Author Topic: Just curious - how many year-round greenhouse/indoor gardeners?  (Read 1922 times)

Daintree

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Just curious - how many year-round greenhouse/indoor gardeners?
« on: January 27, 2023, 10:41:25 AM »
So, in some of the latest discussions with Plantinyum and Tropicaltoba, it made me wonder how many folks have tropical gardens under glass, or even in their houses.

I know TropicalFruitHunters is in Ohio (still have my shirt!), we just picked up someone in Virgina, there are people in Tennessee, and I think more than one in Canada. Plantinyum is in Bulgaris. And let's not forget Iceland!!!

So let's hear it if you are a greenhouse or indoor gardener, your zone, and a little about what you grow.
If someone knows how to use YouTube (which is not me, that's for sure!) I thought maybe it would be fun if we could have virtual tours of our setups...

Cheers,
Carolyn -
Boise Idaho, 700 s.f. greenhouse, zone 6,
I grow any tropical and sub-tropical edible that I can get my hands on!


fruitnut1944

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Re: Just curious - how many year-round greenhouse/indoor gardeners?
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2023, 11:06:49 AM »
I've had a 1725 SQFT GH in SW Texas at 4500 ft elevation for 18 years. Started out growing mostly stone fruit and citrus. That became a fig nursery business the last 7 years but now I'm going back to stone fruit with the addition of mango to spice things up. I'd like to compare my best stone fruit to good mango.

Stone fruit will be on the cool end near the wet wall and mango on the warm end near the exhaust fans. My main concern is getting enough chilling for the stone fruit while keeping it warm enough for mango. In the past chilling was easy by heating to 37-40 at night and running the evap cooler by day. I could achieve an average of 16 Utah hrs per day during chill cycle. 45 days was enough for 720 chill hrs and everything bloomed well.

My plan going forward is to heavily shade the stone fruit during chilling and put up one or more curtains between the stone fruit and mango to help keep the mango warm. Also some plans to maintain the soil as warm as possible for the mango.

I think my mango climate will be better than any place in CA. Highs will be 80s and 90s for 270-300 days a year and mostly 60s and 70s the rest of the time. Nights in the 40s about 45-60 days and 50s and 60s the rest.

My soil is a well drained loam. Everything grows very well, maybe too well. I tried a Raga puri banana once and it was so vigorous I had to take it out before it shaded out everything nearby.

« Last Edit: January 27, 2023, 11:10:31 AM by fruitnut1944 »

tru

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Re: Just curious - how many year-round greenhouse/indoor gardeners?
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2023, 11:11:46 AM »
I plan on moving everything outside in the future, but for now...  :)


TropicalFruitSeeker

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Re: Just curious - how many year-round greenhouse/indoor gardeners?
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2023, 11:20:49 AM »
Hi ! I've got a little greenhouse in Vancouver Wa, zone 8b. I have a pouteria obsession after eating mamey, so I've managed to fill my greenhouse with a bunch of plants that will probably get far too large in a few years. Currently I just have a cheap plastic greenhouse from Amazon that has decimated my heating bill this winter, but I am looking to build a permanent lean-to against my house this summer. I just put 4 pradosia Brevipes seeds in pots so I'm hopeful those will sprout. Also have mamey, butter sapote, ross, ducke, P transclucida, P viridis and P venosa growing.  I also have a some eugenia and plinia growing. This forum and its members have opened my eyes to just how many tropical fruits there are, and how few are available in Washington state. But we get amazing blueberries, raspberries, cherries and apples up here. (which I have growing outside of the greenhouse)

Tropicaltoba

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Re: Just curious - how many year-round greenhouse/indoor gardeners?
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2023, 11:44:15 AM »
I've had a 1725 SQFT GH in SW Texas at 4500 ft elevation for 18 years. Started out growing mostly stone fruit and citrus. That became a fig nursery business the last 7 years but now I'm going back to stone fruit with the addition of mango to spice things up. I'd like to compare my best stone fruit to good mango.

