Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Greenhouse in the making

It all began nearly a year and a half ago.  Rod found this greenhouse listed on Craigslist:
Right at that time we were learning about the method of Hydroponics, and enjoying produce from Esbanshades Greenhouse, where they grow hydroponic veggies year round. (click for a quick description of hydroponics).  Rod looked into this listed greenhouse, did a little wheeling and dealing and before we knew it we were the owners of it.

I was not thrilled at first.  "I don't need one more thing to do around here" may or may not have been said.

But, as things slowly progressed, (and i mean slowly) the idea grew on me and i became excited.  I realized this is something we can do together and involve the boys in too.  We aren't totally sure where all this will take us.  But for now, we are doing our research, setting up our homemade systems and will hopefully will learn how to do this successfully through experience.  It has taken much longer then expected to get the greenhouse assembled, but we can see it was a blessing as we weren't ready a year ago.  We've had lots of time to watch youtube vidoes on others people's experiences!

Here's a look at the progression of the structure:

This drove me nuts all last summer!  
Ah that's better
Starting getting it assembled in December

Almost complete March 2014

Rod made our 2 main systems.  The "Bucket system" will hold our tomatoes, peppers, beans, peas, and cucumbers.  We will have string and clips hanging above these buckets, so each plant can grow up and stay up.  The resevoir tank is buried underneath the ground and will flush water through each bucket 3 times a day.  The blue buckets will be filled with Perlite and the plant will be transplanted in the Perlite.  That's it.
Our trough system will hold lettuces (kale, buttercrunch, swiss chard, spring mix), herbs, flowers, and sprouts.
The troughs will be level full of water and each plant will be placed in the black pot and will sit down in the water.  We have 9 of these tables, 12 plants per table.
I started these indoors, (this is kale) and soon it'll be ready to transfer to the above pot in the greenhouse.  it will stay in there until ready to harvest.  The seeds were started in something called rockwool (also called mineral wool), as you see here.  Other then for hydroponics, rock wool is used as a form of insulation in buildings.  The plants will stay in the rock wool even after harvest.  It holds it all together, and the roots grow in and around the rock wool.

Making stuff
burying the resevoir tank (or giant rubbermaid container).

We have room to do 2 rows of the buckets, if we want to at some point. 
Yes he's letting me paint the tables orange :)  

this is my favorite part so far about having a was 40 degrees and party cloudy outside, but inside......
It got up to 100 that day, and the fans kicked on..

It's tricky but not impossible to do root vegetables using the hydroponic method, ( root veggies meaning ones that grow underground), like radishes, onions, beets, carrots, potatoes.  So for now we aren't "going there".  I've requested a little square soil garden in the corner of the greenhouse, that i can try out my root vegetables inside during the off season.

We will have a 3rd system not pictured which will hold all-bearing strawberries.  It's all made of PVC pipe and will lay horizonal.  It'll have the 'flush' method like the bucket system.  There are many varieties of systems out there, with the same general concept.

We plan on messing up a lot in the beginning.  With it being soil-less, we'll need to add nutrients to the water, and each vegetable will need specific nutrients and quantities.

We hope to do this year round, with the exception of January and February where we will take off.  We don't want to use the heat more then we have to, so it makes sense to pause over those months.

Rod has been working hard!  But he doesn't consider it work, which is why we were out there most of the day Sunday setting up the systems :)  We're still waiting for 2 glass panes to be installed, after that we will put our plants in and get started.

Well there is my attempt at explaining to you something i'm still learning about, hopefully it made partial sense.  Will keep you posted with pictures once it's in full swing!   Also you'd be welcome to stop by and see for yourself!

No comments: