Bent
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50' x 80' greenhouse

Good day to you all. I am located in the center of Alberta, with a 76 day growing season which is comprised of millions of grasshoppers , deer and moose who treat my garden like a salad bar.

Being a welder by trade, I decided to build a structure to enclose our garden. I just have to run some electrical and then set up an automatic irrigation system for it. I have a few ideas on how to control it...but would love some input.

I feel that the 3 - 220 volt 48" fans I have installed should help control the Summer heat and I am not planning to use the garden year round, so I didn't install any heat.

The main concerns I have are: Weed control and work station size and location.

When I designed the trusses, I decided to add holes in the splice plates, so I could hang plants from the bottom chord. I am hoping to test these out on some tomato's and cucumbers next summer.
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Bent
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Re: 50' x 80' greenhouse

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tomc
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Re: 50' x 80' greenhouse

Um, um what about snow pack?
Think like a tree
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Bent
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Re: 50' x 80' greenhouse

I decided to use the Greenhouse as a winter storage facility for my boats but will boot them out next spring.

I bought 50 yards of 20 year old cow manure and placed it inside. I will till it into our sandy soil next spring.

I am planning on hilling the main area ( covered in manure ). I should get 15 rows with a 12" walkway between each row. There is a 4' walkway all the way around for benches or what have you.

My wife and I are really looking forward to our first greenhouse planting season next spring.
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Bent
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Re: 50' x 80' greenhouse

tomc wrote:Um, um what about snow pack?
That is a definite concern! When I built the first truss, I set each end on a pipestand, held the top with the picker truck and applied 800 lbs to the center of the truss. It didn't drop 1/4", so I knew the trusses could handle the weight.
I contacted Don at US Global resources and he recommended and then sold me the Lexan sheeting, fans and louvers.

During the roof sheeting install, I actually stood between the supports, directly on the lexan and that stuff is amazing!

So, the Lexan manufacturer guarantees a 40lb snow load with a 3/12 pitch roof...so I went with a 4-12 pitch roof as a precaution.

I will definitely be keeping an eye on it this winter though!

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applestar
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Re: 50' x 80' greenhouse

That's an amazing looking structure, so casually described as built by yourself! :D
The size of it boggles my mind as I don't think I have a clear area of the same size _ WOW _

Nope, this project is beyond my scope, so I'll just lurk and admire, but I did want to ask -- are you concerned at all about leakage from the boats if you are planning to plant edibles in there? I suppose weather run offs won't be a problem since they will be protected from the elements.

Also... I'm picturing you chugging around in there on a tractor and other machinery, with all the exhaust fumes trapped inside. But that might be just me -- I'm sensitive to them and I can't even stay if they have an _outdoor_ new and antique tractor parade type of event at a county and local fair. A major spectacle within driving distance is an annual hot air balloon show, but I can't even think about going. :roll:
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Bent
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Re: 50' x 80' greenhouse

applestar wrote:That's an amazing looking structure, so casually described as built by yourself! :D
The size of it boggles my mind as I don't think I have a clear area of the same size _ WOW _

Nope, this project is beyond my scope, so I'll just lurk and admire, but I did want to ask -- are you concerned at all about leakage from the boats if you are planning to plant edibles in there? I suppose weather run offs won't be a problem since they will be protected from the elements.

Also... I'm picturing you chugging around in there on a tractor and other machinery, with all the exhaust fumes trapped inside. But that might be just me -- I'm sensitive to them and I can't even stay if they have an _outdoor_ new and antique tractor parade type of event at a county and local fair. A major spectacle within driving distance is an annual hot air balloon show, but I can't even think about going. :roll:
Thank you for the kind words.
It's funny you should mention the exhaust fumes...I left my skidsteer parked in there last night and when I started it this morning, it was billowing out black smoke, so I had to move it outside without letting it warm up first. But, Once I get the 3 fans wired, this won't be an issue.

As for contaminating the soil with run-off from the boats: I pressure washed them off, drained them, winterized them and tarped them a few weeks ago. There shouldn't be any fluids leaking from them. On the other hand, My '70 harley piddles like a puppy, so even though I will be parking it on one of the walking paths, I will still lay a tarp out and have spill pads layed out for it.

