greenhouse question

brookw_gwFebruary 21, 2014

I posted on here a while back that we're finally putting up a building. The original plan was to have an attached greenhouse on the south side. However, I haven't completely ruled out a free standing one that is close to the building either. What would you want--separate or attached?? To me, in terms of water, electric, heating, etc. an attached one makes more sense. Then again????

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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

How big and what is the purpose of the greenhouse?

In my mind's wonderful plan, I am going to build a building, 30 by 48ish to serve as a garage, walk in cooler, wash facility, and greenhouse to start plants and then grow plants in the winter. I am hoping to attach it, to get solar gain during the days and have fans or doors to the rest of the building to let that heat into and have a "warmer" shop to work in during the winter months. Then at night, I could fire up a wood stove to keep the greenhouse warm and the shop too. That is why I wanted to attach it to the building. We use to have an attached greenhouse at my high school and the doors to the greenhouse were always left open to the shop and it would stay warmer. That is where I got the idea from.

That is why I was going to attach a greenhouse, but I already have 6 other high tunnels.

Jay

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 5:09PM
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myfamilysfarm

I would have an attached one, at least a small one to get things started. You will have solar gain, and backup heat from regular part of building. Plus no walking between when it's raining.

Do the unattached later.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 6:58PM
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brookw_gw

The greenhouse will be used almost exclusively for starting plants, and I'm thinking 12 x 24. However, I may go the entire width of the building, which is 36 feet.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 12:45PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

I would say attach it and run the whole length of 36 feet. What is another 12 feet right? 3 more bows? That would give you room for over 100 more 1020 trays! If not, just added room. Build it as big as you can and then you will regret not making it bigger.

Are you going to build this yourself or buy some sort of kit? I my mind, I am building mine myself but I haven't figured it all out in my head. I am thinking I will have the builder of the building (of course still in the dreaming stages) install a 2 by 8 or 2 by 10 along the top of sidewall at about 12 to 15 feet to give me plenty of room to attach the bows to and plastic.

Jay

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 1:49PM
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brookw_gw

I can't find a kit for an attached that is that big. I'll be contacting a company, probably Farm Tech, to see if they can work with me to get what I need. I'm having someone else build the building and will just let them do this as well. I lack both time and skill to do it myself. My school year is extended as it is w/all the snow days we've had. I'm concerned that this project may get too big, but I simply cannot continue without it. Right now, I'm debt free, but I don't have the savings for it. I fear I will regret it if I wait and interest rates go up.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 2:09PM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

The only thing I would add is that unless the building is going to be well insulated, the greenhouse will lose much of its warmth due to the attachment (unless you heat the building).

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 3:53PM
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barrie2m_

There are no reasons given for not attaching so I'll throw a few your way. First is insurance and second is taxes. You better consider those before you construct.

Another point: a greenhouse built to make a profit never looks good attached to a house. Sure, you can add a solar room for $10,000+ and increase the value and appearance of your house but not so with a plastic covered arch setup, the kind that are contructed to get a full return on investment.

I would never attach one after experiencing a winter like were having now. Imagine where the snow load sliding off your house roof is headed for. Where will the snow lay sliding off of the greenhouse and where will the water run when it melts? Running water lines and underground wires is amateur work. Repairing cracked basement walls is for professionals.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 5:54PM
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myfamilysfarm

bmoser, I was a professional BUILDER for over forty-five years and I would rather fix the basement walls then buck the inspector driving by when he notices your building without a permit and don't have those licensed professionals on the whole job.
But, Brookw was only talking about a building not a house and in my professional opinion there is a considerable difference
Brook I do believe a talk to your insurance rep might solve the problem if your rate is higher for the attached buildings then unattached. Myself, it would be easier for a starter greenhouse to be attached and insulating a building is cost effective for any need. The need of working on equipment in the off season in an unheated space is not as easy as a little insulation and heat. Years of experience have taught me that since I probably worked more outside than inside most off my life

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 8:24PM
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myfamilysfarm

Sorry to come off so hard but it ticks me off when people think anyone can be an electrician or a plumber, In Indiana as long as we check about permits, anyone can build a basement, but we paid a lot of money to be licensed and bonded in order to be able to do plumbing and electrical work. When my brother stopped his plumbing license he had to hire a plumber for the work. Talk about a lawyers pay a plumber is up there also. I don't usually rant on here but sometimes I just git upset about someones statement.
James

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 8:47PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

I always thing a picture helps. Is this what you are thinking about?

