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Indoor "Greenhouse"

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Project by DavesYard posted 02-21-2010 06:20 PM 6309 views 3 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So, i’ve started to make a little greenhouse indoors for sowing seeds.

I built it out of “reclaimed” 2×4s that I had left from my basement reno (either framing jobs gone bad, or the studs were too warped for framing).

I also used 4ft by 2ft sheets of fibreboard from home depot, about $3 each.

I bought two ballasts at $35 each which hold 2 bulbs each, and have a shield thing to direct the light downwards, also came with chains to hang them and a pull chain to switch them on and off, pretty nice setups (thanks to Brad for the recommendation).

Outfitted them with 4 fluorescent 32watt t8 bulbs, 4ft each, “indoor aquarium and plant” type.

The seeds are put in plastic cups from the dollar store (my favorite place to shop) into which I drilled holes for drainage, and placed them on aluminum cookie sheets (also dollar store).

When it’s all set up I will have 144 cups growing, with the potential to add way more if I can figure out a better solution for the drainage trays.

Lights are on a timer set to 16 hours a day and are as close to the cups as possible, so when I get sprouts, they will be ready to go.

On the floor is a small porcelain heater, to add some heat to the shelves (they are toasty warm) and also it has a built in fan which will blow the hot air to the top shelf and also circulate the oxygen.

My questions to you guys are:

1) what to do with the back and sides, should I enclose them with more particle board to stop the heat and light escaping, or should I use a thick plastic, or some other material.

2) should I coat the back and sides with tin foil or some other reflective material.

3) what is the best way to retain moisture in a setup like this

4) any other general suggestions or ways of improving. open to anything!



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DavesYard

304 posts in 2750 days
hardiness zone 5b

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24 comments so far

View mario1360's profile

mario1360

921 posts in 3108 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 02-21-2010 06:54 PM

wow, real cool setup, I would wrap 3 sides with alum foil from $1 store too…..
real cool setup…...

-- south shore montreal, zone 5a, whish it was 9

View DavesYard's profile

DavesYard

304 posts in 2750 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 02-21-2010 07:07 PM

thank you, mario. hope to have a few of your seeds growing in there soon.
does the foil make a difference in actually reflecting the light? my guess would be yes, but i don’t really see anyone else doing it..

as a side note.. i will be covering the cups with thick plastic sheet until they sprout. lights are just for photos

View DavesYard's profile

DavesYard

304 posts in 2750 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 02-21-2010 10:32 PM

Added fibreboard on the back and sides. If anything, it looks way better. Also encloses the environment just a bit.

View sharad's profile

sharad

1671 posts in 2910 days
hardiness zone 11

posted 02-22-2010 12:54 AM

I never required such a set up so nothing to say except wish you good success in the germination of all your seeds. Make a note of this year’s experience which will be useful in the future. I admire your dollar saving devices in your setup.
Sharad

-- Bagwan-- “If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means they have never tried a new thing in their life”.-Albert Einstein

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3694 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 02-22-2010 04:41 AM

they are now all snug as a bug in a rug!

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Radicalfarmergal's profile

Radicalfarmergal

4312 posts in 2956 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 02-22-2010 06:39 AM

Nice grow light set-up. Now just watch them sprout!

-- "...I have nothing against authorities as such; I am only in favor of putting a question mark after just about everything they say." Ruth Stout

View jroot's profile

jroot

5121 posts in 3324 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 02-22-2010 08:00 AM

Great job, Dave. Similar to mine.

1) what to do with the back and sides, should I enclose them with more particle board to stop the heat and light escaping, or should I use a thick plastic, or some other material.
I would use what material you’ve got. Plastic is good in that it won’t retain moisture and thus minimize mildew. Perhaps it can still be stapled to the sides and back that you have already installed.

2) should I coat the back and sides with tin foil or some other reflective material.
The foil idea is a good one, that I had not thought of. It could be used in place of the plastic noted above. I might just incorporate your idea myself.

3) what is the best way to retain moisture in a setup like this.
I would used clear plastic, and staple it to the front. You can make downward slits that permit you to get your hands in for watering and for rotating your seedlings. See the idea posted here earlier.
http://gardentenders.com/topics/613
My neice is a professional gardener in Guelph. When she saw my “grow op”, she LOVED the idea of the plastic drops in front. Her dad also saw it, and now incorporates it into his basement growing room. Those Dutch gardeners can’t resist getting more from their gardening efforts. LOL

4) any other general suggestions or ways of improving. open to anything!
Save some room to start seeds in late March so the “plantlets” don’t get too leggy.

Looks good, Dave. You are off to a wonderful start.

-- jroot ....... Southern Ontario .......... grow zone 5A ...................."Gardening is an exercise in optimism." ....... . . Author Unknown

View LadyPantheress's profile

LadyPantheress

43 posts in 2752 days
hardiness zone 7

posted 02-22-2010 08:26 AM

Look awesome! Great job building your green house. Now all you need to do is cover so you can keep heat surrounding your seedlings and plants.