Stone fruit will be on the cool end near the wet wall and mango on the warm end near the exhaust fans. My main concern is getting enough chilling for the stone fruit while keeping it warm enough for mango. In the past chilling was easy by heating to 37-40 at night and running the evap cooler by day. I could achieve an average of 16 Utah hrs per day during chill cycle. 45 days was enough for 720 chill hrs and everything bloomed well.

My plan going forward is to heavily shade the stone fruit during chilling and put up one or more curtains between the stone fruit and mango to help keep the mango warm. Also some plans to maintain the soil as warm as possible for the mango.

I think my mango climate will be better than any place in CA. Highs will be 80s and 90s for 270-300 days a year and mostly 60s and 70s the rest of the time. Nights in the 40s about 45-60 days and 50s and 60s the rest.

My soil is a well drained loam. Everything grows very well, maybe too well. I tried a Raga puri banana once and it was so vigorous I had to take it out before it shaded out everything nearby.

That sounds like perfect growing conditions for everything. Whatís your outdoor temps in summer and winter? How do u manage humidity in winter? Do you feel
Like itís almost too Much space? I find I get overwhelmed with my tiny gh and my houseplants once I start doing summer outdoor projects.

fruitnut1944

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Re: Just curious - how many year-round greenhouse/indoor gardeners?
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2023, 11:51:11 AM »
My advantage is lots of sunshine all year around. Any sunny day in winter it gets hot in the GH. On average it hits 92 for 6-8 hrs in winter. I'd say 90% of the days it hits 90 in the GH all winter. It's those long cold nights in the 20s and 30s that require a lot of heating. When I heat to 37-40 the heating bill is minimal, maybe $100 a month. Heating to 55-60 for the three winter months costs roughly 400 per month in a 1725 sqft GH. Outside in winter is low 60s day and near freezing at night.

I may up grade to 16 mil multiwall poly carbonate. But the cost is hard to justify. It doesn't pay for itself.

Tropicaltoba

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Re: Just curious - how many year-round greenhouse/indoor gardeners?
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2023, 11:54:38 AM »
Hi ! I've got a little greenhouse in Vancouver Wa, zone 8b. I have a pouteria obsession after eating mamey, so I've managed to fill my greenhouse with a bunch of plants that will probably get far too large in a few years. Currently I just have a cheap plastic greenhouse from Amazon that has decimated my heating bill this winter, but I am looking to build a permanent lean-to against my house this summer. I just put 4 pradosia Brevipes seeds in pots so I'm hopeful those will sprout. Also have mamey, butter sapote, ross, ducke, P transclucida, P viridis and P venosa growing.  I also have a some eugenia and plinia growing. This forum and its members have opened my eyes to just how many tropical fruits there are, and how few are available in Washington state. But we get amazing blueberries, raspberries, cherries and apples up here. (which I have growing outside of the greenhouse)

Hi ! I've got a little greenhouse in Vancouver Wa, zone 8b. I have a pouteria obsession after eating mamey, so I've managed to fill my greenhouse with a bunch of plants that will probably get far too large in a few years. Currently I just have a cheap plastic greenhouse from Amazon that has decimated my heating bill this winter, but I am looking to build a permanent lean-to against my house this summer. I just put 4 pradosia Brevipes seeds in pots so I'm hopeful those will sprout. Also have mamey, butter sapote, ross, ducke, P transclucida, P viridis and P venosa growing.  I also have a some eugenia and plinia growing. This forum and its members have opened my eyes to just how many tropical fruits there are, and how few are available in Washington state. But we get amazing blueberries, raspberries, cherries and apples up here. (which I have growing outside of the greenhouse)

Never tasted  a Mamey, . I heard it tasted like pumpkin pie? Also I had grown persimmons for a while inside and felt they werenít pumpkin piey  enough to justify the space. be careful about the outside of your house. Mine actually sits on my roof and is also against an exterior wall and I made sure I designed it so it is fully sealed and completely separate from
The rest of my house. I found tropical fruit hunters blog after I had built mine and was lucky I was able to avoid the moisture infiltration problems.

fruitnut1944

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Re: Just curious - how many year-round greenhouse/indoor gardeners?
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2023, 12:02:26 PM »
Our summers are about 90 by day and 60s at night. I can keep it as cool in the GH as outside.

