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Thread: Greenhouse Update

  1. #561
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    That is one heck of a set-up.
    In the US this perverted idea of “blood and soil” over “constitutional principles” is the most radical and anti-democratic and anti-Conservative idea I have heard in my lifetime.

    ~C. Ross

  2. #562
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    Thanks! Here's a bit more on the temperature control setup.

    As you can see by comparing the indoor and outdoor temps, there are some broad temperature gradients involved.



    34.9°F is a mild outdoor reading for midwinter. On a clear, cold day, it might be 5°F outdoors and 90+ inside. There are thermally driven ceiling vents that I set to open just a crack, while usually block the intake vents.



    When the outside air is cold, a direct draft can damage or kill tomato plants. (The plant shown is a goji berry I started from a cutting.)

    Besides the Taylor digital thermometer, I have others to help me balance the heat—



    A soil probe thermometer shows the temperature of the main thermal mass, a rammed sand floor, 12' x 12' x 3' deep. I laid down a mat of reflectix slab insulation and 2" foamboard before filling it. The soil temp outdoors is around 10°F, so the combination of direct solar input and heat from the flat-plate collector maintains the floor temp within a decent range for plant growth.

    The wired probes for the Taylor digital thingie quit working after a year or two underwater, so I went to a pet shop and got a cheap aquarium thermometer. The reflection obscures the 9: the water i the 400 gallon heatsink under the floor is 98.3°F. I usually start pumping warm water through the floor when there's 20°F difference in the temperatures.



    The one thing missing is a photo of the combination temperature/pressure gauge on the glycol loop that conveys heat from the flat plate collector through coils of PEX tubing to the water in the big heatsink. The pressure ranges from 10 psi up to 20 on sunny days, and the incoming fluid reads 100°F up to 140°F or so.

    All this is fairly automatic, so I don't have to dash out to the greenhouse every time the sun goes behind a cloud. The main thing that needs watching is when the flat-plate collector is clear, heating the lycol solution, while the 20W PV panel which drives the pump is covered with thick frost or snow. It's blown up twice under those conditions (popping the end of the PEX tubing out of a joint). The fix is to cover the collector, refit the tubing at the joint, recharge the loop (glycol and water) using a drill pump, and then start it up again.

    Worth the trouble, I reckon. Here's yesterday's pick—

    We're merely mammals. Let's misbehave! —Cole Porter

  3. #563
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    The strawberries have been looking sad, with reddish edges on the leaves, which eventually wither. I suspected a soil fungus, owing to wetness, so I lifted the plants, then scrubbed the pots and doused them with boiling water. They have built-in drip cups underneath, that hold water and keep the base of the pots damp. So I popped those off and put a gravel/sand mix in the bottom of each pot, for drainage. Then they they were refilled with new soil.



    The bed of greens is getting jungly. Maybe a good night for kale.
    We're merely mammals. Let's misbehave! —Cole Porter

  4. #564
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    Quote Originally Posted by Portland View Post
    We have only experienced our greenhouse over a hot summer, so far.
    If you scroll back to the early pages, there are photos of the passive vent system, which depends on thermally-powered pistons to open and close vents. Since our summer air temps seldom exceed 28°C, the low-to-high venting keeps the inside air below the point of damage for most plants, although spinach tends to bolt quickly.

    A further passive measure is to use reflective net panels stretched over the roof and sun-facing walls. Greenhouse growers in warm climates often have big tip-out side panels (which allow bugs in, alas) or blowers on thermostats, or even evaporative coolers.
    We're merely mammals. Let's misbehave! —Cole Porter

  5. #565
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip-skiff View Post
    Thanks! Here's a bit more on the temperature control setup.

    The one thing missing is a photo of the combination temperature/pressure gauge on the glycol loop that conveys heat from the flat plate collector through coils of PEX tubing to the water in the big heatsink. The pressure ranges from 10 psi up to 20 on sunny days, and the incoming fluid reads 100°F up to 140°F or so.