Bobberman
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Re: 50' x 80' greenhouse

There will be a lot of water run off. Do you plan on capturing that supply of fresh water. A greenhouse that big would be a good place for 5000 gallons of stored water for heat ion winter and to help cool summer! That old manure should be loaded with worms or worm castings! Sounds like a old barn clean out! Do you insulate the north side for winter with reflective panels that are removable in summer! Vine crops are excellent growing at the very north side in summer and take no light away from the rest of the plants and also capture the light above the rest of the plants that normally passes through the north walls that light is captured by the climbing plants that grow even 10 feet vertical! I see too many greenhouses that waste to many things that are a bonus if you take the time to think about it!
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Bent
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Re: 50' x 80' greenhouse

I decided it was time to update you on my greenhouse project.
The first thing I want to mention is my soil:
I think the soil was to rich this year being that it was 12" of manure. Eventhough I tilled it several times at full depth with my Kubota, it couldn't reach down and grab enough of my garden soil to blend.
Because of this rich condition, there were a few seeds that had to be re-planted. I think next year, the soil will be better.

I never had a chance to install rainbird sprinklers this year, so I used garden hose and 4 sprinklerheads controlled by a Yardbird" automatic water system. This worked quite well but I will install an overhead system next year so I get an even spray over the entire area.

Next, I have thermostatically controlled louvers and fans and had the temperature set to kick in at 95F. The thermostats were actually in-accurate and didn't kick in until 114 F. I realized this in week 2 but the high temperature burnt a few seedlings and we had to replant. I adjusted the temperature and never had any issues after this.

The wall height is 8'6" and a few of the corn stalks were a foot above the walls. The corn was peaches and cream and we saved some for seed next year. As well as the peas and beans.
the 3 cucumber seeds I planted went crazy and the canopy leaves were 12" x 12". we have about 4 years worth of pickles now :)
The potato plants were 50" high and produced a bumper crop.
the 1 pumpkin seed I planted, took over an entire corner of the garden and produced nothing but marbles, so no more pumpkins for me.
The carrot tops were 40" tall but didn't produce a normal carrot, they were stumpy and wide. This may have been caused by us not getting a chance to thin them out.
The Broccoli was the sweetest I have ever tasted.

So, the main reason I built the greenhouse was to keep deer, moose, mice and grasshoppers out.
the deer, moose and mice had no way of getting in, so mission accomplished there. The grasshoppers started hatching early in the spring and I devised an environmentally friendly pest control method for them. I took my grandkids out to the garden, got them to watch me step and twist on a few grasshoppers, then offered them a nickel for each "kill". Within a week of an hour a day, there were no grasshoppers to be seen. Over the next month, I would find the odd one but this method was a complete success. I'm sure there are eggs waiting to be hatched next year, but we will apply the same technique again until we are rid of them.
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valley
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Re: 50' x 80' greenhouse

Greetings Bent, Just had my first look at your greenhouse, it looks great. You and yours are going to enjoy that so much. I hope you keep us up to date, showing what you plant and harvest. That is quite an undertaking.
The pictures are very nice to see, thanks, like to see more.

Richard

Just read some you've written in this thread, you have a new fan, I'll be looking for your posts. I'd sure like to have a closer look at the gussets on your trusses, I think you bolted rather than welded them. I'm impressed.

Bent
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Re: 50' x 80' greenhouse

tomc wrote:Um, um what about snow pack?
So, it turns out, I didn't need to worry about snow. with this Lexan sheeting, when the snow builds up beyond 4", it slides right off. We had allot of snow this winter, but it all ended up sliding off as stated above but, being as we had so much, I needed to plow it away from the side walls twice.

valley wrote:Greetings Bent, Just had my first look at your greenhouse, it looks great. You and yours are going to enjoy that so much. I hope you keep us up to date, showing what you plant and harvest. That is quite an undertaking.
The pictures are very nice to see, thanks, like to see more.

Richard

Just read some you've written in this thread, you have a new fan, I'll be looking for your posts. I'd sure like to have a closer look at the gussets on your trusses, I think you bolted rather than welded them. I'm impressed.
Thanks Richard. I sure will post up my progress and findings over the next few years.
Let me know what u need to look at specifically, I will take some pic's for you.
The trusses are my design and the plates are welded. Actually the whole framework is welded. The only place screws/bolts are used are to attach the Lexan.
-------

I forgot to mention that the weeds were horrendous this year! We don't use sprays so, next year, I think we will delay planting a crop and till the area a few times over a month's time to kill them before they go to seed and spread.

