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Old 01-29-2015, 03:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Kinda simple greenhouses and low tunnels

Greenhouses are amazingly useful structures that can be employed for a multitude of uses. Here on our little farmstead we have used them for everything from naturally lit repair sheds to animal shelters, rain out party protection, fish tank covers, composting sheds, rabbitry, pig barn, hay storage, birthing shed, oh yeah... and we grow plants in them as well. One of their best attributes is that because of their potential simplicity of construction many jurisdictions are pretty liberal in terms of permitting their use, often with no real permits of plans. Part of the key in most areas to skirting the more complicated plan review weir is to keep the structure simple enough to be able to claim it as being a temporary structure, even if you have no intentions of ever moving it.

The smallest scale of usable varieties can be as simple as a series of hog or cattle panels bent into an inverted half pipe and joined together with hog rings, or even whip stitched together with cordage such as nylon sash cord or even synthetic bailing twine before covering them with plastic film. We use 50" x 16' long sections of cattle feedlot panels that when used to house broiler chickens, may be minimally bent to create a 9-10' wide, low roofed enclosure. For a hoop house tall enough for people to work under the panel ends may be brought in closer to form a 7-8' width and significantly more headroom. I actually do use several of this type as quail flights as well as storing mowers and a small tractor in.

Dimensional lumber is screwed together with all weather deck screws to form a 2"x4" or 2"x6" rectangular frame to contain the panels. This is easiest to do if you lay the panels flat of the ground and attach the short end of each panel to the longest side pieces of lumber using 1-1/2" to 1-3/4" galvanized fence staples. The long sides of each additional panel are then laced or hog ringed together forming one large flat rectangle. We don't go beyond 16' long because that's the longest length lumber that we usually mill, but if you've the means to find longer cheap or for free, by all means go for it.

Once you have the panels attached to the side rail lumber, and tied or ringed together, the two sides are walked in toward each other until the desired width is reached. This is easier to do if you perform the work next to a building, or out in the field we'll drive a few rebar stakes in along the outside of the rail to keep it from sliding away as we walk the bow into the structure from the opposite side.

We use structures like these for everything from temporary animal nurseries, to chicken tractors, to portable pig arcs, but they also work nicely as easily relocated covers for raised bed gardens or even simply as stand alone mini greenhouses. We like the latter for putting out early greens and cole crops because our permanent raised beds are 4' wide with a 2' mulched path between each. We use the hog panel hoops formed into 8' x 16' low tunnels to allow us to work inside the enclosure from either side of the bed. Not all of our beds are used used at that time so the enclosure can easily be positioned with a long side on each side of the desired bed. By incorporating the extra protection along with Wall-O-Water jackets on each plant therein we've been able to start setting out more temperature sensitive crops like tomatoes and pepper plants without extra heat or issue as early as the first week of March here in Zone 6. That's waaay early and has us ready to start setting fruit on well rooted and mature plants the very first day that the bees get busy.

My favorite covering, Solexx, is admittedly pricey, but its flexibility and ease of workability make it more than worth the extra expense in the long run. It also has the highest "R" rating of any available glazing that will still pass adequate light. It's hail proof, but can be easily cut with a razor knife/box cutter. It's strength allows it to be used on bows 4' apart (with intermediate perlins of cabling every 4' perpendicular to the bows, which can help pay for itself by not requiring more closely spaced hoops. Unlike all of the plastic sheeting that I am aware of it can be used in direct contact with galvanized hoops with causing degradation, and even though they sell trim molding for the product they are completely unnecessary. The 50" width allows the panels to over lap each other by two inches on 4' centers, and then simply run in self tapping/drilling galvanized screws with neoprene washers on them for a weather and windproof connection that also forms a seriously rigid structural form.

The panels are pretty slick, so they easily shed snow and water, plus they have greater structural integrity than the films as well, making them ideal for high wind applications. It also comes with a 10 year warranty, and having had some panels now in use for 8 growing seasons, I can confidently say that I expect at least another 4 without issue, and we're in a very high wind load area. The best poly film we've used here might give us two years, but three is dicey because of the beating that the wind gives it. Installation wise there's no comparison.

