Tagged: thermostat

Greenhouse EHow

As the cold weather approaches, the thought of having to wait till spring to start gardening again makes buying a greenhouse very attractive at this time of year. We have certainly been busy filling orders lately and I wanted to share one of my favorite sites with all our new customers.

The informative resources on Ehow are seemingly endless with articles on nearly everything a gardener could ever wish to learn about. The link below is to one such article that outlines some important things to consider when starting a new greenhouse.

How to Start Your Own Greenhouse

Most of us here are also proud Sunglo owners and would never refuse an opportunity to share our experiences with others. I implore you to give us a call toll free whether you are a past customer wishing to swap stories or a future customer seeking more information.

 

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.

2012 Puyallup Fair September 7 – 23

Puyallup Fair LogoThe Alaska State Fair was so great we have decided to do it again! This time a little closer to home at the Puyallup Fair from September 7 – 23. We will be there with a fully constructed and outfitted greenhouse. For everyone who has been waiting for an opportunity to spend some time in one of our greenhouses and have all your questions answered this is your chance. The weather is supposed to be beautiful and there truly is no fair like the Puyallup. We will have an exclusive deal going on for the fair and our fully accessorized demo model will be sold at a deep discount.

So come on down and do the Puyallup!

 

Sunglo 1200C Greenhouse Construction

Inspired by Roy’s video post on Youtube, I set out to construct an entire Sunglo 1200C greenhouse in one day for demonstration at the Alaska State Fair last week. As you can see in the video below Roy is still the ultimate champion, but I came pretty close.

Alaska Demo Build on Youtube

All together it took about a day and a half. My thanks go out to Roy for not only the inspiration, but for all his helpful advice on how to shoot and edit the video as well.

Alaska Fair DemoToward the end of the video I included the construction of the cedar benches and vinyl shelving that are available in all our greenhouse models. Watching the assembly you can see why they support over 75 pounds per 30″ by 30″ slat. They are super tough, tie the greenhouse together very nicely, and smell like heaven. Another great feature of this particular demo is the double door. One door closes onto the other allowing for an unobstructed entry way of over five feet when both doors are open.

Sunglo goes AlaskaIf you have not dropped by to see us yet, you still have time to see this demo at the Alaska State Fair. I had a great time preparing for the fair and taking in the sights around the Matsu Valley. The natural beauty of Alaska and the people who live there will remain fresh in my mind until I finally get to return for next year’s fair.

 

Alaska State Fair

2012 Alaska State Fair

 

It’s official. We will be at the Alaska State Fair again this year.

 

 

Although two weeks of delicious fair food may be bad for our waistlines, every year proves to be better than the last. If you have been thinking about buying or building a greenhouse and you live in Alaska this is a great opportunity to see one fully constructed and have all your questions answered. It also gives us an opportunity to visit with our numerous Alaska customers. Hearing about how well our greenhouses hold up to extreme conditions is always one of the highlights of the fair for us. With an unsurpassed R3 insulation value, 80 mph wind rating, and over 2500 pound snow load, our greenhouses were made for Alaska.

big cabbage
That’s a big cabbage!

If you are at the Alaska State Fair this year swing by. We will be running fair only specials on all models. It is not to late to have a fully constructed and operational greenhouse that will provide you with fresh produce all throughout this winter. We will also be selling our demo model fully constructed and outfitted at a deep discount.

Summer Climate Control

Greenhouse Ventilation Fans

Having an extremely well insulated greenhouse can save you a fortune in the winter, but in the summer all that trapped heat can make for undesirable growing conditions. I was out in our demo model doing some irrigation upgrades this morning. It was at first a normal cloudy Seattle day, but as soon as the sun came out from behind the clouds the temperature shot right up. Thankfully, the thermostat kicked the Schaefer brand fan and shutter on and cooled the greenhouse down before things got uncomfortable. Greenhouse ventilation fans.

greenhouse ventilation fans

This got me to thinking about how great it is to have an active greenhouse ventilation system as opposed to a passive roof vent. The 12 inch 800 cubic feet per minute (CFM) fans that come standard with our 1000 series greenhouses easily exchange every bit of air (663 cubic feet to be exact) very rapidly. This means that by the time I noticed the sweat beginning to bead on my brow the ventilation system was already at work keeping me and my precious tomatoes cool. The other great thing about the ventilation system is that the intake shutter allows fresh carbon and oxygen rich air to enter the greenhouse. Combined with a horizontal air flow (HAF) fan, this system insures that plants are not forced to put up with stagnant “dead zones” or hot spots. A dead zone is a thin layer of air surrounding the leaf that quickly becomes devoid of carbon dioxide if not constantly replaced. While a passive roof vent will allow hot air to escape it does little to allow fresh air into the greenhouse.
Summer has gotten off to a slow start this year in Seattle, but if the weather continues to stay warm we will be putting on our shade cloth soon.

Greenhouse ventilation fans - Shade cloth

Up until now we have been able to let our Solanaceous babies soak up all the sun they can get, but the great thing about the shade cloth is that it helps to minimize the cost of cooling our greenhouse. Once installed it helps to avoid spikes in temperature and keeps the fan running less. Another thing that some of our customers have done is install a mist cooling system. For orchid enthusiasts this option works really well to keep temperatures down while maintaining a high humidity. In extremely warm climates our customers have found that attaching a swamp cooler to their intake vent works very well. These work by drawing air through a material saturated with cool water. As the air passes through the material it evaporates the water. The kinetic energy required for this evaporation is taken from the air itself resulting in cool, moist air. Working with a customer to replace his discontinued swamp cooler, I was surprised to find that HomeDepot.com has many available at affordable prices.

The ability to create a favorable environment for our precious specimens all year round is the true benefit of owning a greenhouse and for most of our customers the ventilation and shade cloth are more than adequate in the summer. For our customers who fight the heat more than the cold of winter please contact us about adding some automatic vent openers and many other options available to keep your greenhouse cool and comfy. Sunglo offers Schaefer Ventilation products; the best greenhouse ventilation on the market today.

Learn more about greenhouse ventilation here.Greenhouse ventilation fans.