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What greenhouses and Shadehouses have you experienced. Tell us all about what you have learned with your structures. Lets get a good thread going about about our structures. 

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Our ever evolving Aquaponics Earthship. Shade house 2009 summer.
Need: To cover the Vertigro Stacks with shade for the summer here in Inverness FL (central west coast)
I had a Steel Garage frame 10 x 20 - from Sams Club that I used. A friend gave me a considerable amount of shade cloth that he had used over his RV the year before. I installed the shade cloth with shade cloth clips and stainless snap clips/rings - and attached it to a coated steel cable that I ran through the vertical frame about 6" below the horizontal frame. I had enough shade cloth to put it on the ground as a weed cover also. I was growing in Vertigro stacks with a in organic hydroponic nutrient solution. I now have 12 stacks of 6 pots high. A total of 72 pots with 4 growing spots each equaling 288 plants. I quickly found out I needed to add shade cloths for wind protection. I made all of the removable and adjustable shade panels out of some on-sale white shade cloth from Lowes. Again the clips and hardware was a hidden cost. I also pop riveted the shade clips to the cloth to keep them closed. I attached the shade to the frame with rope through the clips and around the frame. See the photo NSGreenhouseShade.
I then quickly realized that I need to close it in for the winter.

Need: Fall 2009 - Close in the Stacks with a greehnouse I could dismantle since I rent the place I live.
After a lot of research I decided on using the frame I had and to put Clear polycarbonate corrugated panels for the roof and sides. When I went to look for some discounted panels I found that I could get some uninstalled Low e-glass double hung and single pane window. The windows were 3' or 6' wide and a few inches shorter than the side frames. They were at a local construction salvage yard. I paid an average of $23 each for what were probably $800-$1,200 windows. I framed them in with PT 2x4s that I primed and painted white. I bolted them together and bolted the panels to the steel frame. All so I could remove the panels. I put solid frames on the south side and openable double hung on the north side. I went through the winter with plastic sheeting on the ends to keep it warm enough. I did run a small electric heater on a few nights. Everything in dirt froze and died. Everything in the vertigro made it fine. I ran two extra watering cycles during the night and early morning to help keep the plants warm enough. That was all it needed. It wasn't closed in tight.
I keep adjusting my design to include the fish tanks. I decided on semi-circle design using the windows size and quantity to dictate the dimensions. The greenhouse grew in size to a length of 36'. (see pic NSGreehouse10a). I built 5 fish tanks in the west end 36" high 32" x 72" in a trapezoid shape tapering in to the middle. The size of the tanks vary from 250 gallons in the larger 2 and down to 150 for the smaller one. I will add a photo of the tanks when they are closer to being done. They are a combination of the painted 2x4s - hardiboard, plywood and hardware. I lined them with a liner. This is the stage I am at now. I still have to close in the rest of the roof and build the door.
I will add more pics to my photo library. Now all of the vertigro stacks are organic and I hope to have my fish in a few weeks.
Attachments:
Cooling the Earthship.
Yesterday I added a mister line to the greenhouse to cool it off now that it is getting in the 90s inside it. I installed the line above the stacks with a dozen fine spray misters and have them running 1-2 minutes every hour on the hour from 10 am to 4 pm. In testing this lowers the temp over 10 -15 degrees. I have removed the greenhouse ridge cap and will be installing an aluminet shade over the outside of the greenhouse in a few weeks. This will be suspended on a plastic pipe frame over the whole structure to keep it from having contact with the poly glazing. I keep all of the lower windows open. Since the roof is not finished it gets a lot of airflow. I will be making the roof cap, and most of the windows and lower vents operable with passive solar (temp) vent openers. I will probably have to add a swamp cooler or thermostatic fan to keep the temp down. I will wait until the fall to close in the rest of the roof. What I would really like is heat my pool and cool the greenhouse that way. Any suggestions.
Mike,

Sounds like you have quite an "Earthship" down there in Fl., I'm impressed with what you've done. I'm kind of ashamed to say, I started with the same garage frame, added concrete blocks to raise it a bit and then drove additional riser pipes through the concrete block and basically slid the garage frame over the risers and bolted it at my desired height of 7' sides. I then framed in the ends with 2x4, added a screen door in one end and installed 2-box fans in the gables, one pushing and one pulling. And covered the whole thing with 6 mil greenhouse plastic. I then ran 4-guy wires, 2 at the 7' level on either side and 2 at the 9' level; and then made a shade cloth curtain that could be slid along the guy wires.