Our main greenhouse is 32' wide x 96' long, and a full windless day is required for at least 6 people to re-cover that with a double layer of poly film. Fine if we have friends or family over but generally there's only three of us here on any given day, so the Solexx also provides small crew capabilities. I've done several smaller structures with no assistance at all. Can't do that with poly film on all but the calmest day and smallest structures. Too bad it's so bloody expensive.

Feedlot Panel, Cattle, 16 ft. L x 50 in. H - Tractor Supply Co.

Solexx XP, Per Linear Foot - Search Results | Greenhouse Megastore

One last bit about the Solexx material. We used to have excessively nosey visitors to our neighborhood, both by land and by air, and although we had nothing illegal going on inside, it was always an especially nice treat that the Solexx lets in a fully diffused light that eliminates UV while preventing hot spots or shadowing, AND it's opaque! Nobody outside can see anything inside unless you invite them in... or unless they have a warrant.
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Old 01-29-2015, 06:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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What's a hog ring or cattle panel?
That's a huge green house dude. I would probably be more inclined to have several smaller houses with different functions.
I want to build a cold wood smoker for fish and game.
My wife has a recipe for candied salmon that uses maple syrup and brown sugar that tastes unbelievably like the tears of god!
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Old 01-29-2015, 08:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Feedlot Panel, Cattle, 16 ft. L x 50 in. H - Tractor Supply Co.

Producer's Pride® Decker's Hump Hill's Shoat Rings, Pack of 100 - Tractor Supply Co.

It's actually being reconfigured to a double wide gutter connected type 46' long and 62' wide (less exposed square footage reduces heat loss). One side is (5) 4' wide x 40' long double decker aquaponic beds. The bottoms are 12" deep DWC lettuce raft beds. The tops are hip high 12" deep beds with Bell siphon ebb & flow beds filled with basalt gravel. The other side is quail flights, brooders, bug racks, and sundry stuff.

How big a greenhouse ya need?

Our big smoker is all recycled junk. Cut down oak pallet floor, re-purposed walk in cooler wall panel sides, corrugated tin roof. The burn chamber is a 30 gallon drum set down in a pit that uses a buried piece of old culvert pipe to carry the smoke into the floor pallet. I cover the burn chamber pit with the other half of the roof tin. Found some stainless grates that I made clips for so we can smoke 5 gallons of jalapenos at a time. Done a lot of eel and 4 legged critters in it but not much fish. Looks like shit but it works real good.

Candied salmon... you lucky fucker...
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Old 01-29-2015, 08:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The two crazy fuckers are now conversing. Hide the children.
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Old 01-29-2015, 08:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I have a question? Not a greenhouse question but a question...

I have little space to grow a veggie garden and cannot damage the property so my solution is a portable garden. I want to use tupperwear bins.. The super large ones on wheels. I know how to set it all up.. Question is.. Do you think the plastic is damaging to the growing plant.. Like the chemicals from the plastic when it heats up in the sun can go into the growing plant through the root system?
Therefor going into human when eaten?

I have a huge full sun deck.. Going to grow a shit load.

Similar but larger bins.
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Old 01-29-2015, 10:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Most lumber yards have an old guy who saws wood to measure.
4 sheets of 4'x8' plywood 3/8 or 1/2 inch, cut lengthways 2 foot by 8 foot, gives you 8 2x8' sheets. 2 fronts, 2 backs and 2 bottoms.
cut the two remaining sheets into 4-2x2 squares(ends)
Screw them all together to form 2 rectangular boxes 8 feet long, 2 feet wide and 2 feet tall ,. the remaining 4 pieces can be screwed together in a 2x2x2 square with no bottom for deep root veggies like horse radish.
2x4s put in the corners give rigidity to the boxes
4 eight foot 2x4s cut into 2 foot sections should do the trick for bracing.
Makes nice weed free rectangular boxes 2 feet wide, 18 feet long, and 2 feet high so bending over is easy.
My son makes them and sells them to condo owners with patio's. He puts wheels on them so strata can be told they are portable, not permanent.
Total cost around 50 bucks .
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Old 01-29-2015, 10:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The two crazy fuckers are now conversing. Hide the children.
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Old 01-30-2015, 10:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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What he said. ^^^

