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Old March 19, 2017   #1
TorontoJoe
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Default To vent or not to vent?

Hi All,

So, it appears my tried and tested method of starting seeds in cups in the windows isn't popular here at home... I'm being told that potting mix sprinkled about the house is frowned upon. As an alternative this year I bought one of these little greenhouses to start my seeds. Something like this one:



Now, it's still quite cold where I am so I built a heating system. It's basically an open top wooden box. Inside is a heater and temperature controller. I plunked the whole greenhouse on top. now I can keep the interior a constant 25C.

It occurred to me that there might need to be some air movement in there. I have a little 8" fan that I can mount to the top to keep air moving around inside but I'm wondering if this is enough?

This is where I'm torn - If I don't bring in fresh air am I asking for mould and other nastiness?

On the other hand - if I pump in fresh air - that air will be very cold. I think it would struggle to maintain an acceptable temperature and the heater would run constantly?

My posted last frost is date is May 9th so I've got to get on it.... but currently the temperature is 2C...

Some practical advice and shared experience would be greatly appreciated.
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Old March 19, 2017   #2
brownrexx
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I can't comment on the air flow but a member on another forum that I frequent had a greenhouse like that one last year and it got knocked over in a wind storm and messed up all of her seedlings. So please make sure that it is weighted down securely to prevent such a calamity happening to you.
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Old March 19, 2017   #3
TorontoJoe
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Yup. All secured. The wind will have to take my fence with it....
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Old March 19, 2017   #4
Durgan
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Some air flow is absolutely essential. Minor movement assists in strengthening the stalks. The air need not be be brought in from outside the enclosure. Just direct a small fan so the inside air bounces around the plants. Also air discourages mold.
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Old March 19, 2017   #5
brownrexx
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Good, she was so distraught when her tomato seedlings lost all of their labels are were tumbled all over the place while she was at work!
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Old March 19, 2017   #6
rhines81
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You can get by without a vent for the cold days and nights, but in direct sun those plastic houses get extremely hot inside, even if the air is cool. Consider making a closable vent (maybe using Velcro or something) so that you can open it up when it is sunny and above 10C outside, but keep it closed otherwise.
Also, those units aren't exactly air-tight so you will experience some air exchange with a small fan.
Oh yea, if it snows you might want to go out and keep it cleaned off every couple of inches - they are not the most rigid units in the world.
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Old March 19, 2017   #7
KarenO
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I think your wife needs to learn that there are many worse ways you could spend your time and that seed starting is only for a few weeks per year. promise to keep it tidy and perhaps you won`t be banished
I think it will be difficult to maintain a semi-consistent temperature in the small greenhouse for seed starting. I think it would work for hardening off if you can keep it cool enough.
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Old March 19, 2017   #8
TorontoJoe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhines81 View Post
You can get by without a vent for the cold days and nights, but in direct sun those plastic houses get extremely hot inside, even if the air is cool. Consider making a closable vent (maybe using Velcro or something) so that you can open it up when it is sunny and above 10C outside, but keep it closed otherwise.
Also, those units aren't exactly air-tight so you will experience some air exchange with a small fan.
Oh yea, if it snows you might want to go out and keep it cleaned off every couple of inches - they are not the most rigid units in the world.
OK - This is good. So not so much fresh air that's needed but rather need to keep from over heating.... I suppose I could install the fan and set the temp controller to to cool as well as heat. So below 23C the heat will kick on and above say 30C the fan will power up.... That would probably solve any stale air issues as well...

I want to try and keep this thing fully automated....
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Old March 19, 2017   #9
rhines81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TorontoJoe View Post
OK - This is good. So not so much fresh air that's needed but rather need to keep from over heating.... I suppose I could install the fan and set the temp controller to to cool as well as heat. So below 23C the heat will kick on and above say 30C the fan will power up.... That would probably solve any stale air issues as well...

I want to try and keep this thing fully automated....
You can start your seeds indoors and then move them out to grow. Coffee filter/Napkin and Baggie - No soil.

and... as KarenO is implying ... It would never fly in my house (being told what to do), but then again that is why I divorced my first wife and the runner-up, I haven't married her (yet). Matter of fact, I would probably have my living room filled with 12" of soil and farm that if my GF ever told me she did not want potting soil strewn about!
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Old March 19, 2017   #10
Nematode
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Oasis horticubes.
No mess. No damp off.best germination we have ever gotten.
There are other sources of polyurethane foam that cost 1/10, but overall its a small part of the garden budget.
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Old March 19, 2017   #11
rhines81
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Quote:
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Oasis horticubes.
No mess. No damp off.best germination we have ever gotten.
There are other sources of polyurethane foam that cost 1/10, but overall its a small part of the garden budget.
Sorry but I wouldn't want poly...anything ending up in my garden, the roots would definitely be all tangled up in it. Not into to reclaiming my garden soil for recycling, just a big no to that.
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Old March 19, 2017   #12
TorontoJoe
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In here defense.... It was never a problem but I started rooting fig trees in the house last fall. I got really into it and before you knew it I was up to my ears with over 100 small trees in every window.... It wasn't pretty. I consider it a learning experience.
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Old March 19, 2017   #13
TorontoJoe
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I'm pretty particular about what goes in my garden as well. I found virtually endless source of dirt cheap worm castings. That's all I put in the ground. My pot mix is a home-brew 5-2-1-1 Pine bark, perlite, peat moss, castings (or sheep manure)
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Old March 19, 2017   #14
rhines81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TorontoJoe View Post
In here defense.... It was never a problem but I started rooting fig trees in the house last fall. I got really into it and before you knew it I was up to my ears with over 100 small trees in every window.... It wasn't pretty. I consider it a learning experience.

You're an over-achiever!!! Nothing wrong with that!
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Old March 19, 2017   #15
Cole_Robbie
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I don't vent my greenhouse at night. I actually try to make it more humid inside by leaving a lot of water in open troughs. Cold winter air is very dry, and the humidity is beneficial. If you are using a heater, it will be drying out your air, anyway.

I concur that venting in the hot sun to prevent overheating is a very important concern. The temperature inside can rise up to 50 degrees F above the outside temperature in full sun.
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