Small greenhouse build

wsteinhoff

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I thought I'd share the progression of a small 8x10 greenhouse I'm building. If anyone is looking for ideas or inspiration or just doesn't think they can do it but want to. First off I have no construction skills. But I can use a drill and a saw and have enough brain cells to figure out what to do and where. It's not perfect by any means but it should do the job.
The goal in the end is a nice looking little greenhouse for my own thing and to store trees in in the winter. It'll have a nice garden around it and benches on the other side with a small rain barrel system. It'll be a nice personal area for my ever growing plant collection. It'll replace the plastic one which will become just used for seed starting in early spring then taken down.
So here's so far. After each day I've taken a photo to document progress.
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Most of the framing is done. There will be a window in the door and on the opposite side of the structure that are on hinges so a temperature controlled automatic opener can open and close them as needed and it won't get too hot in the winter. I'll update as it goes on.
 

butlern

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Interesting. Always wanted a greenhouse to overwinter my trees.

How will you heat it?
 

wsteinhoff

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Interesting. Always wanted a greenhouse to overwinter my trees.

How will you heat it?
The idea is minimal heat. That's why the windows are on one side. Windows only facing south, only where necessary so everything else can be insulated. As much heat retention as possible. If necessary I'll try a small solar panel to heat on those really cold days but it's not like I'm putting my tropicals in there. I did have an idea too if it'll work I don't know. If I burried an insulated pipe below the frost line if that heat from below would rise through the pipe and help heat. If it gets too warm I will have temperature sensitive openers on two windows to release heat. Other than a possible small solar panel if I feel I need it though it won't have electric.
 

butlern

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I'll keep following... with sincere interest.

I always assumed that such structures (that lacked the ability to maintain 35-40F at night) would just amplify temperature swings The worst case scenario).

Sun goes down... temperature plummets inside; sun comes up, windows rapidly substantially raise the temp. Your automated window openers will be good during the day, but night may be another story, I fear.

This is why I'm very keen to see how you insulate to retain heat overnight, and see how effectively the temp is maintained when the sun goes down.

Keep up updating!
 

wsteinhoff

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Well you may end up being right and in the end it just doesn't work for winter storage.
 

butlern

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Only one thing to do.... run the experiment!

I am sincerely interested because I am pondering constructing something similar, but have not pressed forward because I have not been able to find enough information about potential pitfalls... and solutions.
 

coachspinks

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Thanks for sharing this. I like your ideas. I will build something similar next year but it will be a place to overwinter tropicals not hardy trees. One piece of advice from someone who worked in the commercial nursery industry for some time, the comment about the temperature swings is worth considering. One of my jobs was to open the ends of the greenhouses every day so the temperature swings wouldn't be as extreme. The best solution for you may be a temperature controlled fan on one end and a self opening louvered vent on the other end. It would kick on when the inside of the greenhouse reached a predetermined temperature.
 

wsteinhoff

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Exactly! You'll never know if you don't try! If it fails then anyone thinking similarly can learn from my failure.
The temperature controlled fan was a thought, I don't know much about solar panels which is what I'd probably have to use. It is still a thought though in case the current plans don't work.
 

BrianBay9

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I'll keep following... with sincere interest.

I always assumed that such structures (that lacked the ability to maintain 35-40F at night) would just amplify temperature swings The worst case scenario).

Sun goes down... temperature plummets inside; sun comes up, windows rapidly substantially raise the temp. Your automated window openers will be good during the day, but night may be another story, I fear.....
It's a good idea to include a heat sink in the design. I have used 55 gal plastic barrels filled with water as shelf supports. They heat up during the day and radiate that heat at night.
 

wsteinhoff

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You can see in a couple photos a row of 55 gallon rain barrels. One will be outside painted white for watering to reflect heat and inside the structure they'll be painted black to collect heat.
 

MrWunderful

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What is going to be on the outside of the structure? Clear panels?
 

wsteinhoff

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What is going to be on the outside of the structure? Clear panels?
The outside will be wood. I'll put insulation under the wood. The idea is to minimize temperature swings at night and retain as much heat as I can. The sun comes from the south side so it only needs to be clear facing south.
 

JudyB

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Concrete pavers are also a really good heat sink. Sun will be your biggest issue in the winter on warm days. Consider using a greenhouse paint,or a shade cloth for winter shielding.
 

wsteinhoff

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I was thinking about a heat sink material for the floor. Thanks for the concrete pavers idea. I was thinking shade cloth that can roll down over the windows in winter and help it not heat too much durring the day.
 

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