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Old 03-21-2012, 10:25 AM   #21
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GLC, please explain about the hoophouse. It somehow protects the plants from excessive heat?
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:50 AM   #22
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I have lettuce, radish, and onions sprouting. I picked about a half dozen spears of asparagus, as well--just a taste of things to come.

Otherwise, I planted 2 filberts, an almond and 2 heartnuts, 4 rhubarb plants and 75 (!!!!) strawberry plants. The hardy kiwis that I planted 3 years ago are doing well--one bloomed last year, but no fruit--you need male and female, and the females haven't bloomed yet. I have pears and cherries--I hope this warm weather didn't fool them into blooming too early.

I am a gardening addict--it is an expensive, time-consuming monkey to have on my back. But I love it.
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:19 AM   #23
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I am a gardening addict--it is an expensive, time-consuming monkey to have on my back. But I love it.
Isn't gardening supposed to be about saving money? I know the lettuce we got out of the garden last year was about $100/head* after all the money we spent on getting up to speed...













*Exaggeration for the sake of comedy, not an actual price.
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:20 AM   #24
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I am a gardening addict--it is an expensive, time-consuming monkey to have on my back. But I love it.
I hear ya! I suffer from the same disease.

I am fortunate this year. My cousin Charlie and his mother Katherine are my gardening partners and are sharing the garden expenses. They are financing the expansion of my vegetable garden! Of course I would not have needed the extra space if I was not going to share the produce.

What is even better, I have 3 young relatives [9 through 14 years old and live only 3 blocks from me] who are avid gardeners and they help me. They think they are having fun, and I get most of my heavy garden work done for me!

In the past I spent a lot of money hiring garden help who were really pain in the butts. They were lazy, indifferent, and whiney. What a happy change to have enthusiastic helpful gardeners around me.

These kids want to do and learn everything. I am blessed.
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:51 AM   #25
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GLC, please explain about the hoophouse. It somehow protects the plants from excessive heat?
In the photo, it was rigged with mesh shade cloth last summer. Now, it has white plastic, and the ends will be closed in before winter. A small plastic hot room section inside can be heated on the rare very cold night for things like the citrus.

White plastic cover strikes the best medium. I use 6mil white 55% film. That allows enough light in for plants that don't require absolute full sun and won't take the pounding heat that no amount of watering can save. It has also been shown to be effective in winter. Here, a considerable amount of night heat in cold weather is from the ground, which never freezes. White has somewhat better characteristics under those conditions and also provides some shade.

The peak of the arch is at about nine feet. There will be summer openings in the ends at the top to allow heat to escape, and louver vents either side of the door and a large vent on the other end will provide more air flow. I can wheel in a five-foot diameter fan, if things get too bad, but we have nearly constant breeze.

At 18x40 feet, it's large enough that there's some air cooling effect from the shade. And I can add the black shade cloth back in if needed. I will probably do that at one end where I want to propagate a bunch of cast iron plant that needs deep shade.

This first house is many kinds of experiments in construction and strorm survival, covering material, ventilation, depth of shade, growing media, etc. There will ultimately be at least four of these side by side.

They can be made any size. A smaller house can be made with small diameter PVC pipe. I drove 2-foot pieces of heavy rebar into the ground every four feet and made up 30-foot pieces of pipe. Two people can walk the ends to the rebar and bend it up into place. Another piece of pipe runs the length of the top of the arc and is carriage bolted to each. I have since attached a pipe down each side, five feet off the ground, treated 2x4 along the bottom sides, and another pipe attached to that. Cover is held on with plastic clips that snap over the cover and grip the pipe. The cover can be released from the bottom pipe and rolled up for the summer.

The snap clamps come from:
Snap Clamps - Covering Accessories | Greenhouse Megastore

But I get the film from FarmTek. They also have remnants for small projects, like narrow row covers.
Sun Master® Pull and Cut Greenhouse Film - FarmTek

A ten-foot wide backyard greenhouse could easily be made with with 20-foot pieces of 1-inch PVC pipe, placing them three feet apart for as long as you wanted it.



You can also make classier shapes.



