated for snow load?”

A worst case scenario is a combination of freezing rain, snow, rain and wind.
The issues with an uneven snow load – all on one side or all on one end
Issues of snow sliding from a higher building to a lower building
Shape and slope are important to good snow shedding.

How does a structure get evaluated for strength?
Going from wind load to snow load, shape and size do matter.
Proper ways to remove snow and or ice from a building.

Uplift and Lateral forces are not the same but very interrelated
Comparing the profile of a structure to an aircraft wing
What effects are there when the cover area is expanded by going higher or wider?
How does aerodynamics change for multiple units side by side?

What is the minimum space requirement between structures?
How does orientation affect the structure?
Forces on a structure with no cover
What constitutes a good wind break?

We hope you can come out and ask any questions you have face to face with Norm. It should be a great day!