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Discussion forum for the various methods and structures used for getting an early start on your growing season, extending it for several weeks or even year 'round.

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Old January 24, 2014   #1
Salsacharley
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Default Scheming on a Temporary Greenhouse

I had a brainstorm hit me that I'm trying to work out. I've been reading here about the fortunate folks who can start their crops early with greenhouses. My problem is I have no decent location to put a permanent greenhouse because my property has two gigantic fruitless mulberry trees (5' diameter trunks). They provide me a ton (literally) of leaves each year but they produce shade every where for significant portions of daylight that only allows for certain shade loving plants and flowers and certainly no veggies. (By the way, that shade probably lowers the temperature in my house 5 or 10 degrees in the summer.)

Now I have a neighbor who has a trashed out backyard but it has wonderful sun exposure. I approached him about using his yard to grow some tomato plants this season and he was enthusiastic. So my greedy, aggressive nature has invoked itself and I am scheming to set up a temporary greenhouse in his backyard.

Here is my scheme. I have a good ole Harbor Freight pop up canopy I use for growers markets ($70) that is 10' x 10'. I am seriously considering using the frame of the canopy as the frame of a greenhouse. I can use some clear plastic for the cover and just duck tape it to the canopy frame. I will probably reinforce the canopy with pvc pipe (my favorite thing next to duck tape). I don't expect to need the greenhouse longer than about 30 or 40 days. I estimate I can put perhaps up to 50 5 gal grow bags with baby tomato plants in the greenhouse to give them a head start so I can have some early tomatoes for market in May.

I am wondering if anybody knows why this is a bad idea. Whaduhyathink?

Thanks,

Charley
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Old January 24, 2014   #2
KarenO
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It would work but you will need to be able to monitor the temperature and open it up for ventilation as it will get too hot very quickly on a sunny day. Heat is often a bigger problem than cold in a greenhouse. As long as you are around every day to keep a close eye on it, it could work but be prepared for 40 days of high maintenance.
High winds or thunderstorms if they happen could do a number on it. you will need a nearby source of water. (or you will have to haul it) and 50 5 gallon buckets will need a lot of water.
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Old January 24, 2014   #3
Doug9345
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I would never walk away and trust a party canopy to protect things for me. I've seen too many of them collapsed by a gust of wind. It would be a shame to be 25 days into growing the tomatoes and lose them.
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Old January 24, 2014   #4
Cole_Robbie
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I agree about the venting.

If you can spend just a little money, a pvc quonset hoophouse is a tried and true design. I would trust that more than anything made by Harbor Freight. If it were me, I would buy at least the 1-year greenhouse poly film, and then take it off when the short season was over. 1-year film would last you several years this way.

I don't have good luck with duct tape. I like vinyl tape better, and I like the clear greenhouse poly tape the best. You can make clamps out of small sections of pvc cut in half longways, then screw or bolt it to a pipe to hold the plastic. Wiggle Wire is another option if you can spend the cash; it makes it easy to take plastic on and off.
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Old January 25, 2014   #5
habitat_gardener
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I agree about the venting and the party frame. I haven't had a greenhouse, but I have lost plants in cold frames that didn't get vented in time.

I visited a restoration nursery last year that had a lot of shade houses made with pvc pipe that looked easy and sturdy. Not sure if the photos will show up...they were an upside-down V shape, and the ribs were attached to the top with 4-way connectors. I'd use rebar as the foundation (slip the pvc over it at the base).
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Old January 25, 2014   #6
Tom A To
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Ya know... I don't think putting a greenhouse under some giant mulberries is a bad idea, especially in your neck of the woods. In the Winter, when you want lots of light in the greenhouse, the leaves are gone, letting the light through. In the Summer, the shade is ideal so the greenhouse doesn't get too hot. You're growing veggies outside by then anyhow. One of my greenhouses is in such a location. It's great for the wife's succulents.

As for dropping leaves, get the ol' blower out.
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Old January 25, 2014   #7
Worth1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom A To View Post
Ya know... I don't think putting a greenhouse under some giant mulberries is a bad idea, especially in your neck of the woods. In the Winter, when you want lots of light in the greenhouse, the leaves are gone, letting the light through. In the Summer, the shade is ideal so the greenhouse doesn't get too hot. You're growing veggies outside by then anyhow. One of my greenhouses is in such a location. It's great for the wife's succulents.

As for dropping leaves, get the ol' blower out.

I agree even where I live when its seed sprouting and outside light time we have no leaves.
By the time the leaves are out the plants are in the garden.
I would be real leery of putting my stuff on another persons place unless you have a tried and true relationship.
Plus you can then have something nice and permanent.

Worth
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Old January 25, 2014   #8
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I use cattle panels for temporary greenhouse structures. I erect 3 of them every Spring in different locations on the property. It literally takes less than an hour to construct one of these. The panels are 16ft x 4ft. You can make a house any length that you desire.
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Old February 4, 2014   #9
Salsacharley
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I appreciate all the comments and recommendations you all provided. After great deliberation I have decided to go ahead and take Dennis' advice and set up the greenhouse under my giant mulberry trees since it will only be for 30 - 40 days. I will vent it and monitor it constantly.

I was kinda hoping Dennis would send his wife over to chop down my mulberry tree and stack the wood for me after she's done hauling peat and tending to their bee hives.

Charley
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Old February 6, 2014   #10
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Quote:
I was kinda hoping Dennis would send his wife over to chop down my mulberry tree and stack the wood for me after she's done hauling peat and tending to their bee hives.
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Old February 6, 2014   #11
Tom A To
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salsacharley View Post
I appreciate all the comments and recommendations you all provided. After great deliberation I have decided to go ahead and take Dennis' advice and set up the greenhouse under my giant mulberry trees since it will only be for 30 - 40 days. I will vent it and monitor it constantly.

I was kinda hoping Dennis would send his wife over to chop down my mulberry tree and stack the wood for me after she's done hauling peat and tending to their bee hives.

Charley

My wife is from the LA area and has told me time and time again how she would never go back there. New Mexico is too close to LA so I don't think she would want to. If you were closer I'm sure I could give her a backpack and have her hike on over.
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