Greenhouse Build – Getting Started!

Hydroponic GreenhouseI mentioned in the first post that we decided to build a green house to put the rail system and others into. This will be great for several reasons. First once complete it will hopefully keep most of the bugs and pests away from the plants. Already I have seen evidence of something munching on the leaves and I really would like to stay away from any pesticides if I can, even organic natural ones. Second it will shelter the plants from strong winds when they are still babies, it will also shelter from rain which can dilute the nutrient solution and mess with PH. Also it will allow us to grow plants year round, keeping them nice and warm and protected during the winter months.Hydroponic Greenhouse Build

I looked around online trying to decide to buil my own or buy a kit. Most kits for anything decent size started at $700 (and that was an 8’x10′) and sky-rocketed to over $1500. So building my own then…

Well to win the wife over on it it couldn’t just be a box, it had to have some character and look nice. I finally found a plan online for a barn-style green house that I could do some modifications to to make it work for us, first one was making it a bit longer.The Original plans were done so you had minimal cutting of siding material making it 10’x12′, using 12′ long siding and roofing panels. I made ours 16′ long instead and just used two 8′ panels, but opted to keep the width the same so I didn’t have to do a lot of math to re-engineering the roof trusses.Hydroponic Greenhouse Build

After a lot of repetitive cutting, then a lot of repetitive hammering the frame went up rather quickly. Having an air compressor and framing nailer helps in that department greatly 🙂 After getting the framing up I went ahead and moved in the rail system as well as a NFT system I just finished for my leafy green plants (already had lettuce seedlings waiting) and have been building the rest around them.

Siding and Roofing the Green House

Hydroponic Green House SidingAfter the framing things slowed down a little, with money being a little tight and the panels costing $22 each I could only do a little bit at a time. You could use a greenhouse rated roll plastic if you wished, its fairly cheap in comparison, but it would be a little more difficult to put up and then it doesn’t last as long and you end up replacing it every year or two if you are lucky. I choose to use corrugated poloycarbonate clear panels which run the $22 a panel, but the are virtually unbreakable and is warranted for 10 years. You can get the panels in clear PVC for $5 less but they will only last 3-5 years (and one at Lowes was already yellowing) not worth the initial savings to me.

Greenhouse HydroponicsAnother Place I could have saved in hindsight was with the panel closures. These are strips that conform to the shape of the panels and you attach to the supports under them. They come in wood 8′ strips, which to me you had to attach all at first and carefully t0 be sure all the ridges lined up, Im a bit lazy for that. Next they have them in plastic 4′ strips, a little easier I supp0se you could put them in as needed as you are putting up the panels but at times you would have to cut and line up again perfectly. I went with 3′ foam strips, very easy to install as you are putting the panels up and they bend and conform to angles you need (plus they were the cheapest per foot). The hindsight is that they are not really needed here, maybe for the very ends and splice points. But I saw them on the plans and I got them 🙁 At $9 for 15 linear feet I could have paid for a couple panels instead.

What’s Next

Well I still have lots to do to get it completed to be completely functional…

  • Finish clear panels
  • Wood side panels
  • Windows and Door
  • Power

Of course being a bit OCD I can’t stop there as I have many plans in the works to improve and make green house hydroponics as easy as I can.

  • Soloar Power – Been researching how to build a solar panel system that will provide power to the greenhouse, taking it off the grid! (estimate about $4-500 now)
  • Central Air Pump – Reservoirs need air pumps to provide oxygen into the water and to mix things up. Having at least 3 reservoirs and de-chlor tanks it would get pricey to have a separate pump on each.
  • Reservoir Top Off System – Especially in the Summer months you need to check your tanks often and top off the water that has been sucked up or evaporated. I plan on having a large barrel of PH treated water attached to each tank with float valves 🙂
  • Water Storage – A lot of hydroponic growers use RO water, but I find that it is expensive and wastes alot of water, something I cant afford. So I plan to have several barrels with a simple sediment/charcoal filter attached to fill them with. Then these will be airiated for natural de-chlorination, ready to use for top offs and nute changes.

So time to go raid the coin jar to see if I can get some more material 🙂 Till next time!

Comments

  1. Brendan says:

    Hey Jeff, I’ve been planning on building my own greenhouse and hydro system for a year now, but a) don’t (didnt) know jack about hydro, and b) couldn’t decide how best to build the greenhouse. I absolutely love what you’ve done, and wonder if you can point me to the plans you used to build your greenhouse, and possibly plans for your hydro system! I understand the proprietary nature pf tpur rail system and the enormous amount of effort it’s taken you to put this system together, so I understand if you can’t provide! Thanks in advance!

    Happy growing!
    Brendan

    • You still in San Diego? You are welcome to come by anytime to check it out and get a crash course.

  2. Brendan says:

    Never mind. Found the how-to’s on the towers and rails.. My bad. :/

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  1. […] again. Have made lots of progress on the green house and its up and running. Since last post ‘GreenhouseBuild – Getting Started‘ I have completed the […]

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