    All this is fairly automatic, so I don't have to dash out to the greenhouse every time the sun goes behind a cloud. The main thing that needs watching is when the flat-plate collector is clear, heating the lycol solution, while the 20W PV panel which drives the pump is covered with thick frost or snow. It's blown up twice under those conditions (popping the end of the PEX tubing out of a joint). The fix is to cover the collector, refit the tubing at the joint, recharge the loop (glycol and water) using a drill pump, and then start it up again.

    Worth the trouble,
    Once again, excellent thread. Thank you.

    The other thing that's missing is a relief valve, or better yet, an expansion tank designed for hot water systems. For $35, a 4.5 gal tank can absorb 2 gallons of expansion before it hits 20 psi. There is an even less expensive 2 gal one at HD, but it's hard to tell if it has a valve stem to adjust the starting pressure, and they don't say what the preset is. The 4.5 gal tank is precharged to 12.5 psi and the lump on the bottom of the pic looks like a valve stem. The rubber parts are butyl, so glycol should not have any effect on them.

    This is an easily searched example with a picture. I don't know enough to recommend any specific brand:
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Series-E...T-30/100579128
    Management is the art of counting beans. Leadership is the art of making every being count. --Joe Finch

  6. #566
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    Quote Originally Posted by MN Dave View Post
    The other thing that's missing is a relief valve, or better yet, an expansion tank designed for hot water systems.
    Sharp eye. The pressure/expansion tank is hidden under the floor, by the end of the 400 gal. heatsink. I try to run the glycol loop between 10-20 psi.

    There are also two relief valves on the flat plate collector, at the upper right and lower right corners:



    The lower one is a standard fluid pop valve, like you'd use on a water heater. The upper one helps to exhaust air bubbles or something. The glycol loop has blown up only once, when the flat palte collector was clear of snow while the small PV panel was covered, so the fluid was being heated but not pumped. I go out and check most mornings to prevent a repeat ka-blooey.
    We're merely mammals. Let's misbehave! —Cole Porter

  7. #567
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    What to do for Earth Day? Celebrate with fresh-picked tomatoes and greens!



    This is an unidentified volunteer plant that sprouted in a bed of spinach. I don't recall growing anything of the sort: indeterminate, dark red, variegated, tendency for cat-facing and cracks. Rich, winy taste.

    Here's another mystery guest:



    Indeterminate, yellow-orange, clusters, ovate and slightly pointed. The yellow tomatoes I grew that volunteered like mad, Galina, are determinate, smaller, yellower, and lack the point. Haven't tasted this yet, as it's only just ripening. I have to decide whether to name these and save seeds to see if it breeds true.

    On the tail of winter, the tomatoes were bushy and rank, so I started some new plants and then did a savage pruning to let in some light.



    The garlic rows in the center bed will soon be set outdoors, to see if I can get usable garlic. I used to grow top-setting garlic, which these ain't: just some from the market that were sprouting in the cupboard. The San Marzano type tomatoes at right are a couple years old, and the fruit has gotten rather small. I'll cull one plant and prune the other two, to see if they'll buck up. There's one Sun Gold tomato that's been cut back to the stump about five times, and it still produces good fruit.



    The original stem is about 2"/5cm thick. Here's a shot from before it was pruned. The fruit is round, medium orange, low acid, and very sweet. Kids love it.



    Here are two more, with a black cherry tomato on the left that's been amazing both for vigour and fruit. Note the old, thick stem.



    The other is an unknown volunteer baby, that's grown really fast and is just flowering.

    (More on page two.)
    We're merely mammals. Let's misbehave! —Cole Porter

  8. #568
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    This is a black plum tomato, setting smaller fruit. I'm guessing that the first unknown variety is a crossbreed of this and the Moskvich, a red heirloom with a point.



    The plants were intermingled.

    In the center bed, besides the garlic there's mixed lettuce. I just planted greens, including the Hakurei Japanese turnip that Sibbo recommended (L), that came up a day-and-a-half later.



    Here 'tis on day 3—



    Easter egg radishes (tri-coloured, L) and two rows of Hakurei turnip.

