Anyone greenhousing over the winter?

Discussion in 'The Green Patch' started by melbo, Dec 8, 2010.

  1. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member


    Tell us about it. Clyde and I have all sorts of great plans for doing this one of these days.
  2. Gray Wolf

    Gray Wolf Monkey+++

    Wife heats it with electricity when it gets really cold. She hates to see the tomato plants die. It's a double wall extruded plastic building, about 8'X16', with double doors on one narrow side, and a vent window on the other narrow side. It has 3 roof vents that used to be automatic, but they must be operated manually now.
    Spinach does really well over the winter in the greenhouse, it can take a freeze and as long as you don't harvest it while it is frozen, it's OK.
    We have a water outlet in there, and grow a lot of stuff in EarthBoxes, I think there may still be a few bell peppers left to harvest in there.
  3. Joseph Thomas

    Joseph Thomas Monkey+

    I've got a little 6 X 8 single pane glass greenhouse. Tried it last year and was able to grow lettuce, spinach, some cabbage up until a little after Christmas. I had four big blue barrels in there filled with water that I layed boards across for the flats. I also had a little electric space heater in there with an external thermostat set at 50 degrees. Worked O.K. but electricity is too expensive so I'm looking at heating with a coal stove to warm the water up. All the old big greenhouses around here used to heat with coal for warm water or steam heat.
  4. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    my wife has been wanting to do this for years.
  5. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    I remember as a kid seeing the greenhouses around me that had large black water bladders for heat storage.
    pearlselby likes this.
  6. VHestin

    VHestin Farm Chick

    Saw a really good greenhouse this year, side with the door had the glass/windows, and then one 'wall' was all glass/windows, and the other 2 sides were cement block walls painted black. Was a couple vents. Seemed to work really well, was a happy avocado tree in there. I hope to redo something like that here. Right now my room is our greenhouse, since I have a big window facing south, and another one facing east, and I've got tropical plants in there(coffee plant, dwarf banana, angelwing jasmine, and dwarf fig, stevia), plus some basil and cherry tomato and baby bell pepper plants that weren't finished producing when growing season was over. Trying to grow some lettuce/spinach in there too, just to have some fresh salad fixings over winter aka half the *censored* year.
  7. Gray Wolf

    Gray Wolf Monkey+++

    I forgot to mention the 5 black plastic 55 gal. water barrels that form a thermal flywheel in our greenhouse! The north side doesn't get sun, so that wall is insulated with styrofoam panels.
    chelloveck likes this.
  8. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Had a small, (12x20) earth bermed one, going into the third winter with it. Experimenting to see what works and what doesn't. Discovered quite a few things.

    Didn't have much in it the first winter, so we didn't heat it at all.....lowest temp recorded inside was 39 degrees, but it was a relatively mild winter, lowest it got outside was mid teens, and only briefly then.

    Last winter, got more into trying tomatoes, so I did use some propane heat at night to keep the inside in the upper 50's or above....tomatoes did 'fair'.

    This year, changed to "Siberia" variety tomatoes, plus couple "cherry" tomatoes from home saved seed. Siberia are supposed to set fruit down to 39 degrees....far lower than most variety.

    Both have been doing well up until this week....tomatoes forming on the cherry variety, lot of flowers on the Siberia. This week, we've had extensive below freezing weather ( 9 degrees this morning ) and all I'm running for heat is a dual manel propane lantern head with a hose to a 100lb tank. Temps have been in the low 40's in the morning. If the sun comes out much at all, the temps go into the 70's or above real easy even with below freezing outside temp.

    I'm convinced earth berming is the way to go over any kind of convention greenhouse IF you have the terrain to pull it off.

    Another experiment this year was raising cabbage under a hoop cover. Wife raised 100 seedlings, and we set them in the normal garden space in late Oct. in a 4-5' wide bed, 50' long. Then I took 18" pcs of 1/2" re-bar, drove in at a slight angle inward to the bed, leaving about 6" sticking up. Took some 3/4" PVC electrical conduit, stuck over the rebar on one side, and bent in a radius, sticking over the rebar on the other side to form a hoop "rib". Then I took 1" PVC pipe in 20' lengths to form purlins on top the ribs ( ribs on 5' centers ) and used SS hose clamps to hold the pipe to the purlin down the top center, one on each side.

    As the nights started dipping into frost, I covered the whole rib/pipe thing with a layer of 6mil plastic, held down on one side with shoveled dirt, and rocks/cinderblock on the other side.....end of the hoop house was cover with a couple old bed sheets.

    Worked well until we got down in the low teens...I even added another layer of plastic, hoping that would keep the inside frost free, but last couple of nights "got it".....pulled up some of the plants yesterday and let the chickens have them ( which was the purpose of raising that many to start with ), and we'll see if the rest recover, but I kinda think they are done. Had we had the more mild pre-Christmas weather of past years, I think this would have worked out fine.....but that blast from the North Pole got us this year. I don't plan to repeat this particular experiment next year, mainly because uncovering and recovering the plastic during the warmer day time weather.....was afraid it would get TOO hot in there when the temps went back up in the 50's....was a huge PITA....ground was plowed in the fall, so it was a muddy mess to wade in there.

