edmolina

Eddie's Greenhouse Build

66 posts in this topic

Been considering the SHCS in my new 24 x 24 lean-to greenhouse (just a concrete stem wall right now) and came across your project. 

Any updates on the earth loop, have you fired it up to see what kind of temp/humidity change it makes?

 

The link @ www.sunnyjohn.com for the SHCS calculator is to a dead website.....really was hoping to get some decent calcs to go with the rule of thumb of 6' lineal feet of 4" tubing per 4 ft2.

 

Keep us posted Mr Ed, great looking frame and layout.....!

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Thanks mhaigh! I still haven't received the glazing material - ordered over a month ago and there was no indication of back-order, so not sure what the delay is. I'll have to follow up again...

 

I'll start posting results once I have the system going.

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So, I am in process of getting 'official' permission to install my GH. My neighbor complained to the village hall that I did not have a building permit (same neighbor that complained about my chickens some years ago which started a whole process of me fighting the village), forcing the building inspector to follow up. Apparently, the structure requires a permit and certain setbacks, even though there is no permanent foundation. Since I am 1.8' closer to the property line and 12' closer to my house than is allowed by the code, I will now have to request a variance and go through that process, potentially including a public hearing.

 

Cost will be $200 ($50 for the permit and $150 for the variance application). This is an unnecessary pain due to someone who sees it fit to get in everyone's business, as well as, overly restrictive village codes. Nonetheless, I will prevail and get my official 'ok' after a few months of meetings/presentations.

 

On a more positive note, I finally received the glazing material yesterday and will be able to continue on as soon as my work schedule allows.

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Greetings all - overdue for an update. Just need to add the lower venting panels, door and window and complete plant starts/transplants.

post-2252-0-05527700-1409486126_thumb.jppost-2252-0-30865300-1409486154_thumb.jp

Cucumber and cherry tomato clone doing well.

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Seedling shelves and sump tank.

post-2252-0-24321500-1409486247_thumb.jp

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Ed,

Looking good!

I guess you made it thru the variance process without too much blood..?

Keep us posted on the SHCS, I am about to start digging in my greenhouse.

BTW, Jeremiah with Cold Weather Aquaponics found this calculator https://web.archive.org/web/20120103180312/http://numsum.com/spreadsheet/show_plain/4681. (I haven't worked thru it yet...too many variables in my layout still)

Would love to see some detail on your MBBR layout.

(Allied Aqua has really well priced media for a MBBR..and it's on sale now)

Thanks.....mh

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Thanks MH. Have barely started the variance process, but there was no order to cease and desist so I can continue with my build while I sort out the particulars.

 

My MBBR is simply a 55 Gal barrel with inflow elbowed up in the center to create some movement of the media. The pump is at the bottom and flows directly to the FT. There are two filters ahead of this - RFF and sedimentation tank, with some matala filter to capture any floating solids and provide additional bio-filtration. Note that this is a separate system from the GH setup, which is more of a hydroponics setup partially fed with fish water.

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Here's my new greenhouse pet. Found him near the greenhouse a few days ago and relocated him inside.

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Hi Eddie,

 

Thanks for your continued updates.  The DIY greenhouse project has been an interesting one from the outset.

 

I can't help feeling that a quiet chat between the interested parties and the village hall ought to be able to resolve this sort of issue without cost or too much bloodshed.   No-one is opposed to the idea of people who don't want their property turned into a slum but nor should be people be prevented from undertaking harmless activity which brings no detriment to anyone.

 

Good luck with the planning variance process. 

 

 

Gary

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Thanks Gary.

 

I don't expect much opposition in getting this approved, just unnecessary expense and effort. I'll post some more updates soon, including greenhouse performance once I start tracking temps.

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Very nice project...

 

Your solexx install looks great.  I myself used Solexx on my lean-to.  Hard for me to believe some peoples neighbors man!  I wonder what has that fella so down he feels the need to poke his head over the fence to try and bring ya down like that?

 

Dunno... but the carpentry work looks great, this structure certainly is not an eye sore so you have that going for you... How's the SHCS working in these cooler months?

Edited by John Urstadt (see edit history)

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Thanks John. Agree with you on the neighbors - don't get it either. I had my first appearance before the zoning board yesterday and it went pretty well. They almost approved my variance request on the spot, but then decided to wait for the public hearing next month.

 

As far as the SCHS, I don't have enough data to report back yet. I just sealed up the greenhouse last week, installing the window vent covers, and I put plastic over the floor vents until I complete that installation. The solexx is a pretty remarkable material - diffuses light very well, and has excellent insulating properties. I purchased a remote thermometer/hygrometer to track greenhouse/outdoor min's/max's and get a handle on how effective the greenhouse is. I'll report results as I start to record them.

 

Here are some recent pictures...

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Plants look great. Been reading the whole thread, tons of info.  I'm curious about how you're running your wicking bed.  Are you doing continuous flow? Are you using a capilary mat or what are you using as the wick/medium?   Thanks.

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Thanks AC. Cucumber plants have been hit hard by powdery mildew, but are still pushing out more cuc's than we can eat. Tomato plants have been hit by afids, but some DE took care of that, and are looking pretty decent otherwise.

