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Greenhouse Goals:

So, some of you know I've been working on a new greenhouse all summer.

I hate how long it has taken me, but with only 1 laborer (me) and only one day a week to work, it takes what it takes. The schedule is not helped by my lofty goals either.

If any of you were wondering, it is my intent to use this new production house to generate as many healthy plants as I can manage by myself. I also plan to host clinics there on topics such as hydroponics, layering, starting seeds, greenhouse management, vegetable gardening and anything else I can dream up. I am excited about all the possibilities and looking forward to completing it.

However, it is still a long way from being 100% and the onset of winter 2021 is now less than 2 weeks away. So, expensive and permanent systems are being postponed for cheaper, temporary measures to maintain temperatures and humidity levels. My electric pole is probably not going to happen for another six months and in the meantime I must make due with only 15 amps of available power. I enjoy those kind of challenges though.

I am posting a picture below of a digital model to illustrate the layout and dimensions of what I'm dubbing the"Lean, Green, Rootin' Machine".

The structure is treated lumber with columns on 8' centers. The North wall and South wall have different functions. The North wall is insulated and divided into six segments that each have a distinct function.

Starting from the bearded dude on the left:

1) This section is where my avocado tree is planted next to my Night Blooming Jessamine. They will live inside the house and provide me with fruit and cuttings for propagation.

2) The next section is the wormery where I have a 3' x 8' x 18" deep raised bed for vermicomposting and breeding. The white device above this bed is one of two planned AC units providing 12,000 btus of cooling when the temps exceed 90 F.

3) The third section is a hydroponic growing bed for leafy greens and hanging baskets of tomatoes and peppers. There is a nutrient tank below that may eventually contain fish for aquaponics.

4) The fourth section is a circulation space where the North door is located and the wood burning stove sits on an insulated slab of concrete 6" thick. This stove is currently in place and provides supplemental heat at night.

5) The fifth section is where I spend most of my time. This bench currently has 13 five gallon containers that can hold 35 cuttings each over aerated water. This system can generate roots faster than any other rooting method I have tried. I am planning to double the capacity of this bench before February by adding additional bins on a heated slab below the bench.

6) The six section of the North wall contains a five tiered shelving unit with chemicals, tools, and the occasional tray of succulents. There is also a door heading east to my main potting bench.

The East wall has a large swamp cooler built into it. It will eventually be where the water supply enters the building also. I will not add that until the Spring when I am sure it will not freeze.

The South wall is the most exciting feature of the whole plan. Currently, I am prepped to install a heating cable inside a 3" concrete slab that extends for the full 48' length of the greenhouse. This concrete bench will be temperature controlled so that I can bottom-heat 170 flats of seedlings simultaneously! There will be wicking fabric placed on top of the concrete bench and fed from a centrally located water basin that will ensure every seedling gets the water it needs without a sprayer and the potential for fungus that comes from water sitting on leaves. Next year, my goal for this South wall is to duplicate the heated concrete bench on the ground below it and thus double my capacity to 340 flats by the Spring of 2023.

I'm still working on timers, and sequencing, and trying to start plants for Spring 2022 and the sunlight fails me about 4:30pm these days. Pressing on!

Anyway, I thought some of you might be interested in what this greenhouse could mean for the club.

Thanks for reading, and dream big!

~ Steve

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I'm fair with a hammer and have 30 years experience as an electrician. Oh, and I'm retired. That is, if you need help........Chris

Dec 09, 2021
Replying to

Thank you, Chris!

The framing is completed and some of the components are already working in a limited capacity due to only having 15 amps. But early Summer next year I am adding a 200amp 240V service and I would love it if we could work together on wiring the greenhouse up. I will certainly be in touch. Thank you for the generous offer! ~ Steve

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