    Next year, I want to have a permanent, walk in, cool weather hoop house ready, with some wood backup heat in case we do run into another northern blast. I plan to make it earth berm as well, and include automatic vents that will reduce the labor factor.
  9. Clyde

    Clyde Jet Set Tourer Administrator Founding Member

  10. Maxflax

    Maxflax Lightning in a bottle

    We are soon to build a Norman keep style home utilizing Insulated Concrete Forms. The entire nearly flat roof begs to be used for a hothouse and other uses. I figure I can heat the hothouse with one or two tubes through the roof, inside the hothouse, which will also be an Insulated Concrete Form. The wood stoves and the basement log burner will supply all the heat needed, and a thermostatically controlled fan on the tubes will seal the deal

    I'm thinking about a 25 x 15 hothouse and maybe even a few dwarf citrus trees in there, plus other exotics, even though we're in Western WA State.

    In the spring we can also start early garden seedlings up there and then transfer them to a greenhouse, also up there.. I already have the kit

    Short growing season here so you have to gain any advantage for tomatoes, corn, pumpkins, onions, etc
  11. Joseph Thomas

    Joseph Thomas Monkey+

    "I'm convinced earth berming is the way to go over any kind of convention greenhouse IF you have the terrain to pull it off."

    I've thought of super insulating the North side also as it gets zero sun. Our frost depth is 40 inches. Would earth berming be a good way to go here?
    Ganado likes this.
  12. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    I'd say yes, if you can get about 4 feet of cover. The extra 8 inches accounts for compaction and offers a margin for a bad winter. Bear in mind that any penetration thru the berm can offer a path for frost, what is called in arctic engineering a "cold short." Real heat loss path. Consider also drainage from the base of the berm; gravity is your friend.
  13. Joseph Thomas

    Joseph Thomas Monkey+

    My little greenhouse was always intended on being a learning and experiment phase. I've really wanted to build a super energy efficient greenhouse to have green leafy vegetables as long as possible in the Winter. All good posts so far and I'm going to keep up on this thread and try to get the book Clyde mentioned. Must be the Eastern European peasant heritage in me that loves growing things and believes self suffiency is the natural human course.
    Gopherman likes this.
  14. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

  15. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep

    I have my greenhouse going already this year.I planted Kale, 2 Different types of collards, Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts and Broccoli. Down here in the deep south, its the only time you can grow green without the bugs eating your crops.
    The plants are already growing well in the raised beds inside but I haven't put plastic on yet.I will double the plastic
    I want to wait until the first freeze because of my Passion vine is still loaded down with fruit and flowers. I will cover the individual beds with plastic for the first few cold nights until I harvest the passion leaves and vines.
    My rail system will go in there as well. I have installed a Rocket Stove and sometime this month I will build the Cob bench.
    I'll post a video when I do. Its amazing how that thing works.I don't know how the really cold parts of the country do it but we have really mild winters down here.
    I am definitely a Sub-Tropical/ Tropical Person.
    P.S. my Moringa seeds are showing color!!
    kellory and Ganado like this.
  16. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep

    Got some winter crop pics and some Moringa progress report and tutelage, for my buddy!
    These are the Moringa seeds put them in a wet paper towel and then in a ziplock baggie for 5 days, 90% germination.
    survival Monkey Pics 001.JPG
    I planted them an 1" 1/2 deep in potting soil and mushroom compost then soaked them.
    survival Monkey Pics 002.JPG
    Red Cabbage and Georgia Collards. Small Romaine and Radicia for the Rail System, I'm too impatient to wait for the sprouts!
    survival Monkey Pics 005.JPG
    Curly top Kale and Cabbage.
    survival Monkey Pics 006.JPG
    Cabbage Collards and Georgia Collards. Passion Flower vines creeping in, over 100 open or pollinated flowers with new fruit showing.
    survival Monkey Pics 008.JPG

    survival Monkey Pics 009.JPG Sweet Pepper Plants that I put in the Sawdust mix. That was not good! I added Mushroom Compost and Black Cow composted manure and There doing great now! Peppers all over them.
    survival Monkey Pics 010.JPG Young Moringa Tree. I just topped it. The goal is to get it to grow like a bush by aggressively Pruning it. The leaves and seeds are what I'm after though all parts of this tree are edible and nutritious! Be Careful chickens know instictively this is a good plant to eat!
    survival Monkey Pics 004.JPG
    Ganado likes this.
  17. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    I'm watching you![campfire][marshmallow]
    Gopherman likes this.
  18. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep

    Your funny! [fnny]
    When my friend gave me the seeds I put 15 in some small seed starter trays and they sprouted the other day. I forgot I did that so when the popped out of the ground I had no Idea what they were. Yesterday I potted them all so including the 18 I just started I now have 15 out of the ground.
    Got my hands full this winter keeping them all alive. I will have to take them inside, I think.
    How are your seeds doing? Did you start them yet?
  19. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    Moringa still sprouting 3 more days in the wet towel, passion fruit planted so be about 8 more days on those
    Gopherman likes this.
  20. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep

    Already harvesting Kale and Collards once a week! It wasn't supposed to grow that fast. I might have to start another batch! Earthbricks 2 009.JPG
    Motomom34 and Ganado like this.
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