We take rough sawn boards right off of the mill (usually 1"x10-12") screw them together to form 1' wide by 8-12' long grow boxes for the deck or patio borders. Staple H.D. weed guard fabric along the bottom, screw on a strip over the staples about 1-1/2" thick, and then add 2'x2' spreaders every 2' along the bottom to also help keep the weed fabric pretty taut. Filled with compost heavy sandy loam itgets pretty heavy and the fabric will stretch and sag til it hits the ground, but it stays put and drains well. Wrapped around a 16'x60' deck and grew more salad veg and herbs than we could eat just on the deck. Ran (2) 1/4" drip lines the length of them and added to the timer circuits. Didn't really have to do much all season but pick. The taller boxes/raised beds are nice for old fuckers like me, but even a foot high box beats crawling around on your hands and knees. Also made shallower and narrower versions that were joined with vertical 2"x3" to form a kind of saddlebag planter that I sit on the hand rails over the shorter plants. Even easier for strawberries, edible flowers, radishes, scallions and easy pickin' micro greens.

Saw a couple of planter ideas from down under that were pretty cool if you have water limitations. They build maybe a two foot deep box and depending upon the width of the planter, run a (1) or more pieces of 3-4" PVC across the bottom to an El at the end and then back up to ground level. They drill a crap load of 1/8" holes along the length of it and then just fill the pipe with water once a week. I'm pretty sure they were built bottomless though.

Plastic works okay, but just as with weed, hydro beats soil probably 40% or so overall. Rubbermaid totes with Toro micro shrub sprinkler in the tub, holes cut in the lid for net pots filled with Hydroton and lettuce or greens will grow very fast. You can use an aquarium pump to make it kinda self contained (this is what a lot of assholes sell as being "aeroponic", but it ain't). Similar stuff is available at WalMart as Home & Garden I think it's called. Another twist is to attach to a pressure reducer and timer to connect to a hose bib to eliminate the pump. Only issue there is you need a sequential timer that will cycle on for a couple of minutes two or three times an hour, maybe more depending on temps & transpiration. Lot's of possible variations.

Last twist on that same set up would be to go to Mist King pump and micro-droplet spray nozzles (2-4 micron droplet size). Add the sequential timer and now you are doing authentic aeroponics, which outperforms straight hydro methods, but has minimal tolerance for clogging or water delivery fails, so for something simple and easy like greens, scallions, some herbs, radishes and such maybe stop at the Toro set up. You can probably grow most of the above mentioned stuff with just some fish emulsion and liquid seaweed in the water. The Micro sprayer set up needs a pre-filter, but it should handle the fish emulsion solids with only occasional cleanings. I wouldn't bother with weed ferts just for greens and simple veg grow, but hey, if yer feelin' froggy... hardly organic though.

Another off the wall: grab a 75 gallon aquarium off of Craig's List (shouldn't be any more than a dollar a gallon at most). Cut a piece of recycled Styrofoam (XPS) about 17"x47" to float on top. Cut two rows of holes about a foot apart in the foam, drop in net baskets filled with hydroton and add lettuce or greens starts. Rockwool cubes work too. Now add some tilapia and you have a basic aquaponic set up. The plants will likely develop iron necrosis that you can fix with water soluble in very, very small doses without killing the fish. Carrying capacity is dependent upon filter efficiency, but without O2 enhancement tilapia will do okay up to about two gallons per pound, and are grown commercially at densities up to a pound per gallon (it looks like a giant ball of fish). If you've never been able to keep gold fish alive, or fish keeping in general is new to you, I would start with maybe a half dozen first time out, but ya still need a filter, the plants just help. The fish aspect is too much for right here, but me and my "crazy brother" will likely be discussing later in more detail elsewhere.
If you treat 'em right the tilapia can be harvested in 8-12 months depending on their feeding schedule and water quality.


Another cool thing you can do with the aquarium thing is fill it with snakeheads and keep'em hungry. Then when a vegan, union, liberal, stops by you can shove his face in the tank when he goes to pick some lettuce, and show him what fucking crazy really is...

If ya do make sure you get pics, or even better video. You could be a YouTube legend with a close up of the faces that he makes underwater as the snakeheads rip his cheeks off. Fun times huh?
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Old 01-30-2015, 10:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Come to think of it, at my first apt. I built a vertical lattice planter for salad fixin's that worked really good. Took a sheet of HD lattice and stapled heavy black plastic over the inside after cutting the sheet into two 4'x4' squares. The lattice squares were picture framed with two layers of 1" x 3" pine (basically four frames, two for each side, one inside and one outside of each lattice section sandwiching the lattice and plastic in place. Built a three sided four foot square box out of a 12' - 2"x10". Stood the box on its side with the open side facing up after attaching a framed lattice panel to each side. The box was then filled with soil and then I just cut a small square through the plastic with a razor knife in the inside of each lattice formed square to plant lettuce, radishes, scallions, spinach and greens on one side, and strawberries on the other. Across the top I planted carrots, a currant tomato plant, and a cuke plant. Took up about four square feet and grew plenty of greens for the two of us. Heavy mutha that was near impossible to move unless you half emptied it first, but I used it for two years without adding anything beyond the compost soil that I first filled it with.
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Old 01-30-2015, 10:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
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What he said. ^^^

Another cool thing you can do with the aquarium thing is fill it with snakeheads and keep'em hungry. Then when a vegan, union, liberal, stops by you can shove his face in the tank when he goes to pick some lettuce, and show him what fucking crazy really is...

If ya do make sure you get pics, or even better video. You could be a YouTube legend with a close up of the faces that he makes underwater as the snakeheads rip his cheeks off. Fun times huh?
I threw 3 aquariums out today for cracked glass. They were outside and had water in them when they froze and cracked,

Used to have a 3' Arrowana which given the right size pool will grow to 6 or 8 feet long. Fed it frogs and goldfish. they eat piranhas in the wild
Not really man eaters but I wouldn't go swimming in their pools with loose baggy shorts.
Had a snakehead who cleaned out my tank of all other fish. Expensive lesson. Reminded me of a Northern Pike.
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Old 01-31-2015, 01:45 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I threw 3 aquariums out today for cracked glass. They were outside and had water in them when they froze and cracked,

Used to have a 3' Arrowana which given the right size pool will grow to 6 or 8 feet long. Fed it frogs and goldfish. they eat piranhas in the wild
Not really man eaters but I wouldn't go swimming in their pools with loose baggy shorts.
No fuckin' shit!
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Had a snakehead who cleaned out my tank of all other fish. Expensive lesson. Reminded me of a Northern Pike.
Knew a dude that actually turned an entire room of his house into a ginormous tank for his Arrowanas. Lots of too big monster fish from that region that really have no business being kept in home aquaria. Built a tank for a guy that had a 3' Red Tailed cat that looked like it could eat a midget. Funny thing you mention piranha. I used to keep Blacks and Red Bellies years and years ago when I was dealin'. Had a couple of fuck ups that played money dumb who would get their hand or face shoved in the water (don't judge, it was a long time ago, and back then I was a full blown psychotic... I'm kinda sorta pretty much mo' better now). They would literally piss themselves, but even starving the fish didn't give a shit. I wouldn't think twice about sticking my hand in their tank to clean something. Snakeheads... no way. Sneaky and strong. A snakehead would bite in a heart beat, but not the piranha. Toothy fuckers that can breath air and crawl from mud hole to mud hole... pretty bad assed. Illegal as fuck here now thanks to Chinese knuckleheads releasing into the local waterways for good luck. Last I read they were taking over the Potomac.