 

The system is subsurface flow on a timer as follows:

  • Sump pumps 1/2 hour on/1.5 hours off during the daylight hours, and is off overnight
  • Water goes from sump and splits to DWC and to wicking bed
  • DWC overflows to hydroton bed, which has a drainage standpipe that maintains 2" of water (hydroton bed is 14" deep)
  • Wicking bed maintains about 1.5" of water in a similar manner to the hydroton bed
  • Media in wicking bed is a combination of ProMix (major component), castings, compost, greensand, lime and soil
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Thanks AC. Cucumber plants have been hit hard by powdery mildew, but are still pushing out more cuc's than we can eat. Tomato plants have been hit by afids, but some DE took care of that, and are looking pretty decent otherwise.

 

The system is subsurface flow on a timer as follows:

  • Sump pumps 1/2 hour on/1.5 hours off during the daylight hours, and is off overnight
  • Water goes from sump and splits to DWC and to wicking bed
  • DWC overflows to hydroton bed, which has a drainage standpipe that maintains 2" of water (hydroton bed is 14" deep)
  • Wicking bed maintains about 1.5" of water in a similar manner to the hydroton bed
  • Media in wicking bed is a combination of ProMix (major component), castings, compost, greensand, lime and soil

 

Awesome. Thanks for the info. Really interested in getting a wicking system set up for a couple of root crops. I'm surprised from what I've read that you don't have a layer of inorganic media on the bottom where that 1.5" of water is like hydroton, gravel/river rock, or even a corrugated drain pipe. Do you have any issues with over saturation? I didn't see anything in the picture other than the grow bed and what looked like a central drain.

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AC, I just wasn't clear with my explanation; I do have corrugated drainage pipe under the wicking media, and the two are separated by shade cloth. The inlet is at one corner and the outlet drain is at the opposite end; what you noticed is a toilet flange that was sitting in the bed (not installed) before I had set this up.

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AC, I just wasn't clear with my explanation; I do have corrugated drainage pipe under the wicking media, and the two are separated by shade cloth. The inlet is at one corner and the outlet drain is at the opposite end; what you noticed is a toilet flange that was sitting in the bed (not installed) before I had set this up.

Thanks for clearing that up. Always interested in what other people have going on. 

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Hello all,

 

Just wanted to provide an update on results. I've been monitoring temps/humidity and for the weekend ending this Sunday the 26th, here's what I had:

 

Outside:

  • High temp - 75F
  • Low temp - 41F
  • High humidity - 99%
  • Low humidity - 39%

 

Greenhouse:

  • High temp - 91F
  • Low temp - 45F
  • High humidity - 99%
  • Low humidity - 58%

 

I'm having some challenges in controlling humidity, which is ok during the day, but jumps as soon as it cools - trying to find the balance between venting enough to dissipate humidity and keeping heat in (one of the heat exchangers that yahoo mentioned would sure be nice). Most plants seem fine, but cucumbers have been hit hard by powdery mildew. Additionally, daytime temps are nice and high, but drop more than I expected at night. I'm not sure if this is because I didn't start the SCHS until recently and therefore didn't have time to raise the ground temp sufficiently, but I'm only staying 5F-10F above lows overnight.

 

I'm considering using a dehumidifier overnight, which would also add heat, but am reluctant to add anything that will increase my energy usage.

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Update on metrics for week ending 11/02/2014:

 

Outside:

  • Temp high/low - 71F/38F
  • Humidity high/low - 98%/45%

 

Greenhouse:

  • Temp high/low - 93F/39F
  • Humidity high/low - 99%/55%
  • Soil temp - 60F
Edited by edmolina (see edit history)

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Is the high humidity mainly at night when the greenhouse air temp drops below the water temp? 

 

Increase air exchanges with your SCHS might help.  How many air exchanges an hour are you doing with the fan.

 

Have you managed to seal off air infiltration.  The temps are falling too much. In my plastic covered greenhouse, the air temps routinely stay 10F above outside temps as far as lows goes.  I do have a large thermal mass in there though.

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Ravnis,

 

The high humidity is mainly at night, unless the outside humidity is high as well. The fan is rated 100CFM, thereby completing approximately six air exchanges per hour. I sized it according to the recommendations on Sunny John's site.

 

I believe that I don't have much air infiltration, but I will have to double check. How big is your greenhouse? Perhaps the small size of mine, combined with the fact that I didn't get to raise the temp of the solar mass prior to fall is playing into the drop in air temps?

Edited by edmolina (see edit history)

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Its 768 sq ft or 32' x 24'.       The delay in getting It setup could well be a factor, but if soil temp is staying 60F and air temp is matching  indoor/outdoor it makes me wonder if there is an air leak somewhere.     A candle near the joints might give you a clue.   It also makes a huge difference as to how long your staying at the lows such as 5 hours at 39F vs 1 hour at 39F.  

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Mine is 8'x16' so size is probably a factor. Great idea about the candle, and I'll pay closer attention to how quickly the indoor temp changes. Thanks.

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Happy to report that my variance request was approved after the public hearing on Thursday. I was shocked that my neighbors actually showed up and complained vociferously about the structure, claiming that it was an eyesore, and that it could potentially lower their property value. They seemed to have no real answer as to why they hadn't expressed any concerns to me as any point leading up to this, but instead claimed that they expected the building permit process to slow me down more and give them more time for input.

 

So, after $350 for the variance and permit process, and the end of a cordial relationship with duplicitous neighbors, I'm in the clear. Unfortunate that it had to go this way, but at least there are no longer any pretenses since they have revealed their true colors.

ande likes this

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