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GOOD DEAL ON GREENHOUSES!

Postby afh928 » Tue May 26, 2009 9:14 pm

I was doing a little research trying to find affordable, high quality, portable greenhouses and i stumbled upon http://www.littlegreenhouse.com. I myself am looking for something that i can put on a small uncovered porch so i can keep my plants outside for winter...and they have some REALLY affordable options for small houses. I figure for the price i would come out about the same trying to build it myself, and it seems like the quality of their product is top notch. Just thought i'd pass it along..if anyone decides to order one let us know..i have not ordered yet but i may sometime before fall.

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Re: GOOD DEAL ON GREENHOUSES!

Postby afh928 » Tue May 26, 2009 10:03 pm

I think i may be formulating my winter plan too. I think im gonna try one of the smaller Plant House models (see link above) and i am gonna try my hand at keeping the plants warm via solar heat. I read that if you keep pumice or other types of heat retaining rocks/stone in the greenhouse they will absorb heat throughout the day and release it when the sun goes down. It makes pretty good sense to me, plus it will save $ on heating vs. an electric heater. I may devise some sort of shelving unit for the plants and put heat retaining stones below and surrounding it, something to that effect. I think it sounds like a darn good plan..at least to attempt it. What do you guys think?
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Re: GOOD DEAL ON GREENHOUSES!

Postby Matt » Tue May 26, 2009 10:10 pm

Your climate is mild enough that you might be able to get by with solar heating. It's definitely worth a shot. You can give it a go and then check the temperature in there on the coldest mornings and see if it's what you want it to be.
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Re: GOOD DEAL ON GREENHOUSES!

Postby afh928 » Tue May 26, 2009 10:16 pm

I think so. I Just saw a post from mlvc (i think thats his username) and i have seen others from people who keep all their CPs in unheated greenhouses all winter long. They die back a good bit but come back in the spring. Maybe by adding the solar heat to the equation i could keep growth going too. I may end up seeing how many of my drosera (capensis and intermedia) seeds germinate and if i have too much i might give some away on here. : ) That way my collection wont be so big that i cant take them inside during a freeze.
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Re: GOOD DEAL ON GREENHOUSES!

Postby Adam » Wed May 27, 2009 5:18 am

That's a great idea. Thanks for the link! From what others have posted, CPs do much better in a green house.
Is your VFT experiencing these conditions?

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Re: GOOD DEAL ON GREENHOUSES!

Postby afh928 » Wed May 27, 2009 4:19 pm

I think im gonna give it a shot soon man.
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Re: GOOD DEAL ON GREENHOUSES!

Postby afh928 » Thu May 28, 2009 4:27 am

I've been doing a bunch of research on the subject and it is official, lol...I am going to design my own DIY solar heat absorption system and attempt to keep all my CPs outside for winter!

I see it this way..

1)some poeple winter their VFTs in unheated greenhouses all winter.

2)Dormancy is mostly triggered by shorter photoperiod, temperature to a lesser degree.

3)I have also heard that people keep d. capensis and other CPs in unheated greenhouses all winter too which leads to #4...

4)D. capensis does NOT require dormancy BUT needs to hover around room temperature at least with sunlight to thrive during winter.

SO, that being said...if i can devise a system that would keep a small portable greenhouse at around 55 degrees F, the sundews would stay healthy enough and the VFTs could stay healthy AND go through dormancy.

I am thinking i will use bubble wrap to cover the north facing wall of the greenhouse (the wall behind the plants).

Then i will build a couple small shelving units, or buy them, and underneath i will store 2 full 5 gallon water jugs (like the ones in an office. I will surround the whole thing with pumice or some other kind of heat retaining stone leaving the jugs of water exposed to sunlight. I will set the plants on top of flat rocks as well.

Then i will place a small battery (or solar, i haven't figured out which will be more cost efficient) operated fan in a corner pointed upwards to circulate the warm air downward.

I will keep small burlap sacks inside to cover the plants at night if it gets below freezing, maybe some bubble wrap as well to wrap around their pots.

Hopefully, if all goes as planned...the water and stones will retain enough heat to release throughout the night to help maintain the healthy temperatures i require, and the bubble wrap insulation on the back wall (i may end up wrapping most of the interior aside from the south wall and top) will keep the cold away from the pots (the setup will be against the north wall facing south-ish).

Thats alot of info to bore you with, lol, but i am crazy excited about it! Not to mention the rest of this killer growing season ahead!

Let me know what you think about my DIY ideas, i would love to hear your thoughts!

Aaron
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Re: GOOD DEAL ON GREENHOUSES!

Postby NZL » Thu May 28, 2009 6:22 am

Sounds like a very neat setup!

I have no experience with pumice stones whatsoever so I don't know anything about them, but my gut feeling doubts whether they alone can keep it from freezing in your lil' greenhouse during winter?
They take up heat during the day you say, but in winter, it's not that warm during the day either so there's no heat to take up in the first place. ;)
I'd suggest that you at least put the pumice stones on a stove during the day so they have enough heat content to last through the biggest part of the night.
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Re: GOOD DEAL ON GREENHOUSES!