For just a shadehouse and some modest cold protection, the ends wouldn't even have to be closed. Makes a good garden work shelter, too. Keeps out the rain and sun but has plenty of light. I'll make an additional one as a tractor shelter. Good, too, where hail is a problem and destroys plants.

The temperature differentials between different coverings are significant. I'll link a study. In their study, on the warmest day, under clear plastic, temperature reached 38C. Under white, it reached 25C. Under double white, it was 21C. Double layers is a bit much for me, so I use one. On the coldest day, at the coldest time, the difference between white and clear was less then one degree, and both were warmer than outside by about three degrees, so white works about as well in winter as clear. I only need a few degrees of protection in winter (in case we ever have another winter) and mostly protection from pounding sun in summer.

http://www.hriresearch.org/docs/publ...-4-166-172.pdf
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Old 03-21-2012, 12:34 PM   #26
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Thanks GLC. Very interesting. I'm impressed with 21C under double white in 38C weather. I wonder if there is an application for outdoor eating.

I had never really thought much about too much heat for plants in NA, not enough water yes, too much heat not so much.
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Old 03-21-2012, 12:36 PM   #27
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I hear ya'll on the expense of gardening. My husband and I bought a "fixer" with a quarter acre of sandy wasteland last year. Blank canvass or money pit? Fortunately I have found great recources in my hood for free compost and plants. Plus I shamelessly steal plant slips everywhere I go.

That being said we built our first raised bed last week with three more to come soon.
I can't wait to plant tomatoes and the seedlings are already coming in to the stores! Gonna try to dry farm them this year!

By the way GLC...great post! Super informative.
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Old 03-21-2012, 01:56 PM   #28
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My garden and balcony are very small, so I just plant flowers in them.
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Old 03-21-2012, 02:31 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by taxlady View Post
Thanks GLC. Very interesting. I'm impressed with 21C under double white in 38C weather. I wonder if there is an application for outdoor eating.
I should have provided more information. The outside temperature at that moment, the hottest part of the hottest day, was 25C. 38C was under clear plastic. Single white plastic was only one degree hotter than outside, at 26C. Double white was 21. For my purposes, being shielded from the sun while only adding 1C accomplishes what I need. In my case, it's being fried by radiant direct heat from the sun on the plant itself that's the main problem. Air temperature is a lesser problem and one I can't do much about without misting.

It has to help. I suspect there are other factors than just temperature for human activities. Getting out of the sun cuts the direct radiant heat on the skin. And I know for me it doesn't take shade to feel cooler, even if it's just perception. It is distinctly shady under this 55% white. I don't have a thermometer in the house yet, but I know when I work in it it seems distinctly cooler. And the dog always chooses to lie in it.

Quote:
I had never really thought much about too much heat for plants in NA, not enough water yes, too much heat not so much.
That big pipe down the center of the house was full of water. It had holes along the length of it. Pots sat either side. Each pot had a 1/2-inch nylon rope as a wick from inside the pipe to the soil in the pot. It kept them constantly watered, precisely when they needed it and no more. That mesh shade cloth looks dark, but it block a lot less light than the white plastic. The plants tended to burn up from sun exposure, and water didn't save them. Although I suspect the plant just couldn't move enough water up into the foliage under very low humidity and extreme heat, and the leaves just fried.

The only things that will summer over outside this year are things proven to survive. Okra is king. It thrives in heat and does well with abuse. Onions and leeks can take, given water. Zucchini will be okay with water under it's own foliage. The citrus will take some watching. Their large containers will be dug in to ground level to keep from drying out, but they may have to come into the house in high summer.
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Old 03-22-2012, 03:25 AM   #30
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This is my old beast garden :: padeswood289.jpg picture by Hvar2010 - Photobucket

The ground to the right had not been touch for 30 yrs. I hired a modern tiller like in the pic but it could not manage the job. A friend told me about the American Rolls Royce of Tillers and I found mine on Ebay 3 mls away. I payed about $150 for Doris as a non runner and spent the weekend stripping Doris down and fixing her up, she fired up first pull. Doris has no wheels and the 5.5 hp engine is over the blades so she digs deep, because she has no wheels she takes a lot of power to use on virgin ground but the results are unbeatable. I am searching for a plough attachment to fit on the back
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