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The Big Greenhouse Project

After acquiring the property across the road from our place (September '07), we decided that the nice flat field would be an ideal location for a real greenhouse. Looking from our driveway, the entrance is just a couple hundred feet away.

From the entrance gate, you can see the greenhouse site. The design consists of rigid steel ribs in a rounded quanset-hut style covered with polycarbonate plastic sheeting.

There's room for another unit in the future. But for now we planted several fruit trees along the edge. This area had already been graded for use as a horse parade ground. So, we had very little site preparation.

Here you can see the layout: 30 x 72 feet. My motto: never have a garden any bigger than your wife can take care of.

The ribs are tied together with square steel stringers that will also support the sprinkler system and wiring runs for the fans.

Now it's starting to take shape. With ends covered and the sliding doors ready to hang.

The first overhead panel!

We decided to use solar once again. Only two panels this time, just enough to run our well pump. These are 24 volt 135 watt panels wired in series is just enough to run the DC submersible pump which starts at only 30 volts.

We did have an underground service installed just in case...

We have 22 12x3 foot grow boxes filled with a mix of sawdust and composted manuer and black top soil. For starters, we got some tomato plants, broccoli and bell peppers already to plant. The rest are all seeds: peas, beans, kale, cucumbers, radishes, lettuce, spinach, corn and more!

Now you can see the fans and the two watering hoses on trollies.

On the back wall, you can see the exhaust fan which kicks on when the temperature reaches 85 degrees inside. There are five thermostates dangling from the center which control this fan, the 4 circulating fans which come on when the temperature drops below 45. The propane heater then comes on to keep the plants from freezing.

The well was drilled right beside the greenhouse and delivers 20 gallons a minute. Though the solar pump system only produces about 4. Still, the 350 gallon water tank fills in less than 2 hours.

For right now, we are using AC to run the pressure pump, but it only draws 400 watts. We could add a couple batteries, a charger-inverter and use all that extra sunshine to handle this as well.

The water tank is buried just over the bank.
We'll cover it even more before next winter.

Two float switches control the well pump and the pressure pump.