Table of contents:
- Features of the layout and construction of a greenhouse in which all thermophilic vegetables grow and ripen together
- Building a greenhouse
Video: How To Plan And Build A Greenhouse
Features of the layout and construction of a greenhouse in which all thermophilic vegetables grow and ripen together
It is impossible to grow heat-loving crops in our North-West without greenhouses, hotbeds, film tunnels, since due to a lack of heat, many crops simply do not have time to mature.
There are quite a lot of articles and recommendations in magazines, newspapers and literature on arranging such shelters. Everyone builds or buys a ready-made greenhouse to their liking. So for twenty years of work on the ground, I have tried greenhouses of various designs. In this article I want to share my experience and talk about the results that I came to at the end of the second decade.
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What should be the ideal greenhouse for growing thermophilic crops in the Northwest
What are the requirements for my greenhouse: it must be spacious, durable, lightweight and at the same time withstand all wind loads that can be present throughout the season, as well as rain. The next requirement: it should allow all the necessary plant care operations - watering, airing, garter - to be carried out easily and freely.
There are also a number of requirements: my greenhouse should be bright and keep warm well, therefore, a place well-lit by the sun should be allocated on the site for its construction.
Everyone chooses the area of the greenhouse depending on the needs of the family. The area of my last greenhouse, which I will talk about in this article, was selected based on planting a large number of different crops.
Back in 2006, I decided to try to grow a whole bunch of different cultures in one heifer. As a result, combining the impossible, I planted together tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, melons, watermelons and a few cucumber bushes and achieved a stable large harvest from all these crops. In 2007, I repeated this experiment, and it was also a success for me. The vegetables grown in the greenhouse were enough for our family and all the guests who came to our site.
In twenty years I have built over 25 greenhouses of various designs. Each of them served 3-4 years, then it was sorted out, and I built another in a new place. In one of the seasons, we had five greenhouses on the site with a total area of three hundred parts.
The first greenhouses I had were of a tunnel type: two beds at the edges, in the center - a passage. But my advantage over others was that I not only always built greenhouses, but also looked after all the crops growing in them. Therefore, faster than others, I could evaluate each design of my greenhouses, identify all the shortcomings in it in order to take them into account in my next construction. And even when developing each new design of the greenhouse, I had this approach: to plant fewer plants in it, and get as much harvest from them as possible. This requirement appeared due to the fact that in our apartment conditions it is very difficult to grow a large number of seedlings on the windows, and there is a desire to grow our own tomatoes, peppers, eggplants.
In the first years of the development of the site, creating tunnel-type greenhouses, I came to the conclusion that they are very inconvenient in caring for the plants that are located closer to the film: you have to stretch, tearing off the stepsons, it is inconvenient to tie the seedlings to stakes. Therefore, I began to make 60 cm wide paths next to the film, and only then - a bed. Bed size: width from 80 to 100 cm, length is arbitrary, depending on the length of the greenhouse. On such a bed, I plant plants in two rows, giving the direction of the beds from north to south.
I make all the beds high, fill them with a special soil mixture for each crop. I cover the paths (passages) with sawdust or wood chips, what is currently available. I did this operation so that less damp and dirt came from the tracks.
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The dimensions of my today's greenhouse: width - 10.5 m, length - 7.5 m, height in the area of the ridge - 3.2 m.The height of the greenhouse usually depends on its width, but in the area of paths (passages) it should be no less than mine growth, so that you can freely walk with a watering can without bending over.
I change the land in the ridges after two years, I also use the planting alternation scheme, for example, after cucumbers there are tomatoes.
All the beds in the greenhouse are warm, but the greenhouse itself is constantly ventilated. Two vents at the ends do not close for two summer months, even at night. I use the principle that people also recommend: the head is cold, the feet are warm. Skillful intensive watering I always carry out with warm, slightly alkaline water - this is my guarantee of high yields in the greenhouse. Over the course of two years, I have achieved good results from all the plants planted in the greenhouse, even melons and watermelons were among them, but with cucumber plantings in this scheme I received normal yields. Still, cucumbers should be excluded from this set of vegetables, since they require different growing conditions. I get high yields of cucumbers in the open field in another way, but this is a separate conversation.
Growing plants in a greenhouse is an expensive undertaking, so I always try to get the maximum yield from all the crops planted in it. To do this, I carefully prepare the land for planting and take care of the plants properly, conscientiously, because they are living organisms and must receive in the process of growth everything necessary to please us with the harvest.
On my site there was a glass greenhouse measuring 1.8x6 m, the sides and ends were glass, 1.6 m high, - the top of the roof was covered with a film. But this size of the greenhouse did not suit me at all. For my experiments in protected ground, I did not have enough space, and such a greenhouse design was completely unsuitable. I thought for a long time, and in my head a large greenhouse began to emerge on the basis of the old glass one. To do this, under the same roof with the old greenhouse, I introduce two additional ridges on both sides and change the height and volume of the greenhouse.
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Building a greenhouse
The construction of all greenhouses usually begins with planning the beds and the aisles between them on the ground, then this plan is implemented in nature. This is how it was done this season (Figure 1): 5 beds 1 m wide (their numbers on the sketch are 1,4,5,6,7) with aisles of 50-80 cm, there are two more narrow beds in the glass greenhouse (numbers 2,3). In the old part, the entrance from the south side was preserved, and from the north - from the glass greenhouse - an exit was made to a large greenhouse.