I am hoping my building is taller than this and I would hope the there would be more curve in the bows. But the basic idea.

James, everyone can be a contractor (in their own head)!

Bmoser: A agree with your assessment on snow. I don't think it would be a problem for me, but who knows for some yes it would be.

Jay

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 11:08PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Here are some more links to get you thinking, either way I don't care, I just need a break from grading papers!

http://www.growingheartfarm.com/tag/greenhouse/

Very nice greenhouse attached to a house.

http://www.floydcountyinview.com/homesteading101/greenhouses/buildinggreenhouses2.html

Lists some benefits, including some passive heat ideas. wondered if you could run black plastic pipe along the top of the wall and have it full of water/antifreeze and a little circulating pump to take that water into the building and heat the concrete floor with it? Just an idea. Might cost more to set it up, but if you had the pipe in the floor and the black pipe in the greenhouse didn't work, you could always heat it with another method.

Or you could go all out with this one.
http://www.greenhousenation.com/atlas-franco-12x24-leanto-greenhouse-p-566.html

DIY Alert, Cattle Panel Leanto Greenhouse!
http://followpics.net/attached-lean-to-shed-made-out-of-cattle-panels-use-as-storage-or-extra-greenhouse/

Ok, I am done, back to work.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 11:33PM
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rustico_2009

I'd like to turn a window in my office into a door that goes to a lean- to greenhouse over my existing heated seed tables. Potentially getting my insurance cancelled and/or being hit for code violations is definitely stopping me....Getting it all to code would cost a small fortune, or about the price of 7 professional no permit required high tunnels( money which I also won't be spending any time soon), the property taxes taxes would go up for eternity....snow is not a problem : ).

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 12:46AM
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barrie2m_

Sorry Jay but I just look at your pic and see the snow sliding off of the roof and collapsing the arches. I bought arches (most severely bent) from a local landscape store who had a similar setup. Our Ag newspaper noted numerous Ag building collapses over the past few weeks.

Laws concerning greenhouses vary from state to state. Ours just exempted High Tunnels from being subject although I never had issue until I wanted to erect a shed. I'm almost certain that anything attached to any building would be suspect.

James, I see your point but my water lines are simply garden hoses attached to a hydrant that I blow empty each fall to keep from freezing. The lines are buried about as deep as my satelite TV cable. I sympathize with you on the plumber fees since I rely on a well for all of my water.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 9:29AM
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myfamilysfarm

Mr. Moser, Jay is much further south than you are. Yes as Jay said, he would like the walls steeper, than was just an example of a lean to greenhouse.

Brookw, do you know some contractors that you would do a trade with? Or a retired one that has kept the necessary requirements for IL.

If it's meant to be, it will. Sometimes the harder something is to get, the better it will be for you.

Marla

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 9:40AM
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randy41_1

the thing that's wrong in the picture jay posted is that the greenhouse should be attached to the building on a gable end not right under the overhang.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 11:12AM
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myfamilysfarm

The higher the better for those of us that are concerned with snow load. That one shown probably isn't for us. The first one that we did was an attached. We came out directing from the 'house (mobile home)' wall, then down for side walls, and didn't have any problems with snow load.