I found out very quickly, that I needed to do something more to cool the greenhouse when it hit 100º one afternoon. I quickly strung a mister (17 heads) along one side at the 7' level. Dropped the temp down to an acceptable 87º, but almost drown my plants on that side. ---Rolled up one side of my greenhouse about 2' and considering doing the other side too. ---We've been having winds as high as 50 mph and the greenhouse is still standing. It was only about 40 mph last night and kept the wife up most of the night wondering if it would survive and if we were going to have a tornado. ---Back to misting, I next, took some of the nozzles out of the mister and replace with screws; better, but still not good. I then took PVC pipe and made a U shaped contraption and mount 3-nozzles on the incoming fan. The worked better, but will still not handle the days when it get to 90+º, so still need to work on cooling. I'm very interested in how you set up to do the mister cycling.

Keep up the good work and get some fish going so you'll be a true AquaPonic. I've personally had real bad luck with the fish side of things, but that is another subject.

Bill Sherman

Michael Cosmo said:
Cooling the Earthship.
Yesterday I added a mister line to the greenhouse to cool it off now that it is getting in the 90s inside it. I installed the line above the stacks with a dozen fine spray misters and have them running 1-2 minutes every hour on the hour from 10 am to 4 pm. In testing this lowers the temp over 10 -15 degrees. I have removed the greenhouse ridge cap and will be installing an aluminet shade over the outside of the greenhouse in a few weeks. This will be suspended on a plastic pipe frame over the whole structure to keep it from having contact with the poly glazing. I keep all of the lower windows open. Since the roof is not finished it gets a lot of airflow. I will be making the roof cap, and most of the windows and lower vents operable with passive solar (temp) vent openers. I will probably have to add a swamp cooler or thermostatic fan to keep the temp down. I will wait until the fall to close in the rest of the roof. What I would really like is heat my pool and cool the greenhouse that way. Any suggestions.
We have a Paul Boer's structure (6 bays, each 21' x 144', 16' gutter) and it's connected to an old B&W (2 bays each 21' x 144', 10' gutter) that we took down and moved to our site.

We regret having bought the used structure. We have so many costs in setting up heating systems and internal systems that it dwarfs the cost of the structure anyway. Our old B&W greenhouse leaks, cannot be screened (the Paul Boer's has whitefly screening on it), and does not have shade curtain trusses.

Also, the Paul Boer's greenhouse can handle a lot of crop weight while the B&W cannot--I don't think we could do vining crops it it at all. The old greenhouse is also so low that we're going to waste a lot of heat trying to keep control of the climate, and it would be expensive to put in proper lighting (we would need more lights, closer together because it doesn't have enough distance to easily spread the light before hitting the top of the crop).

We're still not ready to plant our first crop, so I cannot comment on growing conditions, but I already know that we'll have problems with the B&W structure.

Hi All

Just purchased a home in Cape Town, South Africa and 48 hours ago discovered the incredible world of Aquaponics. I have a fairly large enclosed courtyard that i am thinking of building closed on the top with a wooden frame and glass and then put an aquaponics system inside. Had a brief read below and it looks like cooling such a permanent fixed structure like this impossible. Shall I rather just put shade cloth over the fixed walls as its summer here and temperature is between 90 - 110 each day. Looking forward to anyone's feedback before i purchase the timber and glass to build this thing.

Thanks, Confused Cape Townian (Bruce)

Does anybody know of a low cost material i could use for a shade cloth?

Well...shade cloth is a pretty inexpensive shade cloth material :) I've also sprayed on a solution of calcium hydroxide, salt and zinc sulfate on glass glazing panels, I've also tried a white latex paint (watered down about 1:15)...both seem to work real well and are pretty inexpensive, but don't use either of those on plastic GH liner (PE). Those are for glass only.

On some of my plastic (PE) hoop houses (when stuck in a crappy region of an even crappier country, where buying shade cloth isn't really an option) regular old mud (yup, dirt and water) worked just dandy as a shading material...and can be a blast to apply if you have the right kind of help :) It doesn't really hurt the PE, and comes off pretty much by itself during the rainy season right before winter. So that works out pretty nicely (if you live in such an area), and you can't beat the price...

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