The dimensions of the new greenhouse in the lower part are 10.5x7.5 m, or almost 79 square meters. The height of the greenhouse was chosen taking into account the vast experience of previous years - 3.2 m. The height of the side walls is 1.4 m. The roof turned out to be broken, like a mushroom hat, gusts of any wind slide along it, pressing the film to the structure. The center of the new greenhouse rests on the roof of the old one and on two pillars located symmetrically on the right and left.
The selection of all sizes is based on experience and intuition. When I have already built the frame of the greenhouse, I begin to design the vents. I consider this element to be the main one in the design (see sketch © 2). One window with an area of 1 m2 was made on the south side and the same area on the north, at the very top of the greenhouse. Additional ventilation goes through narrow strips 30-40 cm wide along the entire length of the end, also on both sides (Figure 2).
We call these two long strips of airing additional vents, a 50 cm wide film hangs above them, the upper part of which is rigidly nailed along the entire length, and the lower part is intermittently fastened with short chips and small nails so that at the right time, when there is a need for additional ventilation, to pick up, unfasten the chips, lift the film and arrange ventilation for the required length of the greenhouse.
Last season, for almost two months, day and night, I did not close the vents, only reduced the ventilation area from the side of the blowing wind. The greenhouse had fresh air for most of the summer. Having lost it, plants in the closed space of the greenhouse will not be able to develop and form a crop. Ventilation is also necessary to prevent plant diseases.
Next, I already plan how I will water the plants. There is very little one door for such a greenhouse, there will be problems with watering. Therefore, two additional watering doors are created on the south side (see sketch). These are not capital doors, but simply openings in the aisles, closed with a thick film, which open during irrigation, and then close immediately after the water procedure, and the film is fastened in place with chips.
I try to purchase slats for the construction of a greenhouse inexpensive and not in short supply - from waste or used. I am not building anything in one place, since I experiment every season, besides, the construction of the built greenhouse may get bored or the accumulated knowledge will require a new solution.
So, the construction of the greenhouse, its frame are ready. I begin to cover it with foil. Along the entire contour of the greenhouse below, at a height of 40-50 cm, I nail a double layer of black film - this is my battery. Outside, I cover it with a simple film to keep warm in the greenhouse. Then I build light forests: I put barrels on them, I put wide boards on them. I cover both right and left. I use canvases of 3 m wide, 7.5 m long, I nail the canvases with an overlap. I cover the top of the greenhouse in one day. The next day - sides and top to the end. After that, I take up the ends, which must be closed in one day. I nail the first canvas at the ends to the full length from the wind side, then from the other, and so alternately from bottom to top. When I finish closing the ends, I take on the vents in the same order.
I want to warn beginners: you cannot completely close one end at once, since a gust of wind can tear all the canvases. For the top of the greenhouse I use a film with a thickness of 150 microns, the ends and sides - 120 microns thick.
Preparing the beds for planting
The main condition: I "charge" the beds - I fill them with biofuel - until the greenhouse is covered with a film. In the fall, I determine what and where will grow in this or that garden next year. Based on this, I am preparing the ridges for planting; I lay some of them in the fall, some in the spring.
My site is located in a swampy area. There is a layer of clay under a small fertile layer of earth, and groundwater is also high here in spring and autumn. During the winter, the clay gets cold, and all summer long it goes outside, cooling the earth. Therefore, I try to put a thick layer of chips on the clay in all the ridges. This layer is like an insulator from cold clay.
On the chips I throw a layer of turf soil - 10 cm, cover it with a layer of sawdust - 5-10 cm. But the next filling of each ridge goes depending on the crop that I will grow on it.
For tomatoes, the next layer will be fertile soil - 10 cm (I take the soil from under cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkins), then I lay a thick layer of hay, which I sprinkle with fertile soil, ram all layers with my feet and finally add the fertile layer to a thickness of 20 cm. the tomatoes are ready.
For peppers and eggplants, I put a layer of fresh manure 5-10 cm on sawdust, then the same layers as for tomatoes. Under the cucumbers and melons, I put a layer of manure 10-15 cm on sawdust - and then everything follows the same scheme. Then I sprinkle all the beds with ash, spill water with potassium permanganate and cover them with a film.
From many years of experience I was convinced that time should not be spared for soil preparation. A well-prepared ridge will then free me up time in the summer, I will not have to worry about the question: how and with what to feed the plants during the entire growing period? All crops will receive food from the ridge. The harvest with such preparation is abundant, and the quality of the fruits is high, they always turn out to be unusually tasty.
A feature of the 2007 season when growing all heat-loving crops was that the entire greenhouse was completely covered very late - by mid-May. The seedlings have already begun to outgrow, so I decided not to remove the film that lay on the ridges where it was supposed to plant melons, eggplants and peppers to speed up the process of heating the soil. In the places where the seedlings of these crops were planted, he simply cut the film with a 20x20 cm cross, in the places of the cut he carefully made holes and only then planted the plants in them. Then he watered the planted seedlings under the root with a light talker: manure + potassium permanganate, diluted in warm water, mulched the planting site. Then he gently spread the edges of the cut film under each plant. The tomato seedlings overgrew, and they planted it obliquely, burying it in the soil.
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