Marla

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 12:41PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Yes this isn't mine just a goggle image. The pitch of the roof needs to be steeper for snow.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 12:50PM
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brookw_gw

Thanks for all your help. It's easy to second guess yourself sometimes. I always thought I wanted the greenhouse attached and will stick to that. This will probably be the last big project of my life, so I want to do it right. As for taxes, insurance, etc., I've checked and there are no problems there. I'm currently seeking estimates from at least 3 different builders. Snow, I don't think, will be an issue. I also want poly, not plastic. While my current plans don't require a greenhouse the entire width of the building, I'll probably go that route too because things always seem to grow once you get into them and you can never have too much storage. I'm also constructing the building in a manner that we could easily make it a place to live permanently if we so desired.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 4:00PM
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myfamilysfarm

Brookw, go as wide and long as possible, because you will find things to go into it.

Once you retire, you might enjoy living there.

Marla

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 4:14PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

Hubby built a small 4 ft. one outside the living room window one year. It was nice to open up the LR windows in the winter and get the warm earthy smell here. It was on the back of the house. We live in the middle of nowhere so I'm sure nobody saw it but us.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 4:22PM
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randy41_1

i've been looking at this one for a while now. not real sure of the quality or longevity. it looks nice.

Here is a link that might be useful: lean to greenhouse

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 5:22PM
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napapen(ca 15)

I would be worried about what the water and other things used in the greenhouse would do to the exterior of the house.

Penny

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 7:41PM
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northwoodswis4

We put a metal roof on our home in northern Wisconsin. A year or two later we had a winter of heavy snow. We ended up with a 9" layer of solid ice that finally slid down in a huge sheet. It bent the wrought iron porch railings below when it landed, and left slippery slabs across the lawn such that we could hardly get out of our house. It would have totally obliterated any hoop house. Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 3:48PM
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myfamilysfarm

Actually, I my personal opinion the flatter house/barn roof holds the snow so none slides off, and with a steeper pitch on the greenhouse roof the snow will slide off faster. The greenhouse Marla mentioned only lasted two or three years and we used construction plastic replacing every year, Then our son brought home a scrap of real plastic from his landscape job so we used a ten by twenty canopy for the next few years, until we found our present ones we made out of a bent twenty by ninety five. in the next couple of years we will decide if we will be continuing or selling them along with the twenty by twenty-five we never have put up.
But the first is only my opinion.
james

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 2:29PM
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brookw_gw

I'm really not worried about snow. Snow from the roof of the building will slide in the complete opposite direction of the greenhouse. One last question though. My builder called and asked if I wanted concrete for the floor of the greenhouse. I don't see the need. I had planned on gravel. Am I missing something, or would it be better to have concrete? Regardless, I don't think it's in the budget but might be something to consider later.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 2:02PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Why not just have a stand alone greenhouse and insulate the north wall? That is all a house is doing (insulating the north wall...providing heat, but at a cost to your homes furnace).

The Chinese use huge earth berms to the north and just expose the south face.

This uses a well insulated north wall...

They even show you how to build it:
link

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 2:20PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Franktank, That looks very nice and probably would work just fine for what I would want to do. Thanks for sharing.

Do you have something like this?

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 3:16PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

jr-

No. I'm still in the planning stages. I'm thinking that one might be an overkill for me, but who knows. I might just build something simple to begin with ... I'm thinking of going with this design:

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 3:21PM
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myfamilysfarm

Brookw, If you get concrete, then you will need drains, and that's an added cost.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 7:37PM
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randy41_1

i have a small juliana greenhouse. i used gravel for the floor and it works well. if you use concrete and its built to drain correctly, you could use radiant floor heating to heat it. the concrete mass will also hold heat overnight better than gravel.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 7:57PM
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sundacks(4a)

Here's a greenhouse that we built last summer. It's bermed into a hill with insulated walls anywhere there is not plastic. (It now has plastic endwalls.) Have not gotten to use it this spring, as the night temps are still predicted to go below 0 degrees F this week.

I hope to minimize the heating needs by adding water tanks for thermal mass, and I just bought some reflectix bubble wrap to try to keep the heat from radiating out. I've got a high/low thermometer inside so I will start trying out some ideas, just as soon as we dig it out after the storm we're having. (14" predicted.)

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 8:39AM
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