Hothouses

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by ho-hum, Jan 7, 2007.

  1. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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    Do any permies here have a hothouse/glasshouse?

    Always thought one would be an excellent idea for anywhere temperate and would stretch your growing season out for months.

    floot
     
  2. Susan

    Susan Junior Member

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    Hothouse

    Hi Floot'
    My partner and I have made a very simplified poly hot house on our north facing verandah. But hey, we live in the Blue Mountains and our climate is definately temperate altered by altitude, so if I even want cucumbers in summer I need to help them along.
    I have done some propagating in a wizz bang computer controlled hot house, but I am no expert. What did you want to know?
    Greenly
    Sue
     
  3. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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    Susan,

    I live really tropical. My 'raison' for bringing this up was that I believe this is a strategy that any permie south of the tropic of capricorn should employ. I have long wondered why it wasnt a permanent thread.

    cheers

    floot
     
  4. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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    Susan,

    Dont get me wrong. I was trying to get a discussion going on what I would see as a vital strategy. Again, I live in a REALLY tropical place. My reason for bringing it up was the strategy thing.

    floot

    PS.. Susan... where I live the soil temps are at 30c... :)
     
  5. Susan

    Susan Junior Member

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    Hot houses

    It's okay floot
    I did look at your profile before I replied and did wonder why you would need to ask
    When my was built I had a neat little booklet that gate me all the anglrs for the different Latitudes and Longitudes, I'll have to go to the Library and find it and report back to you.
    I am part of the Blue Mountains Permaculture Network with Rowe Morrow as our local guru, most of us seem to have either some sort of hot house or cold frame.
    Even in summer we have to make the most of microclimates. Then we do a lot of preserving of excess from summer, and without some form of would starve in winter otherwise.
    And we have access to a great Food Co-Op
    Greenly
    Sue
     
  6. seussrules

    seussrules Junior Member

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    Hello, I haven't been here for ages.... :)

    I used to live in the Blue Mountains (and, yes, the co-op is tops!), and have been living in Melbourne for four years. I have been experimenting with coldframes, permananent and moveable hothouse thingys for a while, in an effort to get my vegies - particularly tomatoes and eggplants) sufficiently advanced in the cooler months for a decent crop over summer. I am not very good at it all - things dry out, I forget to put them in and out and they cook or get frostbite etc :cry: . Still it is all important experimentation and I am learning. I now prefer to use moveable arrangements so that I can put them over plants 'in situ' in the garden. Then it's not a death-sentence if I forget to take them out of the hothouse of a day... :?
     
  7. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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    Susan,

    I suppose I was wondering why people didnt have a hothouse bolted to their front or back door and have it as a heat trap/plant room. I saw something on Holmgren's house which has the concept built in but it would be fun to have one and attach it to an existing structure.

    Having just visited Victoria I think I am suffering temperate climate envy.

    In the tropics we have a year round growing season which also means we have a year round pruning & weeding season too.... :(

    After about 12 days away I came home to a 'lawn' that was 3' high in places and I had to mow it twice... :( Glad I have never succumbed to the desire to fertilise it.. :shock:

    I have a redgum [e. camaldulensis] on my farm that in 3 years was about 6m and looking wonderful, now it is probably about 25m high and is gonna cost me serious dollars one day to do anything about it. I didnt think a redgum would grow straight up like a norfolk island pine. It doesnt seem to show any signs of stopping either.

    floot
     
  8. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Floot, where I am people often put glass "garden rooms" attached to their kitchens or family rooms, and those suckers get so hot and miserable in the summer, they have to spend a fortune on shades and fans to keep it cool, and plants can really suffer. And the winter sun doesn't provide much heat, at least for human purposes, so they need to be augmented with some other heating arrangment for winter.

    Susan, I found an old gardening book that had a plan for putting compost piles on three sides of a hothouse to augment the solar heat that may or may not be there in winter.

    I have mild winters, and have been experimenting this winter with a passive solar/composting greenhouse, not connected to my house, using concrete building blocks on the east and south side (North America), filled with 3/4" rock and painted black to absorb heat, stacked 3 feet high, so light gets to 18" plants. I've planted Stupice tomatoes because they are not fussy and can stand cool night temps.

    Along the opposite wall I put boards on the outside, a 2 foot wide strip of compost held up by chicken wire, so the heat will escape into the inside.

    I keep the compost pile wet, I don't allow rain to get in there, which cools things off. I can control the temperature of the water by holding it in black garbage cans out in the sun, rigged with fittings and a valve at the bottom, and a hose to water with.

    I mulch the plants with at least 4" of compost and crushed leaves. The ethylene that comes up off of this decaying plant matter is good for the plants. I stir the compost heap gently with a hoe maybe once a week. I don't need it to be 150 degrees, I only need it to be about 70-80 degrees, a slow pile, which is actually better for the quality of the compost. It lasts longer this way, doesn't require as much turning or adding to.

    It's midwinter on the coast of California now, Jan 12, and each tomato plant has two tomatoes on 18" high plants I planted a month ago. There aren't any troublesome bugs coming off of the compost, although I guess that would vary depending on where we are in the world. it was below freezing a few degrees for the few nights, and yet the tomatoes are fine, not dropping their flowers, which means they stayed above 40 degrees.

    The height of the structure is barely over my head, no point in heating space higher than I am. It's plastic that I cover at night with double layers of green plastic shade cloth, which I remove as soon as the sun gets on the structure. The structure is the shape of half of a greenhouse, with the back wall being straight up and down, and the roofline being a half an upside down U shape to the ground.

    The black painted blocks get hotter when exposed directly to the sun, rather than putting black or clear plastic between them and the sun.

    The tomatoes are growing slowly, but they are doing well. I think when it warms up they will be way farther ahead of their newly planted colleagues, but we'll see. So far I like this arrangement, it's not a lot of work, and not that much expense. :)
     
  9. Brandubh

    Brandubh Junior Member

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    greenhouse

    There was a wonderful greenhouse that someone built near Daylesford in victoria, there was article on it in Earth Garden magazine. It was built against a northern wall, had a slopeing roof which allowed sun in winter but not summer, and had a slopeing front wall, cross ventilation for cooling, thermal mass in the form of water filled drums supporting the potting bench. We are looking at one for the front of our house, and I was thinking that I could hook up some air conditioning duct to run into the house to steal the heat on the sunny but cold winter days

    Brandubh
     

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