Tagged: greenhouse insulation

2100 Series (15’3″ Width) Sunglo DIY Greenhouse

 

Greenhouse Foundations

greenhouse foundations
2100 model with 3 foot raised foundation/knee wall

 

Greenhouse foundations

Purchasing a greenhouse can be a difficult and sometimes overwhelming process. The first factors you should consider are location, foundation and of course your budget. All foundations should be level and square. A square and level foundation will eliminate challenges later when installing your greenhouse. A raised foundation or knee wall is a good option if you prefer to add height to your greenhouse. Knee walls are commonly 12-48 inches high and can be made of various materials. If you would like a knee wall with your Sunglo greenhouse kit please notify us at 800-647-0606 to add a door drop kit to your order.

Concrete

Concrete is a great option for a greenhouse foundation and often chosen among consumers because is it convenient. To attach your greenhouse to a concrete base we recommend attaching quality treated wood to the base of the greenhouse, commonly called a wood sill plate. 2 x 4’s will do. If you choose to use pressure treated wood make sure to install a barrier between the wood and aluminum, such as gasket material, as the treated wood can cause the aluminum to rust. Sunglo includes a barrier called a “boot” with each greenhouse kit.

greenhouse foundations
Concrete foundation – Raised/knee wall

Measure twice before cutting your wood to ensure proper dimensions. We suggest allowing a 1” border around the inside and outside of the entire greenhouse. Sunglo adds 2″ to each greenhouse size for the foundation measurements.

This is designed to allow a safe margin for irregularities in the wood sill plate. After the concrete has been poured and is level and square, a small drain should be placed in the center of the slab where water run off can drain into a gravel pit or piping that leads to a drainage area. Then your greenhouse can be bolted to the foundation.  Water and electricity should be ran to the greenhouse site before the foundation is built.

Wood

Inside a 1200G Sunglo greenhouse
1200 series Sunglo greenhouse with a raised wooden foundation and custom benches

Building a wood base is easy and inexpensive. Cedar and redwood are commonly used. Pressure treated wood is also a great option but make sure to put a barrier between the wood and aluminum, such as gasket material, as the treated wood can cause the aluminum to rust. The size of your base will depend on the size of your greenhouse again allowing a 1” border around the inside and outside of the greenhouse. After assembling the base and making sure your ground is level lay down a weed barrier. This allows the water to drain through but does not allow weeds to come up through the floor boards.

1000E Sunglo greenhouse
1000E Sunglo greenhouse built on a wooden foundation

Pack the natural earth over the excess barrier. After your base is finished and the weed barrier is set underneath, you need to cover it. Start laying down your wood planks to make the floor. Now it’s time to attach the greenhouse frame to the base – Make sure it is level and square again by measuring from corner to corner.  For added insulation, we suggest you caulk the bottom of the aluminum framing (caulk the wood then attach the frame – making sure there is a barrier between the aluminum and wood)  where it meets the base with a waterproof sealant – If you are using pressure treated it is still a good idea to caulk between the base and wood. This will add extra protection to the greenhouse and keep cold air from entering and warm air from escaping in the colder months. If you are using pressure treated wood make sure the aluminum does not come into direct contact. Sunglo includes a plastic “boot” that attaches to the base rails with all our kits, so you don’t have to worry! As with all foundations please consider whether you will need water and electricity ran to the greenhouse site. Wood foundations are natural and beautiful looking! The only down side is you might have to replace the wood every 8-10 years.

Deck

If you are planning on purchasing a lean-to style greenhouse or even a small free-standing but only have room on your deck, that’s no problem!  Before attaching the greenhouse base to pressure treated wood lay down a thick rubber, insulated mat that is the dimension of the floor of your greenhouse.

greenhouse foundations
1700 lean-to model on deck

There are various mats you can purchase that have designs or just plain old black. Insulating underneath and around the base is a good idea also. To attach the greenhouse base to the deck we recommend contacting your hardware store representative and explaining the project. Decks are made of different materials and you wouldn’t want to ruin your deck in the process. Now insulation will be an issue as well. Depending on your style of deck please take this into consideration and do your research on what type of insulation, if any, you should use. Water and electricity can be easily ran to a greenhouse on a deck foundation as it is usually attached to a house or a building.

There is lots of info on the web about different foundations and step by step instructions on how to build them. I hope this gave you an idea of what you want to do with your foundation!

NOTE: If you choose to create a foundation that is NOT concrete we highly recommend giving the wood base a few days to settle. After 24 hours re-measure for square and level. In some cases the foundation will settle and become uneven affecting the assembly of the greenhouse. And you dont want that to happen because it can make installation very difficult!

Sunglo offers a greenhouse foundations guide that shows how to build a easy, affordable and effective foundation base. To request a free-standing or lean-to foundation guide call us at 800-647-0606.

To view a large gallery of pictures visit our Facebook albums page.

 For more advice about greenhouse foundations or general questions leave a comment below or please e-mail us at info@sunglogreenhouses.com or call us at 1-800-647-0606.