    Must be harvest time for the Aussies and Kiwis.
    We're merely mammals. Let's misbehave! —Cole Porter

  9. #569
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    Do you ever graft tomatoes ?
    I'm thinking of trying as I have a soil borne disease that kills tomato plants just as they begin to set fruit. I've recently successfully grafted eggplants onto a disease resistant weed species root stock, the results should be good.
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

  10. #570
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterSibley View Post
    Do you ever graft tomatoes ?
    I'm thinking of trying as I have a soil borne disease that kills tomato plants just as they begin to set fruit. I've recently successfully grafted eggplants onto a disease resistant weed species root stock, the results should be good.
    I've grown plants from cuttings, but never tried grafting. So far, the tomatoes are free of disease and pests, unlike peppers, beans, cukes, and other plants that are prey to aphids and a mosaic virus. I thought about grafting several varieties onto one rootstock, for a plant that bears 3 or 4 different sorts of tomatoes. But that would be a stunt, and the tomato gods might take offence.
    We're merely mammals. Let's misbehave! —Cole Porter

  11. #571
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    This the way I've done it , both are solinacae.

    <span style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: small;">
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
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  12. #572
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    Such a progress in such a short period of time. My congratulations. Excellent tomatoes btw
    I noticed on the pics you show equipment, and also noticed a lawn. You use a lawn mower machine or its weed eater?
    Thanks.
    Last edited by Johnywallter; 06-05-2018 at 01:27 PM.

  13. #573
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterSibley View Post
    This the way I've done it , both are solinacae.

    <span style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: small;">
    That has worked very well, the eggplants are simple to graft if the temperatures are warm, as are tomatoes. I've grafted the tomatoes on because i have a wilt in the soil here that kills tomatoes but the devil's fig will survive and support the tomato top growth.
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
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  14. #574
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    I've had no disease or blight problems with tomatoes. They love our greenhouse, and the big problem is keeping them pruned back so I can get inside.

    I did try some grafts, for fun, on commercial rootstocks, and none of them survived. I'll post some pix of the current crop when I'm not so busy.
    We're merely mammals. Let's misbehave! —Cole Porter

  15. #575
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    I'm happy, the grafted eggplants have started flowering !
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

  16. #576
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    Hope the eggplants are doing well. Just picked a monster tomato. (The one on the right is a normal really big tomato.)



    Not sure what to call it. It grew from a volunteer sprout in the lettuce bed, and looked healthy so I transplanted it, and zoom! Earlier fruit from this plant has been exceptional for flavour, but often imperfect: catfaced, cracked, weirdly-shaped, etc.

    I suspect it's a cross of one of the black varieties I grow and a Russian heirloom called Moskvich, but who knows? That's part of the fun.
    We're merely mammals. Let's misbehave! —Cole Porter

  17. #577
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    Picked the tomatoes pictured above.



    The enormous one was starting to crack. It was big enough for two salads (with greenhouse baby lettuce and cuke) and was delicious.

    Deep, spicy taste, without being acid. Juicy, but firm.

    Guess I'll save the seeds.
    We're merely mammals. Let's misbehave! —Cole Porter

  18. #578
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    Copied this from another thread.

    Last year, someone posted about villagers in some hot place using old soda bottles to fabricate breeze panels to help ventilate their homes.

    By facing the large openings to the breeze, it increases the air velocity coming from the small ends, increasing the airflow. I thought it was interesting and did a quick mock-up (at bottom) for a test in my greenhouse.



    While the effect was noticeable, it really didn't move all that much air. So I thought about it and built an improved version (above), using jugs with a square cross-section to capture airflow over the entire surface.



    Used a hole-saw on a scrap of polycarbonate and attached the jugs with construction adhesive, then taped the cut edges together with clear packing tape.



    This one actually works pretty well for pushing cool air. Maybe not so good where there are lots of mosquitoes.

    We're merely mammals. Let's misbehave! —Cole Porter

  19. #579
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    How much do you think it improved the air flow over just an open panel?
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
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  20. #580
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterSibley View Post
    How much do you think it improved the air flow over just an open panel?
    Hard to tell. The current of air can be felt a meter or two away. But since the greenhouse has three other inlet vents and four outlet vents in the roof, there's no point where it can be measured.

    What I might do, at some point, is get a cardboard carton the same size as the panel, stick it in one end, and then measure the temperature inside the box. First, in the full sun with both ends closed. Then with both ends open. Last with one end open and the breeze panel in the other.
    We're merely mammals. Let's misbehave! —Cole Porter

  21. #581
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    Threads like this are why I enjoy this place.

    Jeff C

  22. #582
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    It's been a while. Might as well get one in before the New Year.

    Planted greens and herbs for the winter garden.



    Top to bottom, L to R: 1) sage, thyme, kitty grass. 2) bunching onions. 3) hakurei turnips, kale. 4) radishes, lettuce. 5)radishes, spinach, rocquette.






    Got a new tomato from Johnny's, called Sunrise Bumblebee (wowzer!) It's a two-tone variety that ripens a wild orange and red.



    More Bees—



    With the solar collector working, the thermal mass of the floor stays 50-60°F. With radiant ceiling heat, tomatoes do fine, even when it's around zero outdoors. If it gets really cold, a little propane floor heater does the trick.

    The roma tomatoes have been producing well. They usually stand 2-3 cycles of fruiting and pruning, and are 1-1/2 - 2 years old when they lose their vigour.



    Here's a Christmas wreath of tomatoes:

    We're merely mammals. Let's misbehave! —Cole Porter

  23. #583
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterSibley View Post
    I'm happy, the grafted eggplants have started flowering !
    and fruiting now, good fruit too.
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

  24. #584
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    Love this thread.
    In the US this perverted idea of “blood and soil” over “constitutional principles” is the most radical and anti-democratic and anti-Conservative idea I have heard in my lifetime.

    ~C. Ross

  25. #585
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    Quote Originally Posted by McMike View Post
    Love this thread.
    Glad to hear it!

    I mentioned the roma tomatoes that have been excellent, a Russian heirloom called 'Peasant" that I got from Seeds Trust.



    I started saving seeds from the best plants. These are from seeds saved in 2010 or so. I've still got some of the original batch, and usually plant one or two.



    These plants are in their second fruiting cycle, after a severe pruning. They usually go three cycles before losing their oomph.

    This is another Russian heirloom, Moskvich, medium-sized, very regular and firm, yet tasty. They also benefit from pruning.



    Here's a black plum tomato that self-seeds pretty often. This plant was a volunteer (from compost) in a strawberry pot.




    Here's the next generation:

    We're merely mammals. Let's misbehave! —Cole Porter

  26. #586
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    I also greatly enjoy this thread as I am an avid gardener.

    Peace,
    Robert

  27. #587
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    Harvest in the winter garden.

    The spinach is already bolting. Radishes need thinning out. Still early days for lettuce, bunching onions and kale.



    This variety, D'Avignon, has been excellent both indoors and out.



    The tops are good in salad. Despite bolting, the spinach is very sweet and tender.



    Fresh greens in winter: hard to argue with that.
    We're merely mammals. Let's misbehave! —Cole Porter

  28. #588
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    Mr.Chip, what would it cost me to get seed or one of those Black cherry maters?
    "para todo mal, mezcal, y para todo bien también" (for everything bad, mezcal, and for everything good, as well.)

  29. #589
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobby of Tulsa View Post
    Mr.Chip, what would it cost me to get seed or one of those Black cherry maters?
    I got the seeds from Johnny's. Really good flavor. The plants are tall and sprawly, but produce really well and can stand a lot of pruning. I also like their Sun Gold tomatoes: super sweet. Both hybrids, so I've not tried to save seeds.






    http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetable...matoes#start=1
    We're merely mammals. Let's misbehave! —Cole Porter

  30. #590
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    Default Re: Greenhouse Update

    Thanks Chip, I want to get some of them this spring.
    "para todo mal, mezcal, y para todo bien también" (for everything bad, mezcal, and for everything good, as well.)

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