Greenhouse on east side of house?

stevation(z5a Utah)March 12, 2012

Hello friends! I'll be moving my small greenhouse to my new house soon, and the place that makes the most sense in terms of space is next to an east-facing wall in the backyard. It will get half-day sun. Is that good enough? I'm actually hoping that location will also avoid the need for shade fabric, by avoiding the hot afternoon sun, because we live in an HOA that is particular about unsightly structures where neighbors can see them, and all of our backyards are open with no fencing.

What do you think? Will I get enough sun for starting plants?

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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

I'll be interested to see what other people think, Steve, but I think an eastern exposure will be very close to perfect, especially with your high altitude sun intensity. I suspect something on the south or west side would be insufferably hot--even with shading. I would think you'd have enough sun to effectively start most things and if you should wind up with a few things that start to stretch a little, you could always temporarily hang a shop light to add a couple hours of "sun" each day to help them. If you ever do get around to doing the added light thing, I recommend plain old cool white bulbs which can be set just a couple inches above the plants, and won't hurt them even if they wind up touching the bulbs. (That's all true for any fluorescent bulbs, but cool white is what I used to use and I always had great luck growing things--all kinds of things--with it!)

Are you all moved in and getting settled by now? I know you guys spend a lot of time traveling back and forth, but when your Better Half has time, please invite her to come join us when she can.

So glad to have you back, and looking forward to when you start posting pics of you New Project!


    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 11:28PM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

Awesome! Yeah, I'm hoping this spot will be perfect for it. We moved in at the beginning of February, but of course, my Better Half had to fly back to California after just a few days (good old commuter marriage lifestyle!), and I don't really have a lot of free time (in addition to my "commutes" to California twice a month, I teach a university class one evening a week, which requires grading papers and all...), so it's been a long, slow process of really getting the house settled. It's close now, though! She's flying in this weekend, and we'll get some more stuff finished. And snow is melting fast this week, so we should finally get to assess our garden situation. Yeah!

We really do need to meet you this fall if you come hiking in Utah again.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 11:55PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Probably not this year, Steve, but how about 2013? After four years of revisiting the site of my Near Demise, I've decided to head up to the Black Hills this year, which I've never seen, and then a return trip to Yellowstone. But I do plan to head back down Capitol Reef direction in '13, and will probably do a return to Bryce, and possibly a return to Zion too, tho that's all just in the Thinkin' Stage as of now! But definitely Capitol Reef--and I DID hike Sulphur Creek this year and it was WAY cool! Wasn't planning to do it a second time, but the more I think about it.......... So I suspect by the time I get back there that's gonna be on the agenda, and I bet you ALL would have fun doing it! And there are lots of other possibilities too, of course--and I never did get around to doing those two slot canyons at Escalante! Hopefully you guys will have your life more "together" by then--of you get my drift, and it'll be easier to work something out. Fingers crossed!

I'm surprised you guys still have snow on the ground! We had Chinooks around here a couple weeks ago and that got rid of the remaining snow--including in shady spots. Just checked your weather and it looks like you're gonna get wind with pretty warm temps tomorrow, so hopefully that'll fix you up and get you going with the Fun Stuff!


    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 12:30AM
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I've been thinking how I might respond to this, Steve. I guess my answer is, "I really don't know . . ."

If you lived up here, I'd insist that you move that greenhouse for a southern exposure - HOA be darned! (Make the neighbor-side look like a kid's playhouse, throw a few brightly-colored plastic toys around on the lawn. People will just say, "Aahhh. Kids!") But, you live in sunny Utah, irregardless of the neighbors.

Linked below is something on supplemental lighting in a greenhouse. Yeah, you could add lights but I'm just drawing your attention to maps along the left side and wondering about the months you would be using your greenhouse. :o( In March, about the only person I see having a problem is ME!)

If you had a question about siting your garden, I would say that morning sun is much more important to plant health & growth than evening sun. That may be true with greenhouse light. As Skybird says, afternoon sun can be "insufferable."

You do say "starting plants" so you may not require the greenhouse during January/February.


Here is a link that might be useful: Supplemental Lighting pdf

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 1:59PM
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I will add my 2 cents. I'm assuming you only intend to start plants in it and not grow anything in the winter or any other time? If so then I feel you should be fine. If you are wanting to grow things in it during the fall/winter then I would say you need a south exposure. I built my lean to with a south exposure. Because I intend to grow tomatoes and maybe a few other things in it till at least the first of the year. I did this year and really miss the tomatoes now. I had to pull shade cloth over mine. I need to install some more ventilation. For now I use a fan in one of the two utility room windows that open into it. With that and the shade cloth my temps reached the low 90's today with the outside temp around 80. I talked to most of the greenhouse owners/growers around here. And most said for what I wanted to do I would need southern exposure. The way I have mine shaded is I shade the direct overhead sunlight over the north 2/3 of the top. Plants that are adjusted to the sunlight I can locate on the south side and they get strong sunlight. Smaller plants and those that I'm hardening off I locate in the center and on the north wall. It works great. Like Skybird stated by locating it with an east exposure you will make starting and hardening off plants easier. And if you need to extend the length of the time they receive light you could supplement with artificial lighting. Jay

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 9:43PM
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david52 Zone 6

The guy who built my house put it about 20 degrees on a slight SE/NW axis - the result is I get the highest sun exposure possible during the winter on the south and west sides, and in the summer, those same aspects receive just minimal sun.

Not that this helps you. I'd agree with what others are saying, an east-facing one would be fine for what you want to do.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 9:57AM
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