kathgilliam
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Houston Greenhouse

I have had a vegetable garden in an old dog run in the backyard a few years. We have three serious issues: Critters, torrential rain, hellish heat. What isn't eaten or drowned burns up. : )

I have chain link surrounding the dog run (which ironically is now used to keep the dogs OUT) and I used PVC pipe, u joints and cable locks to make an arched roof/sides. I'm kind of at a loss now what to use to cover it. If I use light filtering cloth, will enough sunlight get in? If I use plastic, will I faint when I enter it? If I vent it, won't it allow the varmints to get in?

I have to tell the original poster that I am in the same boat with him!

Kath
Not sure if I garden to grow things or to build things. Really enjoy ponding too.

Bobberman
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Vent it with a screen!. By plastic 10 by 25- 4 mill at Wal Mart for $8 and double layer it. Just replace it every year for that price. Just staple the plastic to boards!
I enjoy fishing ,gardening and a solar greenhouse! carpet installation repair and sales for over 45 years! I am the inventor of the Bobber With A Brain - Fishing Bobber!

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Kisal
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Hi, Kath! :)

What kind of critters are you having a problem with? Your greenhouse must be vented, or the heat will cook your plants. Plus, if you were to keep it tightly closed, insects couldn't get in to pollinate the flowers, and you would have a poor crop ... if any.

I think I would opt for shade cloth, considering how warm it can get in your area during the summer. But tell me about the critter problem first, okay? :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

Bobberman
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i guess you want to convert t into a greenhouse in the winter right? I use my greenhouse all summer and grow plants in it for the following winter. I will let my tomatoes grow till dec this year and maybe even longer! Screens around the bottom allow air to come in and a screen at a top point will vent it! I have window screens 30 inches by 6 feet alum! They work great!
I enjoy fishing ,gardening and a solar greenhouse! carpet installation repair and sales for over 45 years! I am the inventor of the Bobber With A Brain - Fishing Bobber!

kathgilliam
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Thanks for the help! Critters so far have been birds, Mosquitos the size of birds, raccoons, possums, squirrels and beagles. Last year I had a patio tomato that seemed to be the only thing making, and I was eagerly watching the first fruit ripen. I was thinking, "One more day ought to do it," when one of my beagles walked by and ate that tomato in one bite.

I have decided to use shade cloth, since I had a couple of rolls leftover. I'm a little worried that it won't get enough sun, more because of a gigantic oak we have in that spot. So I'm going to put in a window or three that I can roll back.

Can you introduce pollinating, non biting insects and get the job done?
Not sure if I garden to grow things or to build things. Really enjoy ponding too.

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Kisal
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I had to chuckle about the tomato-stealing beagle. I had a friend who couldn't figure out why her cucumbers never bore fruit, until she caught her German shepherd eating them right off the vine. My Lab mix loves to swipe tomatoes, too. I had a Komondor who loved to eat all the blueberries off my bushes. I had to fence her away from them, not only because I wanted some berries, too, but because I couldn't very well walk into the show ring with a Kom with a purple face! :lol:

Could you describe your dog run -- size, fencing, etc. -- or post a few photos of it? That might help us come up with some good suggestions. Also, list what you're growing. Tomatoes are easy to hand pollinate. You just have to shake the flowering branches with your hands. Other plants can be more difficult without insect helpers.
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

kathgilliam
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Absolutely! The dog run is 15 by 10 by 10...at least the yard part of it. I have a lead in that is concrete which I use as a potting station and storage.

Here is a pic of the frame...I haven't sewn the cover yet. That's tomorrow.

[url]https://gallery.me.com/kathgilliam#100038[/url]
Not sure if I garden to grow things or to build things. Really enjoy ponding too.

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Kisal
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I wonder if it might be too shady there, shaded by both the house and the tree. Does it, perhaps, get direct sun in the morning? That would be ideal, I think.

Personally, I don't think I would cover it with anything just yet. (Is that 6' chain link, or is it shorter? It's hard for me to tell.) Have you actually seen any kind of wildlife inside the run yet?

If the run gets no more than 6 hours of direct full sun every day, it might be better just to roof it over with something like plastic deer fencing. That should keep out everything except insects and smaller rodents. Unless your area has a problem with roof rats, as exists in some parts of Florida, I think even the smaller rodents would go for easier fare, before bothering your veggies. A determined rodent would be more likely just to dig under the fence, anyway, rather than climbing it and gnawing through whatever you use as a cover. (Is the chain-link set in or on cement footings? That's how I had mine built, so I'm just curious.)

If the run gets less than 6 hours of unobstructed sun every day, I think you might want to consider moving it to a more open location. Most plants that produce fruit, like tomatoes and cucumbers, need a minimum of 6 hours of full sun each day. In your area, morning sun would be kindest to the plants when the temperature is high.

You could cover the greenhouse with heavy plastic in the fall, removing it in the spring, to extend your growing season and, perhaps, grow cool-season veggies during the winter.

(I garden in my dog run, too, btw! ;) )
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

kathgilliam
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Can you tell we haven't trimmed the tree for a couple of years? We have branches hanging over the end of our pool, almost touching the water. Tree trimming is imminent.

Usually we just take off the low hanging branches and thin it all over. It gives us more sun in the run, but not that much. Unfortunately there is no other place to put the garden except IN the pool...we have enormous oak trees everywhere, and a palm that is over 100 feet tall. I guess he decided the only way to get some sun was to go above the canopy!

There is morning sun, I'm not sure how many hours. Long enough for it to get brutally scorching in there. I have seen squirrels and birds eating the garden, and I've seen possums walking the fence right beside it. I imagine it wasn't too hard for them to hop in for a bite. They were probably more interested in the insects in there than the plants, right? We had a raccoon on the roof, but I'm only assuming that he would partake. Now he will no doubt be eating the goldfish from the pond instead (just put in a pond yesterday.)

I hear what you are saying. I probably won't have a very successful garden, and I haven't the past few years. I was hoping it was due to the heat and floods and interlopers, but maybe it's the lack of sun. The best luck I've had is putting the tomatoes in containers and putting them up on a workbench in the lead in section of the dog run. I can't put them on the ground because the cement just radiates heat and they are burned up in a day.

I have had good luck with okra, beans, squash and cucumbers. I've already bought my plants, so I guess I'll return the shade cloth and net myself $80! I'm still going to think about this and what could be done. I'm going to observe and log that sunlight, too!

That's so cool that you use your dogrun too!

(Oh, in answer to your other questions, yes, 6' high, and sunk in concrete. That baby ain't going nowhere!)
Not sure if I garden to grow things or to build things. Really enjoy ponding too.

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Kisal
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My plants are in containers on a bench in the run, because the dogs are in there, too. The Lab doesn't really do any damage, just eats the tomatoes. The little dog, though, jumps into the containers and digs. They used to have the run of the whole backyard, until the little dog turned it into such a mess of craters that you could have lost a semi in the place. I had to have the entire thing re-landscaped, and now the dogs use the run, unless I'm out in the yard with them to supervise those busy little earth-moving paws. :roll:
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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