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applestar
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Re: 50' x 80' greenhouse

Looks like this season went well overall, and left you with some things to ponder over the winter. :wink:
Looking forward to future updates. :D
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rainbowgardener
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Re: 50' x 80' greenhouse

Wow, so beautiful! You have about a tenth of an acre enclosed there and it looks like you could feed the neighborhood from it.

As you go along and get more experience with it, you may want to work more on succession planting, keeping things in the ground all season, from early spring crops to summer stuff to fall crops to stuff that is overwintering (things should overwinter better with the protection, even though it is unheated). And succession planting in the sense of doing a small planting of something like corn and then two weeks later another and so on. Works well for any of the things like corn and peas that only produce once and done. And more diversity to grow more of what your family eats.

High nitrogen is not best for carrots, so try them again after your manure has broken down into the soil more. And thinning is really a requirement for them. Carrots always come up too crowded, because what looks like a seed is actually a seed capsule with several seeds.
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Bent
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Re: 50' x 80' greenhouse

applestar wrote:Looks like this season went well overall, and left you with some things to ponder over the winter. :wink:
Looking forward to future updates. :D
Yes applestar, we enjoyed our garden immensely this year. There are some things we need to re-configure and a few things that need to be added for next year.
We are looking forward to it!





rainbowgardener wrote:Wow, so beautiful! You have about a tenth of an acre enclosed there and it looks like you could feed the neighborhood from it.

As you go along and get more experience with it, you may want to work more on succession planting, keeping things in the ground all season, from early spring crops to summer stuff to fall crops to stuff that is overwintering (things should overwinter better with the protection, even though it is unheated). And succession planting in the sense of doing a small planting of something like corn and then two weeks later another and so on. Works well for any of the things like corn and peas that only produce once and done. And more diversity to grow more of what your family eats.

High nitrogen is not best for carrots, so try them again after your manure has broken down into the soil more. And thinning is really a requirement for them. Carrots always come up too crowded, because what looks like a seed is actually a seed capsule with several seeds.
Hi RainbowGardener,
Exactly...now that we have a good seed base, we will do exactly as you mentioned. next year, we will space our planting out in 2 week intervals, to extend our harvest season.
As for the carrots, we knew we messed up by not thinning them out, but seriously, it took all of our time just to keep the weeds under control.

I have allot to learn over the next few years...and am looking forward to every lesson :-()

valley
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Re: 50' x 80' greenhouse

Bent, Thanks for getting back. I'm interested in the Gusset attachments for the diagonal bracing on the trusses. No rush, wouldn't mind seeing a picture.

Great to be able to foil the animals that come to feast. We've had an ongoing struggle with them. Have a good one.

Richard

Bent
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Re: 50' x 80' greenhouse

valley wrote:Bent, Thanks for getting back. I'm interested in the Gusset attachments for the diagonal bracing on the trusses. No rush, wouldn't mind seeing a picture.

Great to be able to foil the animals that come to feast. We've had an ongoing struggle with them. Have a good one.

Richard
All plates were placed so they acted as joiner plates for runs that were longer than 20'. As well as bracing splice plates. I welded one side completely, then got what I could on the 2nd "closed" side.
Let me know if u need anything else...
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valley
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Re: 50' x 80' greenhouse

Thanks Bent, That's good, I wanted to see what was welded and if anything was bolted. I see the square tubing, I thought it was round. Thanks for taking the time. I'll be watching your posts.

Richard

tdump
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Re: 50' x 80' greenhouse

All I can say is WOW! I love to build things myself but I don't think I could handle a project this size!.

imafan26
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Re: 50' x 80' greenhouse

That is amazing. I am jealous, I think almost my whole yard will fit in that greenhouse (54x100) . You have gotten amazing production for such a short season.

The one thing good about giving the garden a good long rest is that it does keep down bugs and disease. Inside a greenhouse problems can spread very fast especially if there is succession planting. Greenhouses usually have a double door entry to try to keep the bugs out and also keep more of the heat in. You probably don't need it but when we have long greenhouses fans on both ends improves air circulation. All of our bugs start on the plants in the middle in the green house that has fans on just one end. Fans on one end blow air into the greenhouse and fans directly opposite are run in reverse to help pull the air through and out again. It is also cooler in there for us humans. Some of the fans in the greenhouses are run on solar power because our electrical costs are high.
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