Postby afh928 » Thu May 28, 2009 7:22 am

Turns out thats a misconception...all the research i have done points to one fact (i was unaware of this as well)...stones, like pumice, don't get their heat from the temperature, merely the light from the sun. I was a bit puzzled by it so i looked around a bit and that seems to hold true universally. The stones and water absorb the light energy from the sunlight and release it as heat gradually as the sun goes down. The equation for the water is 2 gallons per sq. ft. Stands to reason then, that if i have 10 gallons in an approximately 3 foot by 1 foot area (approx.) under the shelving...absorbing sunlight all day, that ALONE would be enough to generate nighttime heat for a small insulated space. In keeping the water jugs exposed to sunlight all day, plus adding the heat retaining stone (maybe not pumice, i have not found the MOST heat retaining stone just yet), PLUS insulating the north wall and using a fan to circulate the air...i think it might actually work. As added insurance i'll keep bubble wrap stocked to wrap the pots on cold nights, and black plastic bags or burlap sacks to cover the plants themselves. At most, my droseras might end up coming inside on occasion..but according to some fairly extensive research so far, and a little DIY spirit...i think it can be done. There are more complicated ways to accomplish this, which are probably also a bit easier to acquire but i am determined to not spend a bunch of $ on this, i want to do it on my own. i could very easily shell out cash for solar panels, cables, batteries, regulators, and timers but that would not keep with the spirit of growing to me. I kind of feel that the earth can give me what i need...besides that...it gets just as cold if not colder where VFTs are native (the Carolinas are north of me), and in the wild they are completely unprotected during winter. And there is the fact that people winter their plants outdoors in bogs or unheated greenhouses in WAY colder zones that here in 8. The system will more than likely go through some tweaks before then..but for now, all things seem to point the right way!

I really didn't know that about the rocks and water...i guess it makes sense, it's just like photosynthesis...sort of. The plants don't get their energy from how HOT the sun is, but from the light energy it provides instead. That same light energy is what heats the stones and water in the greenhouse environment, not the heat of the sun itself.
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Re: GOOD DEAL ON GREENHOUSES!

Postby afh928 » Thu May 28, 2009 7:30 am

I'm gonna take pictures of the whole process, start to finish, and post them in a thread here for everyone. Well before i get started i'll let everyone know what i am using and if anyone wants to join me in attempting this feel free! I think if it is successful it will show everybody that you can do things like this that SEEM really difficult all on your own, with just a little research and some DIY spirit. It will save a ridiculous amount of $ on electricity because there will be no power involved...i am even going to try to use a battery operated fan with rechargeable batteries just to make the point, lol. It's not like i am "blazing a trail", lol...these thing have been done before. But from what i have seen, there is almost always some kind of assistance or something that costs a good bit of $. I think it can work, and i think it can work for around $100...$100 you only have to spend once, everything is reusable. Who's with me, lol?!?!?!
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Re: GOOD DEAL ON GREENHOUSES!

Postby NZL » Thu May 28, 2009 7:36 am

I'm pretty sure it'll work for all your VFTs and temperate sundews, but I would put your capensis and other australian/south african sundews inside while you monitor the temps in the greenhouse to see if it's safe to put your capensis and others in there as well.

Here's some constructive criticism again: How about the cloudy days? Will the stones still catch enough light?
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Re: GOOD DEAL ON GREENHOUSES!

Postby afh928 » Thu May 28, 2009 7:52 am

To answer the 1st part...i'm also gonna keep a thermometer inside, so tha i can keep track of the inside temp for about a week when i first get it together. if i can keep a fairly solid 55 degrees-ish then everything will be a go.

2nd part-I haven't quite figured out the cloudy day scenario yet but i am almost positive it will involve extra insulation. As in, insulating the entire structure in anticipation of cloud cover to hold in as much heat as possible. It gets pretty cold here at night but it never stays below freezing for TOO long. If i take proper precautions and stay on top of the weather i should be able to beat it to the punch!

Don't get me wrong, i haven't even tried it yet...but i have done a good bit of research so far, and my gut tells me it will be ok. It may not, lol, i may end up just killing everything and hating myself. :D
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Re: GOOD DEAL ON GREENHOUSES!

Postby afh928 » Thu May 28, 2009 7:58 am

Oh, and i'm not sure if the stones will retain enough light energy on cloudy days or not...i would guess that it wouldnt be as much as a sunny day but depending on the temp. that particular day it may be enough. If i insulate properly and minimize how often i have to go in and out every day (i am thinking once in the AM and once at night) i think it ought to stay pretty well the same most of the time. On the average day the spot it will be recieves direct sun ALL DAY, and most of the evening. The light is indirect from dawn til about 8-ish, then it is FULL SUN until around 7 during summer. so probably adjust by about 2 hours back to account for winter. Sorry, im getting tired lol. Basically it is a primo spot for sun, and a primo spot for things to absorb the energy from it.
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Re: GOOD DEAL ON GREENHOUSES!

Postby afh928 » Thu May 28, 2009 3:43 pm

FYI...I just want everyone to know that i am by NO MEANS claiming to know everything there is to know about this subject, lol...i'm sure i actually know pretty little. I am just taking what i learn, running it through my brain, and applying it to my situation and a little common sense. It is 100% an experiment for me, but for some reason i do feel really confident with it for some reason!

I just didn't want anyone to think i was coming off like some windbag about it, lol.
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Re: GOOD DEAL ON GREENHOUSES!

Postby NZL » Thu May 28, 2009 8:15 pm

Don't worry, we don't think you're a windbag :D

I can only encourage experiments and sharing the results. Good luck!
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