Wishing you success.
Hugs
Brightest Blessings Always
LP

-- ~ Harm None ~

View DavesYard's profile

DavesYard

304 posts in 2750 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 02-22-2010 08:41 AM

Thank you for the good comments and ideas!

Any thoughts on how to build bigger trays for collecting the drained waster, perhaps one that would cover the entire “real estate” of my shelf. This way I could add at least 20-40% more cups.

Shelves are 2ft by 4ft. Not looking to spend a ton of money.

View DavesYard's profile

DavesYard

304 posts in 2750 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 02-23-2010 09:20 PM

My first sprouts! Geranium, Lavatera, Zinnia, Cosmos. A relief to see that my efforts are working.

Hopefully they look healthy to you guys, I know they are just sprouts, but the colour seems good.

View Radicalfarmergal's profile

Radicalfarmergal

4312 posts in 2956 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 02-24-2010 06:34 AM

Sprouts! Congratulations!

-- "...I have nothing against authorities as such; I am only in favor of putting a question mark after just about everything they say." Ruth Stout

View mario1360's profile

mario1360

921 posts in 3108 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 02-24-2010 11:39 AM

they only thing I would do different is to poke holes in the particle board here and there to allow for good air flow, if the air stagnates fungis could develop, I poke holes in my aluminum foil….but I am no expert, just lucky I guess….

-- south shore montreal, zone 5a, whish it was 9

View DavesYard's profile

DavesYard

304 posts in 2750 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 02-24-2010 11:42 AM

I am going to leave the whole front of the unit uncovered. To retain moisture I am covering the unsprouted seeds with heavy plastic. Seems to be working. Also, the shelves are designed so air can move up and down between the them (at the sides). I will keep an eye out for any fungus though, thanks!

View Iris43's profile

Iris43

3811 posts in 3323 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 02-24-2010 01:58 PM

Dave, if you begin to see any dampening off, you might spray the top of the soil with a weak solution of bleach and water. I’ve done this and it helped to discourage milldew and fungus growth. On another gardening site, I’ve read of a mixture of listerine and water, 1tsp listerine to 1 lte of water.

BTW, I forgot to say, “Good job!” you’re hooked now!! 8^)

-- 'To plant a Garden is to believe in Tomorrow'

View DavesYard's profile

DavesYard

304 posts in 2750 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 02-24-2010 02:32 PM

Yes I am definetly hooked!!!

How will i recognize signs of dampening off? The plant will fall over?

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3694 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 02-24-2010 04:21 PM

hello babies!! :)

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Iris43's profile

Iris43

3811 posts in 3323 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 02-24-2010 06:55 PM

Dave, most often if dampening off hits your seedlings they look fine, then just fall over and die. It’s hard to see ahead of time. I don’t know how to give you a direct to a site where you can read about this, but if you put dampening off seeds in your search engine, that will take you to several sites for info. ‘Canadian Gardening’ has a very good article and tips on how to prevent it.

-- 'To plant a Garden is to believe in Tomorrow'

View DavesYard's profile

DavesYard

304 posts in 2750 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 02-24-2010 07:08 PM

Thanks Iris, I did what you suggested and I came up with this excellent information:

http://tomclothier.hort.net/page13.html

I will be “dusting my crop” with cinnamon tonight. Although I have done everything correctly so far (no cross contamination of soils, etc). My germination area is basically a “clean room”.

View Bon's profile

Bon

7374 posts in 3473 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 02-24-2010 07:26 PM

Wow Dave you sure have a lot of seeds started.If all goes well you should have one fine looking garden this year.

-- Bon,Hastings,Ont.....zone 5a....Always room for one more

View DavesYard's profile

DavesYard

304 posts in 2750 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 02-24-2010 07:34 PM

I actually have way more now Bon, thanks to you :D

After the seed swap, I should have about 200 cups going, many with multiple seeds in each…

My gardens are non-existant so I need to stock up!

View Bon's profile

Bon

7374 posts in 3473 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 02-24-2010 07:37 PM

Don’t forget that by starting them this early in the season that you will have to move them to larger pots or they will get really spindly.You might want to save some to start around the middle of March.

-- Bon,Hastings,Ont.....zone 5a....Always room for one more

View DavesYard's profile

DavesYard

304 posts in 2750 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 02-24-2010 07:46 PM

I’ve only planted maybe 10% from each pack you gave me. Still have lots of good stuff left.

I will do another round of planting in mid March, after the swap is done.

View Ron Hall's profile

Ron Hall

10 posts in 3153 days

posted 03-10-2010 07:03 PM

Good post. I gota make one of these someday.

View petersonmurdock's profile

petersonmurdock

17 posts in 742 days
hardiness zone 2

posted 04-07-2016 09:08 AM

This out door occasional table with this design at http://www.javateakoutdoorfurniture.com/products/occasional-tables/ is a perfect furniture to install at your greenhouse, it even provides unique exterior design.

-- http://caldwells.com/exterior-doors/

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