My Winter Greenhouse With Photo Updates

BigBen

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Hi Everyone,
For those interested and/or need help/ideas...
After MANY YEARS of research, I FINALLY began my quasi Deep Winter Greenhouse build this year.

The Basics:
It's 16' x 12' not counting the 12" overhangs.
My goal is to grow food year round and possibly keep some tropical Bonsai trees, and I can use the space BEHIND the greenhouse to Over-Winter my Bonsai material.
I faced the structure 7 to 10 degrees East of True South, to optimize the Morning Winter Sun.

The base is built with Cedar 6" x 6" beams, mounted to TWELVE concrete filled 10" Sono-Tubes buried 40" into the ground.
The West, North, East and South (front) 4' Knee walls are 2" x 6" construction, while the large slanted portion is 2" x 4"to keep the shading down as much as possible.
The solid walls have 3/4" plywood sheathing, Tyvek House Wrap, and covered with 2" Rigid EPS insulation to block thermal-bridging, that will be topped off with 3/4" furring strips and a darker vinyl siding (siding samples are en-route).

Insulation:
I will be burying 4" x 24" x 96" EPS foam vertically around the perimeter, THEN adding a 4" x 48" x 96" EPS Swedish Skirt outside of that.
I'll most likely add 2" EPS inside, between the 2" x 6" roof beams, then seal the ceiling with reflective material.
The insulation will be sandwiched between 3/8" pea gravel about 1" to 2" thick, to aid in rain run-off.

Floor:
Will have 1/2" hardware cloth, to prevent critters (or Elvis) from entering the building. LOL...
Most likely going with pea gravel and some dark stepping-stones throughout (to absorb some additional Sun/heat).

Glazing:
I have a 100' x 52" roll of 5MM Solexx.
The South facing wall is pitched at a 60 degree angle from horizontal, to optimize the Winter Sun, based upon my Latitude.

Heating:
For thermal mass, I WAS going to line the back/North wall with 55 gallon barrels painted black and filled with water, but they're 24" in diameter, so I'm now leaning towards using clear fiberglass agricultural tubes filled with water dyed black. Those tubes come in space-saving 12" & 18" diameters, and in almost any length.
A back-up electric (HOPEFULLY Solar Electric) heater will also be employed.

Venting:
Thermostatically controlled exhaust fan high on the East wall, and two intake vents low on the West wall.

Growing:
Probably going with Cedar raised beds, just like I built in our backyard.6 x 6 Cedar Base Framejpg.jpgGreenhouse Framing Four Foot  Front Knee Wall.jpgGreenhouse Framing East Wall 2.jpgGreenhouse Framing 2.jpgGreenhouse west Wall With Tyvek.jpg
6 x 6 Cedar Base Framejpg.jpgGreenhouse Framing Four Foot  Front Knee Wall.jpgGreenhouse Framing East Wall 2.jpgGreenhouse Framing 2.jpgGreenhouse west Wall With Tyvek.jpg6 x 6 Cedar Base Framejpg.jpgGreenhouse Framing Four Foot  Front Knee Wall.jpgGreenhouse Framing East Wall 2.jpgGreenhouse Framing 2.jpgGreenhouse west Wall With Tyvek.jpg6 x 6 Cedar Base Framejpg.jpgGreenhouse Framing Four Foot  Front Knee Wall.jpgGreenhouse Framing East Wall 2.jpg
 

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Cadillactaste

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I absolutely am in love with the pitch of the roof line! Congrats...what a joy having a place such as that for your trees.
 

BigBen

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Thank very much, everyone.
I'm having a blast building it, and I sincerely appreciate the kind words.
 

TyroTinker

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Thanks for this detailed post. I love the idea of building a dedicated space somewhere in my yard and this is inspiration and motivation. Now I just need a bigger yard...

I’m telling the wife we need to move... 😅
 

JudyB

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Most likely pea gravel, with dark colored stepping stones throughout.
You might want to consider concrete pavers. They give you firm footing instead of pea gravel that will squirm around as you walk on it. Also concrete pavers are some of the best heat sinks around. They also are good repository of humidity, you can water them and they will release thru the day. Of course you'll want a good gravel base.
 

BigBen

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You might want to consider concrete pavers. They give you firm footing instead of pea gravel that will squirm around as you walk on it. Also concrete pavers are some of the best heat sinks around. They also are good repository of humidity, you can water them and they will release thru the day. Of course you'll want a good gravel base.
Thanks Judy.
My though was to use the pea gravel to aid in drainage, and to sink stepping stones (large pavers) throughout.
Do you think I’d be better-off using that “regular” blue colored gravel under the large stones or maybe RCA?
Although I believe RCA hardens...
 

JudyB

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We did a #2's base with a #57 with limestone layer on top, then sand layer on top of all that. Set the pavers into the sand after it all settled out. Pavers are tight together, no spaces in between. I do not know what RCA or blue gravel is? Here is a photo from a few years ago so you can see the floor. You don't want anything that can move around under your feet while you're moving the trees in and out. Boy this is amazing how much my collection has changed!

276366
 

BigBen

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That came out awesome!

I’m not certain that that system will work for my greenhouse though.
I’m most likely going to go with raised growing beds for my crops.

And some areas/tables for Bonsai.
 

JudyB

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That came out awesome!

I’m not certain that that system will work for my greenhouse though.
I’m most likely going to go with raised growing beds for my crops.

And some areas/tables for Bonsai.
Gotcha. Keep us updated on your progress!
 

BigBen

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Will post relevant update photos, Judy.

Meantime, I installed a rain gutter last night, in between rain-drops. LOL...
I put-in a few hours here and there, as the weather permits.

And I finally received my vinyl siding sample.
I'm leaning towards a medium shade that's called "chestnut", and I'll use white trim.
 

Forsoothe!

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We did a #2's base with a #57 with limestone layer on top, then sand layer on top of all that. Set the pavers into the sand after it all settled out. Pavers are tight together, no spaces in between. I do not know what RCA or blue gravel is? Here is a photo from a few years ago so you can see the floor. You don't want anything that can move around under your feet while you're moving the trees in and out. Boy this is amazing how much my collection has changed!

View attachment 276366
Is that a 3 level pizza oven? I admire your cleaver use of space and foresight. Where's the keg?
 

vp999

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This is awesome !!! Thank you so much as I am planning to build one my self for my tropicals and I am in the same USDA zone as you also. Do you have enough sun for the greenhouse? Because in some of the pics I see that you have a lot of trees around it. I have the same problem as well and will have to cut down some of the trees and branches, but some of the trees are in my neighbor's yard also so I don't know how I am gonna do this, maybe wait for them to go on vacation...lol.
 

BigBen

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This is awesome !!! Thank you so much as I am planning to build one my self for my tropicals and I am in the same USDA zone as you also. Do you have enough sun for the greenhouse? Because in some of the pics I see that you have a lot of trees around it. I have the same problem as well and will have to cut down some of the trees and branches, but some of the trees are in my neighbor's yard also so I don't know how I am gonna do this, maybe wait for them to go on vacation...lol.
LOL...

Thank you, kindly.

Actually, the pics that have some shade were taken in the mid/late afternoon.
My main concern is getting as much Sun as possible and as early as possible during the Winter months, hence the degree at which I angled the greenhouse towards TRUE SOUTH, as opposed to Magnetic South, AND the approx. 60 degree angle of the South/Glazed wall to optimize the low Winter Sun.

I MAY have to also slice a few branches here and there, but nothing major.
I've been tracking the Sun in our yard for a few years now, as part of my research. Should be good-to-go.
 
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