I'm in the midst of planning out our larger second system. While the actual system composition is fairly straight forward, we keep coming back to one stumbling block.
We live south of Tampa Florida, deep in zone 9. Average summer temperatures are High 91 and Low 75. While the average winter temperatures are High 71 and Low 52. During the late summer we get daily heavy rains. So much so that the area surrounding our house will often have standing water and our ponds nearly overflow. We even raised our chicken coop and run up about 8 inches to keep their feet dry.
So we have decided that some type of structure is required to prevent that much water from entering our aquaponics system. Doing research into greenhouses, high tunnels, hoop houses, domes and passive solar greenhouses has led to a big roadblock.
So I am looking for input, suggestions or ideas from members as to what is the bigger issue for you? Is it keeping your plants and system warm during the winter months? Or is it keeping things from broiling in the hot summer sun? What challenges or advice would you give to someone looking to build a structure for growing in the Florida Area.
This question is going to be very situation and local micro climate specific.
However, my experience with very basic (cold frame hoop house) type greenhouses is that they get too hot in the sun but it still gets cold at night. Granted, I'm in Inland Central FL so our extremes are more extreme than you being closer to the gulf and further South.
But You may still want a roof to collect the rain water off of and support shade, but I wouldn't really want a totally enclosed greenhouse here in FL except for when it's really cold.
I'm on the Central FL ridge so I don't get the drowning rains nearly so much as you lowlanders do and I actually am happy if I get some natural water changes via rainfall (though I haven't had aquaponics through a hurricane summer like we had back in 2004 so I might change my tune after that but then again an inexpensive hoop house wouldn't have survived in central FL through that.)
For some one with experience putting up covers over aquaponics systems here in FL you might check out Stringham
They are over in Sanford but doing projects around central FL and even up in Georgia.
In Phoenix I only need an enclosure when the temp goes into the 40's except my Talipia FT. The cheapest structure I have found is a Geodaesic Dome. See my page for details.
Oh, by the way, I'm currently not using a greenhouse of any of my systems. I have two little greenhouse roof covers that were originally for the seed starting but now are not really being used for that. I put the cold sensitive plants in there currently but I don't have sides on either structure, only bird netting.
I am using a hoop house which allows me to put shade cloth over my grow beds and a dark tarp over my fish tank. I have bird netting over most of it also, which keeps them out. I am going to redo it some so I can collect rain water which my plants love