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Cold Climate Greenhouse

Discussion in 'Greenhouse' started by Lost in mn, Dec 1, 2013.

  1. Lost in mn

    Lost in mn Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    102
    Planting Zone:
    3
    This past year we never got a garden planted because there was no spring. I am thinking about doing the greenhouse thing for starting plants and not sure what is the best way to do it given it's so darn cold here.

    Raised bed? heated and plants in the ground? Anyone live in the north have any suggestions? I do not have access to Electricity where I have to put it.
     
  2. w_r_ranch

    w_r_ranch Master Gardener Moderator

    Messages:
    3,158
    Location:
    South Central Texas
    Planting Zone:
    8b
    Propane Heater maybe for heat...

    I start mine in 3 1/2" pots here. I also ran the electricity (both 220v & 120v) when I built mine, although I didn't have real real big distance to cover... maybe 200'.
     
  3. Mr_Yan

    Mr_Yan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,067
    Location:
    Northern IL
    Planting Zone:
    4b
    Depends on how much you want to do and how much you want to sink into it.

    I go with raised beds with hoops over it to support 6 mil plastic to extend the season. I mounted / screwed pieces of PVC to the inside of the raised bed walls before I filled it with soil. I think it was 1" PVC anchored to the raised bed wall allows for 1/2" to slide into it for when you want the hoop over it. When the hoops are not in place poles (like 1/2" EMT conduit) can be slid into the anchor sleeves for trellising. I put in three across each long side of my 7' long bed and don't think it was enough. If you're building new beds put in the anchors every foot plus in the corners but 4 hoops should be enough across 8 feet.

    I start all my plants in a cooler room of my house under lights. Last frost date is about May 15 here and I start cool weather crops around March 15.

    I have also heard good things about floating row covers but have never used them.

    I have heard about a guy in Maine that uses high hoop houses and floating row covers to grow year round with no additional heat source. I think the guy's name was Coleman and he has published a few books on it. He is also an extreme organic left over hippy type but if he has practical ideas I'll let that go.

    There is an "urban farm" experiment in Milwaukee - growing power - that uses active composting to heat some green houses in the winter. Sounds great but I have no clue where they would get enough compostable materials in the dead of winter.
     
  4. Lost in mn

    Lost in mn Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    102
    Planting Zone:
    3
    Thanks for the info. I am not sure which way to go quite yet. One plus that we have here is all the soil is Peat or Peat blend. It doesn't freeze solid so the thought of active compost for heat is interesting. I could run propane as well but that gets spendy. I will update when I pick a direction!
     
  5. Mr_Yan

    Mr_Yan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,067
    Location:
    Northern IL
    Planting Zone:
    4b
    I've been playing with the idea of a geodesic dome for a green house but I don't have the space anywhere.

    How much are you trying to heat for? Fresh greens in the dead of winter or just extend the season enough to grow squash and tomatoes?

    Have you seen the rocket mass stoves?
     
  6. Lost in mn

    Lost in mn Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    102
    Planting Zone:
    3
    Well I am actually looking for just something to get things going in the spring and replant outside when warm enough. The weather is so unpredictable here planting from seed doesn't yield much as the growing season is only about 73 days. So I want about 6 weeks in the greenhouse in the late winter early spring. I've seen some greenhouse types that didn't require supplemental heat sources using a solar type of plastic. But I am afraid the snow during the winter would wreck it.

    So I might have to go portable or just bite the cost and go permanent. Still looking at options.
     
  7. Mr_Yan

    Mr_Yan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,067
    Location:
    Northern IL
    Planting Zone:
    4b
    I start my seeds under lights on a folding table to avoid going from seed outside. I use a soil block maker then pot up to peat or plastic pots depending on the plant.

    Cold frame boxes? These can be as simple as a few straw bales with a storm window over the top.

    Have you thought about one of the green house windows on your house? For the first few weeks the plants are still rather small and manageable, unless you're planting half an acre. Take care about some of the new windows with energy saving films. These new energy saving films tend to filter out the red and blue spectrum and emit the greens. The green looks good to us but photosynthesis depends mostly on the red and blue areas of the spectrum.

    My co-worker lives near Madison WI and has two small portable green houses. Last year he lost three green houses worth of plants: one he baked in sun, one toppled in high winds, and one froze when the space heater failed overnight. I'd avoid these - they seem like a good idea but are a lot of work.
     
  8. Lost in mn

    Lost in mn Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    102
    Planting Zone:
    3
    We just don't have space in the house for starting plants and don't face the right direction for sunlight. The area we plant is about 3/4 of a mile from the house so i want the greenhouse closer to the garden. We have space for up to 3 acres of plants. No electricity out there either. 2 years ago our garden did great as the temps were extremely warm in April so we got an early start. This past year we didn't have daily temps above 50 until June first.
    I dunno just trying to figure something out. Wife likes to can stuff and wants her garden back lol
     
  9. Mike

    Mike Might know the answer Administrator

    Messages:
    871
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Planting Zone:
    6b
    @Mr_Yan what light setup do you use in your house to start your plants?
     
  10. Mr_Yan

    Mr_Yan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,067
    Location:
    Northern IL
    Planting Zone:
    4b
    @Mike I have been using a standard 4' shop florescent hung on swingset chain with S hooks to easily adjust the height. I hope to build a high intensity LED array this winter.
     
  11. NancyCruz

    NancyCruz Member

    Messages:
    2
    Depends on how much you want to do and how much you want to sink into it.
     

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