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greenhouse Mini-Greenhouse/Hoophouse Ideas?

I've decided I can get my plants out at least 6 weeks earlier before plant out if I have some type of mini-greenhouse/ or hoophouse. At this point, my plants only take up a 4x4 area under an HPS bulb. Outside shouldn't be any different, as far as the total area is concerned, should it? Any ideas for a simple build? Or, should I just buy some prefab unit? I guess I would need to run a heater at night, so the smaller I can keep the mini-greenhouse, the less energy for heat. At this point I'm hauling some of the plants up 9 flights of stairs in the morning to go outside for 3-4 hours before I have to haul them back downstairs, and leave for work. It's getting old, quick. I'm open to any ideas for a quick and easy build that can be torn down easily, too. Thanks.
 
howdy, i'm in a similar situation, but different as i need shade for about 50 manzanos. so i thought i would share my hoop house plan. i'll make a 4'x8' rectangle with scrap 2"x4"s (bare with me i'm not a plumber not sure of the right name) use the pipe hanger or pipe mount things and 8' schedule 20 pvc spaced evenly for hoops. i plan to use two mounts per pipe end to help with flexing and mount to the inside or outside of 2"x4" rectangle. the differrence is i will cover with shade cloth but just as easily greenhouse plastic. hope my idea gives you a idea may your harvest be fat n hot.
 
 
hogleg
 
I take it you have a rooftop garden, or you live in one deep ass basement!
 
A neighbor I used to have a while back had custom built cold frames for his raised beds on the roof of our building.  His were 4' x 4' x 4' made out of three 2x4s that were 12' long.  Each 2x4 was cut into 4' lengths.  When joined they made a square 4' x 4' frame that he staple gunned clear plastic all around.  Looked kinda like this.
 
Another idea I had for a cheapie DIY cold frame would be something with PVC like this.  In any case both would be pretty cheap to construct, but without knowing the circumstances of your grow its hard to advise you.  There are many cheapie plastic front zippered 'green houses' on amazawn that might work too. Ultimately I ended up with something a bit more like this for one of my 5x5 raised beds.  It's worked pretty well thus far.  
 
For a quick and cheap DIY heater for the hoophouse I'd advise a 5 gallon bucket.  Paint it entirely black inside and out, fill with water and put it into the sun with the plants.  It will absorb heat all day and then release it at night.  
 
u can just make a small enclosed space(2x4 s with clear painters dropcloth surrounding or anything like that), And if your area has electrical outlets you can put a small space heater in that space. Rocks, Water tubs are known for storing thermal energy during the day to slowly release at night.
 
hogleg said:
howdy, i'm in a similar situation, but different as i need shade for about 50 manzanos. so i thought i would share my hoop house plan. i'll make a 4'x8' rectangle with scrap 2"x4"s (bare with me i'm not a plumber not sure of the right name) use the pipe hanger or pipe mount things and 8' schedule 20 pvc spaced evenly for hoops. i plan to use two mounts per pipe end to help with flexing and mount to the inside or outside of 2"x4" rectangle. the differrence is i will cover with shade cloth but just as easily greenhouse plastic. hope my idea gives you a idea may your harvest be fat n hot.
 
 
hogleg
Thanks. That's about what I had in mind.
SmokenFire said:
I take it you have a rooftop garden, or you live in one deep ass basement!
 
A neighbor I used to have a while back had custom built cold frames for his raised beds on the roof of our building.  His were 4' x 4' x 4' made out of three 2x4s that were 12' long.  Each 2x4 was cut into 4' lengths.  When joined they made a square 4' x 4' frame that he staple gunned clear plastic all around.  Looked kinda like this.
 
Another idea I had for a cheapie DIY cold frame would be something with PVC like this.  In any case both would be pretty cheap to construct, but without knowing the circumstances of your grow its hard to advise you.  There are many cheapie plastic front zippered 'green houses' on amazawn that might work too. Ultimately I ended up with something a bit more like this for one of my 5x5 raised beds.  It's worked pretty well thus far.  
 
For a quick and cheap DIY heater for the hoophouse I'd advise a 5 gallon bucket.  Paint it entirely black inside and out, fill with water and put it into the sun with the plants.  It will absorb heat all day and then release it at night.
Thanks for the links. It's looking like a 4x6 hoophouse would be ample. And yes, my plants are currently in a basement. I'm surprised a black bucket would be that effective at storing enough heat.
OKGrowin said:
u can just make a small enclosed space(2x4 s with clear painters dropcloth surrounding or anything like that), And if your area has electrical outlets you can put a small space heater in that space. Rocks, Water tubs are known for storing thermal energy during the day to slowly release at night.
Thanks. It's looking like the bucket/water tub idea is fairly common.

So, if the day temps are reaching into the 70-80s, and the nights dropping into the low 40s, am I better off leaving the plants under the 400 watt HPS lamp, indoors?

Do I leave the plants "covered" in the hoophouse even when temps reach 80, and beyond? Or, open it up during the day?
 
Tractor supply sells a small 4 shelf green house for 20 bucks. I had to take 2 shells out because my peppers got so tall .there is about45 pepper plants in it. And they seem to be doing ok with outside temps in the low 40's. I monitor the temp with a remote thermomator I picket up for10 bucks.



 
ArkansasJack said:
Tractor supply sells a small 4 shelf green house for 20 bucks. I had to take 2 shells out because my peppers got so tall .there is about45 pepper plants in it. And they seem to be doing ok with outside temps in the low 40's. I monitor the temp with a remote thermomator I picket up for10 bucks.
Thanks, Arkansas Jack. Two things I wonder about though with that set-up. The upper plants seem to block a good deal of sunlight to the lower plants. That's just how it looks to me. Also, many of my plants are already potted up to #1 pots, so, space could be an issue for me. I do like the price thouh.
 
I probably should be more concerned with cooking my plants than with having them freeze...So, if the air temp outside is 75F, and the hoophouse is covered, and closed with clear plastic, how much hotter will it get inside over a 5-6 hour period of direct sunlight? I will be using 10' lengths of pvc for the hoop part, atopa 6x4' frame.
 
Roguejim said:
I probably should be more concerned with cooking my plants than with having them freeze...So, if the air temp outside is 75F, and the hoophouse is covered, and closed with clear plastic, how much hotter will it get inside over a 5-6 hour period of direct sunlight? I will be using 10' lengths of pvc for the hoop part, atopa 6x4' frame.
i would say quite a bit if its not vented near the top during the day. deffinitly enuff to cook babies.
 
if theres room i would say go with black buckets of water save your money on e bill. ive seen big canna hoop houses with black plastic 60 gal drums on the sunny side work well with night temps in the thirties.
 
hogleg said:
i would say quite a bit if its not vented near the top during the day. deffinitly enuff to cook babies.
Yeah, but none of these small hoop houses I see have ventilation at the top.
 
i would check what kinda temps u get a little after midday in there. i get those little reptile tank temp and humidity gauges they come as a set at petco i think there like 7 or 8 bucks there cheapo spring activated but i have checked them with high end intruments and there pretty darn accurate between 40-90 on both i find them handy for germ domes, closets and situations like this.
 
is this on a roof and is it black? black surfaces can make lot of heat in direct sun.
 
No, right on the ground. Sun from about 9AM until about 3PM. Weather here is erratic, at times. I'm also wondering if day temps drop to say, 60F, am I better leaving the plants indoors under the 400 watt HPS. We had a week of 80F weather which got me thinking about a hoop house. Today, we had light rain, temps in the upper 60s. It's hard to make a decision.
 
lol i know what u mean we just had 25mph gusts out of nowwhere for about 2 hours this evenin.beat the the piss out of about a dozen of my manzanos the chinense did ok due to their squatness. i suspect i will have to stake them all up with chopsticks tomorrow
i would think low 60s in the sun would be fine though, u know what they say "get em out as soon as possible but harden em off slow" seems like a damn oxymoron though lol.
 
