Greenhouse/turtle house ideas

nomadh(10-11/so cal)October 11, 2004

I'm looking for some good ideas and I'm hoping some of the very creative minds here can help me. I need to protect a few plants and a small pond over the winter but I'm tired of the energy costs. On top of that my wife has a few turtles and one big one needs heat in the winter. I'm open to all ideas but I do have a preference to use some raw materials I already have. I have some plexiglass sheets and an old "A frame" swingset. I though I could use them to make a small greenhouse. What I also have is a horse and all the poop that goes with him. Has anyone used manure to heat a greenhouse before without making it a deadly smelling fly house? Also any good ideas how to attach the plastic panels to the steel frame? I'm thinking some type of channels screwed to the A frame that hold the plastic panels in place. If the composting manure is next to the GH does that help enough.

Thanks for any help. My wife wants to hook up the heatlamps for the turtle soon.

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paul_(z5 MI)

Hmmm, out of curiousity, what kind of turtle is it that it needs additional heat over the winter? I take it that it is not a native species?

A cautionary note: small green houses tend to build up heat rapidly. In no time at all, unless you have it set up to vent off the heat once a certain temp is reached, a small greenhouse can quickly reach temps that will be lethal to her turtles.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2004 at 9:51AM
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birdgardner(NJ/ 6b)

The old way of making hot beds was to dig a pit maybe three feet deep, fill with two feet of manure and top with a foot of soil. then cover that with a frame.

I knew someone who kept finding turtle skeletons in his compost pile - they would crawl in there to hibernate and get cooked.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2004 at 7:01PM
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nomadh(10-11/so cal)

I figured if it got too hot they would just stay near the side. I guess it makes sense, they can do dumb things. Apearently they think if they can get their head through an opening that their body will fit also. Hows that for an out of whack body self image:) I was thinking of letting only a side or 2 of his house be heated so he doesn't get cooked.
So birdgardner, will that hotbed also stinkup the greenhouse and does it need to use the whole floor?
Thanks, Damon

    Bookmark   October 18, 2004 at 12:06PM
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turtles go dormant in the winter just like plants do.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2005 at 1:15AM
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nomadh(10-11/so cal)

Actually he is an african tortise and getting near 60 lbs. He will be getting over 200 lbs over the next several years. Eventually I may not need to ever mow my bermuda grass with him around. He doesn't hibernate and when we tried an unheated house he caught a cold and had a snotty nose and was wheezing. I found a mother earth news solar regulating greenhouse design that looks good. It seems that most of the greenhouses use a fortune in energy heating during the winter and then nearly as much in the summer cooling. Its nuts. Any one here ever make a passive solar greenhouse? I've been collecting old windows for a year now.
Thanks, Damon
PS I may be heating parakeets now also.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 12:33PM
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