Making a greenhouse with 2 cattle panels joined end to end?

jimigunne(9A)August 27, 2012

I currently have a cattle panel greenhouse made from four cattle panels. They are the std 16 ft. by abt 50 inch size.

This yielded a greenhouse almost 7 ft. wide and just over 6 ft. high. (for simplicity/low cost, the ends of the panels are sitting directly on the ground). I need something much larger, and I have a MIG welder machine. So I am thinking I could weld two cattle panels short end-to-short end, so I have 32 ft. long panels. By joining up five of these double-panel arches, I could build a greenhouse that is 20 ft. wide and 20 ft. long....400 sq. ft.! The high point of ceiling is abt 10.5 ft.! I didn't believe it, but I cut two pieces of heavy wire, one 16 in., and the other 32 in. long, bent both into an arch, and this is the result. I could put in an aquaponics system large enough to feed a small family. One possible problem is that with a 10 ft. height, I think it will catch more wind (although the sides would have much more slope), and get knocked around a lot more in high gusts. So I'd probably have to put in a couple of 4 in. wood posts near each end and wire the tops to the peak of the ceiling to stabilize it. Anyone tried doubling cattle panels like this? Could it work? Seems like a cheap, cheap way to build a 400 sq. ft. greenhouse!

One problem with the greenhouse: In the summer it is regularly over 100 deg., and the greenhouse has no shade. The film is a quality 6 mil film, 90% transmission, from Farm-Tek. I had to put in a 20 in. high-velocity fan sucking air in from the vent window on the back end of the greenhouse....this keeps you from getting a heat stroke in 5 minutes, but it is still way too hot for any seedlings to germinate, and many plants to grow. Its way too hot in the summer, and in the winter it re-radiates the daytime heat back out in no time after the sun goes down! How to deal with would be the same situation with a much larger greenhouse, I guess. It is incredible how it traps solar heat during the day!

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You need roll-up sides to vent the heat. I'd also be extra careful about any rough edges of the metal rubbing against your poly. White duct tape is very useful for covering rough spots.

To make it stronger, I'd want the corner posts set in concrete, a 2x6 frame around the base and also at least one purlin bar at the top running long-ways that each double panel would wrap over. I'd probably also brace the middle of each end with at least a 2x4 post as well.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 12:30AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I've used those cattle panels for fencing and it's about the last thing I'd consider for a greenhouse frame. Rub through on the poly and lack of strength are just the first two issues I see. I'd think heavy duty PVC tubing would be cheaper, smoother, and stronger but not nearly as good as a steel frame. Think about how many years of service each type frame will provide vs cost.

That said why do you need a greenhouse in zone 9A? Just for rain or winter freeze protection? Because that's the only advantage I can see.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 11:39AM
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Sounds like a good idea for a quick inexpensive GH. Can you post a pic? I would like to see what you have done.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 11:06AM
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