Hurricane Sandy Tested

We received a customer testimonial from Connecticut this week where Hurricane Sandy recently made a terrible mess of things.

Ken writes:

My wife and I are just your everyday home owners, maybe a bit handier than some, but less than others…certainly not professional trades’ people. We bought the SunGlo kit thinking we’d try to build it ourselves as a fun project to do together. Well, we built 90% of it in one weekend and had a blast doing it. The manual and the DVD were more than clear enough to guide us through the process, and despite some sore muscles Monday, we were proud of the results.

The following weekend we knew Hurricane Sandy was coming so we finished up the project, closed the door and went about securing the rest of the house. Northwest CT recorded wind gusts of over 65 MPH for almost 2 days, with horizontal wind, trees, leaves, and branches flying everywhere. Our power was out for 2 and 1/2 days. The SunGlo greenhouse was just fine!

The next week we got hit with a Nor’easter that dumped nearly a foot of snow in near blizzard conditions- again the SunGlo came through just fine. Our cool weather seedlings and other houseplants in the greenhouse are all doing very well.

Thanks for making such a quality product here in the States.

It just goes to show that, be it Solanaceae or Asteraceae, nothing protects your family like a Sunglo.

Overwintering in the Greenhouse

greenhouse snow loadOne of the things I enjoy most about spring is planning out my gardens for the season. However, it also used to be one of things I dreaded as I began to tally up the cost of buying new plants every year. Having a greenhouse has allowed me to overwinter all of my beloved container plantings, and some of my garden perennials that cannot survive the winters here in the northwest. I have put a great deal of time into designing and caring for the container arrangements around my house, and now I do not have to park in the driveway during the winter while I store them in the garage.

pot in potLast year I started using a pot in pot system where I buried larger pots in the garden that the perennials’ pots can fit into. This makes pulling them in the fall much less labor intensive and then in the spring I just put them back into their prearranged spot and cover both pots over with mulch. This has also allowed me to incorporate rare plants that are not recommended for my hardiness zone into my landscape. I know pride is a sin, but it is always satisfying when someone says, “How did you get that to survive? I tried and it didn’t make it through the first winter.”

Then I proceed to tell them about how my greenhouse has allowed me to really take my gardening to the next level. I opted to get the all season package that included a heater, motorized intake shutter, exhaust fan, and all the thermostats to automatically control them at the temperatures I set. To ice the cake it also came with a wireless weather station that allows me to monitor the temperature and humidity of the greenhouse from my kitchen. All I have to do is check periodically to make sure the pots do not get bone dry and the climate controls do the rest. I do not have to worry about pesky rodents, freezing, fluctuations in soil temperature, or dessication from being exposed to cold dry air because my plants are protected within the greenhouse.

Sunglo in AlaskaThere are only a couple of things to keep in mind when you set out to overwinter your plants in a greenhouse. In the early fall, I gradually reduce watering and fertilization and allow the plants to harden off outside until just before the first frost.This puts them into a state of dormancy and keeping the greenhouse temperatures between 45° and 55° F throughout the winter prevents them from coming out of it prematurely.This is very important because any undesired growth at such low temperatures will more than likely be weak and therefore highly susceptible to various infestations.

overwinter greenhouseThis is where a Sunglo greenhouse truly outperforms the competition. The exhaust fan, motorized intake shutter, and heater, all controlled by individual thermostats, ensure that the temperatures stay within the desired range. Most hobbyist greenhouses on the market use a paraffin wax piston to automatically open a vent of some sort. It is impossible for this type of passive ventilation system to maintain temperatures between a specified range.

sunglo snow loadDuring dormancy water uptake is dramatically reduced, but you must be careful not to let the soil get to dry. Just a slight dampness to the touch is sufficient. I considered installing a drip watering system on an irrigation timer this year, but decided against it. Colder temperatures and overly wet soil can spell certain doom for roots and the plants that depend on them. Instead I will continue to check them periodically and I suspect they appreciate the company.

overwintered plantsAs spring approaches I raise the temperature to between 55° and 65° F and gradually increase it from there. Some people prefer to keep the temperatures in that range until they move their plants out of the greenhouse to ensure they are hardened off. I have found that a strong oscillating fan and cooler night temperatures promotes strong enough growth for outdoor conditions. I also wait until I am absolutely certain there will be no more frost before I move anything out into the garden. I resume regular watering and begin an incremental fertilization schedule starting at half strength. By sometime in March I have the temperatures high enough to start spending some quality time in the greenhouse again and begin to germinate seeds, pot up the dormant cuttings I have taken over the winter, and get back into the business of what I love most.

I still enjoy planning out my gardens every spring, but with most of my plants all ready to go I now marvel at how much money I save. The question I am most asked is, “Isn’t the cost of heating the greenhouse throughout the winter more than the plants are worth?”  To which I always inwardly ask, “How do you put a value on keeping that which you love so much alive?” But in all honesty, being as serious a gardener as I am,  the unrivaled insulation of my Sunglo’s dual pane design keeps my energy costs well below what I used to spend on plant material every year. If you are interested in taking your gardening to the next level or have more questions related to overwintering please give us a call.