Used to build and fix a lot of tanks, but these days I can't even be in the same room as the adhesive... or most any chemicals for that matter.

If you're experienced keeping them you're good to go with the aquaculture/aquaponics. Especially with the grow background.

I had a much smaller South American Arrowana that I couldn't keep in the tank. Squirrelly fucker could jump out of even the smallest hole. I'd come home and find it layin' on the floor of my fish room, toss him back in and sumbitch would act like it was nuthin'. Used to breed all kinds of tropicals and used him to clean up my culls.
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Old 01-31-2015, 01:52 AM   #12 (permalink)
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^ jumping in here on the aquarium thingy

we have an aquarium and it's all my responsibility to keep the water topped up feed the fish and turn off the light!!
the noise has been driving me nutz for yrs....i want it gone!!!.......always the sound of the water flowing, it's like some kind of chinese water torture test and i'm failing miserably

anybody using fish scales for art? or bones
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Old 01-31-2015, 01:53 AM   #13 (permalink)
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and i could use the head bones of a northern pike.....tradsies
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Old 01-31-2015, 02:00 AM   #14 (permalink)
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^ jumping in here on the aquarium thingy

we have an aquarium and it's all my responsibility to keep the water topped up feed the fish and turn off the light!!
the noise has been driving me nutz for yrs....i want it gone!!!.......always the sound of the water flowing, it's like some kind of chinese water torture test and i'm failing miserably

anybody using fish scales for art? or bones
Chill girl... just raise the water level to get rid of the water torture, and buy a cheap timer at WalFart. If the filter is noisy almost all have some sort of mag drive pump. Pull it apart and soak in white vinegar over night. Then re-grease the mag shaft/impeller with a really thin coat of silicone grease.

... or are you just looking for an excuse?

You know there are people that spend a shitload of money to live with that kind of ambiance.
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Old 01-31-2015, 05:16 AM   #15 (permalink)
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You know there are people that spend a shitload of money to live with that kind of ambiance
.

There's the noise of the water that keeps me up at night, the constant responsibility of being home and turning that light off and on. All these sounds from different apparatuses sounds more like white noise than the real thing!!

Plus.....the ferret is enuf.....i only want fish bones!
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Old 01-31-2015, 06:26 AM   #16 (permalink)
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and i could use the head bones of a northern pike.....tradsies
How big you want? You prefer a long St. Lawrence pike or a short fat mountain pike from Lake Placid area. I'll be fishing both locations in the next month.. I will have some walleye too, if them bones and heads will also work. Hopefully the border Nazis will allow you to cross back with them.
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Old 01-31-2015, 08:31 AM   #17 (permalink)
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The further north you go, the bigger the pike get. When I fish in the Arctic, anything under 3 feet is an embarrassment and thrown back.
Not me...
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Old 01-31-2015, 03:50 PM   #18 (permalink)
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The further north you go, the bigger the pike get. When I fish in the Arctic, anything under 3 feet is an embarrassment and thrown back.
Not me...
Fuck You!... (says the jealous southern bitch who has to resort to raising his own just to be able to eat fish that won't cause him to grow a third eye in the middle of his forehead).

I miss real snow too. All we get is this despicable snotty slop and shit that turns all of the locals into total fucktard four wheelers. They still don't get that un-studded tires on a four wheel drive still slides straight through the corner sheeted with black ice. Physics trumps in-breeding once again.


Nice fish... faggot!
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Old 01-31-2015, 03:52 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Just looked at that goddamn picture again. Fuck this... I'm sellin' everything in the Spring, buyin' a new camper and movin' to BC.
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Old 01-31-2015, 06:21 PM   #20 (permalink)
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There's a 5 ft beast here in our river too..he's a legend though.. Haven't seen him around for awhile.. People usually throw him back.. I believe some cidiot caught him and must have kept him.

Central Ontario rivers.
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