I did something like you describe for the last couple of years, and it seems to work well. Instead of using rocks or water buckets for thermal mass, after preparing the soil I fasten down an infrared transparent black plastic mulch on the ground where I want to set my plants (It would be a good idea to set up the soaker hose before this if you use one). The IRT mulch uses sunlight to passively heat the soil and create a warmer microclimate for your plants when the soil radiates that heat. Next, I punch holes in the plastic to plant the chiles, then set the half-inch PVC hoops directly in the ground. The ends of the PVC pipe are set a foot down and 5 feet apart, so I end up with hoops that are about waist high, and I space the hoops 2 feet apart. To make watering easier with a garden hose, I place 15 pound rocks on the ends of the plastic at each end of every hoop... that way I just shift the rocks along one side and pull the sheet poly off to the other side for ease of access.
http://thehotpepper.com/topic/35512-stickmans-2013-glog-time-to-pull-the-plug-on-2013/page-49#entry817159
 
Roguejim said:
 The upper plants seem to block a good deal of sunlight to the lower plants. 
 
 
the material these days even in little hobby greenhouses redirects the sunlight. meaning you cant really block the plants under as they are getting the same amount of sun than the ones on top. as you can tell in the picture all plants look green and healthy,"looking good Arkansas."
 
 
 
the sun hits the greenhouse and gets redirected evenly to the entire structure. that is the goal anyways.  
 
stickman said:
I did something like you describe for the last couple of years, and it seems to work well. Instead of using rocks or water buckets for thermal mass, after preparing the soil I fasten down an infrared transparent black plastic mulch on the ground where I want to set my plants (It would be a good idea to set up the soaker hose before this if you use one). The IRT mulch uses sunlight to passively heat the soil and create a warmer microclimate for your plants when the soil radiates that heat. Next, I punch holes in the plastic to plant the chiles, then set the half-inch PVC hoops directly in the ground. The ends of the PVC pipe are set a foot down and 5 feet apart, so I end up with hoops that are about waist high, and I space the hoops 2 feet apart. To make watering easier with a garden hose, I place 15 pound rocks on the ends of the plastic at each end of every hoop... that way I just shift the rocks along one side and pull the sheet poly off to the other side for ease of access.
http://thehotpepper.com/topic/35512-stickmans-2013-glog-time-to-pull-the-plug-on-2013/page-49#entry817159
 
Thanks, but the hoophouse would be a temporary home for my small potted plants, prior to plant out in my raised bed.  The hoophouse would be located next to the raised bed.  At least, that's the idea.  Do you think the growth in the hoophouse for the next 4-6 weeks would exceed the growth I would get indoors under the 400 watt HPS?  Is it worth the move?
sicman said:
 
 
the material these days even in little hobby greenhouses redirects the sunlight. meaning you cant really block the plants under as they are getting the same amount of sun than the ones on top. as you can tell in the picture all plants look green and healthy,"looking good Arkansas."
 
 
 
the sun hits the greenhouse and gets redirected evenly to the entire structure. that is the goal anyways.  
 Thanks for the clarification. 
 
Well, after talking with the local Grangr Co Op, and the local hydro store, I would gain little, if anything, by pulling my plants from under their 400 watt HPS light, and putting them into a hoop house for the 4-5 weeks. Tenuous weather is a real concern here. They're better off in their controlled environment until plant out. Thanks.
 
Roguejim said:
Well, after talking with the local Grangr Co Op, and the local hydro store, I would gain little, if anything, by pulling my plants from under their 400 watt HPS light, and putting them into a hoop house for the 4-5 weeks. Tenuous weather is a real concern here. They're better off in their controlled environment until plant out. Thanks.
 
Agreed... More lumens from sunlight, but more hours from the HPS... and more controllable conditions as you said. I just like to get mine in the soil outside as soon as possible so they can start digging in the roots. I get bigger plants and yields down the road that way. Cheers!
 
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