Greenhouse Project

After extensive research I decided to design and build my own greenhouse to let me grow some crops out of season and get summer crops a few weeks early.

The plan was to build this from materials already on hand as far as possible. 6m lengths of 35mm structural pipe have been laying around for several years so four of these made the main frames using a pipe bender to form the basic outline. These were drilled and painted after bending to make the timber rail attachments easier.

The frame is up and tentatively held with a couple of treated timber purlins for the photo. It scissored soon after and Tom and I had to straighten it back up and fix on some more timbers to make it a bit more rigid.

The frame is up and tentatively held with a couple of treated timber purlins for the photo. It scissored soon after and Tom and I had to straighten it back up and fix on some more timbers to make it a bit more rigid.

We got to this stage after beginning work on the project on 26-12-12 and the remainder of the project (sorry no progress pics) took most of January. We still had to work five and a half days a week so work was done in the evenings when not too hot and on the weekends. It was slow progress but looks good now it is finished.

I used recycled treated pine from the racks out of the Maitland Shop and painted them with Solver Duraguard Satin to prevent leaching of any chemicals yet keep the termites at bay. Hoop iron strips were used extensively to make the structure more rigid and that was very effective.

Inside the completed hothouse. Dimensions are 6m high x 2.7m wide and 2.4m high.

Inside the completed hothouse. Dimensions are 6m high x 2.7m wide and 2.4m high.

The covering was purchased from Snow’s Peninsula Nursery and is 6mil Glasshouse Poly sheeting made for this purpose. It is important that you have the sheeting facing the correct way, one side to face the sun and the other the soil or inwards. Lifespan is expected to be around 7 years. The plastic has an interesting characteristic related to temperature. I pulled it as tight as possible (with the help of Phillip and Tom) but during the next few hottest days it loosened up. However,in the morning it was as tight as a drum. Temperature affects it a great deal so in winter it should be pretty tight.

The completed hothouse from the Northeast side.

The completed hothouse from the Northwest side.

The door detail is clearly shown here. I made split doors because I want to be able to vent the house on the hottest days without the chooks walking in as they range around the rock block.

The door detail is clearly shown here. I made split doors because I want to be able to vent the house on the hottest days without the chooks walking in as they range around the rock block.

Operation of the split doors is managed by a single pin dropping from the top door into the bottom half and works nicely. Hinges are stainless steel as are the screws.

Operation of the split doors is managed by a single pin dropping from the top door into the bottom half and works nicely. Hinges are stainless steel as are the screws.

Although stainless steel is great for not rusting it is certainly much softer than normal steel screws so you need to drill pilot holes first or the heads will strip off the screws, especially if using power drivers.

There is still the matter of installing benches etc but that can happen over time as needed and when I get a better feel for the cycles of the hothouse. Seeds will be planted in March after the Tasmania trip.

 

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