It's not too big for me. I'll have it filled up in no time.

As for humidity I want that as low as possible for everything. Mango don't need high humidity. Low humidity greatly reduces diseases of the tree, bloom, fruit, and everything else.

My only pest issues are spider mites and scale. Those can be controlled by spraying hort oil once a month at a cost of about $8. I have a power sprayer and 15-20 gallons does the job.

The beauty of a GH is there are nearly no losses to disease, hail, wind, freezes, birds, coons etc that decimate my outdoor fruit.

Plus a GH allows good control of water which is the biggest factor in achieving high quality fruit. Deficit irrigation increases brix and flavor in both stone fruit and mango.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2023, 12:04:49 PM by fruitnut1944 »

drymifolia

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Re: Just curious - how many year-round greenhouse/indoor gardeners?
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2023, 12:08:53 PM »
Nice thread idea! I've got a 300 sq ft greenhouse that was converted from a stick-frame 1-car garage in spring 2021. Here's before:

And soon after it was completed, after the first two avocados went in the ground:


About a year later (added a Dwarf Cavendish that spring):


And here's from October, the most recent photo in my greenhouse album (might be time to add a few soon!):


My main purpose of the greenhouse is to grow allegedly cold-hardy avocados to produce seeds for the decentralized avocado breeding project I'm organizing. The banana will be removed this year whether it fruits or not (just getting too big), and I've also got a mandarin in the ground (TDE3/Tahoe Gold), and a two-year-old mango seedling (ataulfo), both of which are healthy but slow-growing. I'm not really keeping this warm enough for true tropicals, though.

So far, I've used a "Dr. Heater" on the lowest setting, which runs a bit more often than I'd like (I'm fine with it approaching freezing in there), so I'll probably be tweaking the heating situation before next winter. Here's what my greenhouse temperatures have looked like over the last 12 months:


Tropicaltoba

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Re: Just curious - how many year-round greenhouse/indoor gardeners?
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2023, 01:46:15 PM »
Iím jealous of people that donít need containers. Looks great, was it tricky to take the roof off and add the panels . Whatís the soil like? Also what do u do for ventilation? Some of the temps are kinda high. There is a lot of research for university of florida and they show that if u exchange 1 air unit per minute in the inside temp will be max 4c more than outside on the sunniest day possible. With high air exchange and a misting system I can get my gh temp 6c less than outside even on the hottest day. Mind u I have a tiny greenhouse and a jet engine of an exhaust fan.

hammer524

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Re: Just curious - how many year-round greenhouse/indoor gardeners?
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2023, 02:03:11 PM »
Looking into building a climate battery greenhouse here in the next few weeks. Hope I can chime back in on this thread shortly

Tropicaltoba

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Re: Just curious - how many year-round greenhouse/indoor gardeners?
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2023, 02:56:09 PM »
Drymifolia, I like the data tracking. I probably would have figured things out faster if I had done that. What did u use for a system?

MisterPlantee

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Re: Just curious - how many year-round greenhouse/indoor gardeners?
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2023, 03:11:12 PM »
I am Southern Ontario, Canada. I have 2 lean two structures I built against the house that function as greenhouses in winter, and during the nice months more like a four season patio as I swap the polycarbonate windows with mesh inserts.

All my plants have to be in pots because of the winters here.

I have fruited various citrus, mango, guava, Babados/Jamaican cherry, pitangutuba, jaboticaba, starfruit, sapodilla, papaya and more.

kittycatus

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Re: Just curious - how many year-round greenhouse/indoor gardeners?
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2023, 03:48:28 PM »
My apartment living room is full of plants under grow lights, no room for furniture. I've been able to maintain a pest free collection. My biggest problem is tall plants that hit the ceiling.

drymifolia

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Re: Just curious - how many year-round greenhouse/indoor gardeners?
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2023, 04:42:11 PM »
Iím jealous of people that donít need containers. Looks great, was it tricky to take the roof off and add the panels . Whatís the soil like? Also what do u do for ventilation? Some of the temps are kinda high. There is a lot of research for university of florida and they show that if u exchange 1 air unit per minute in the inside temp will be max 4c more than outside on the sunniest day possible. With high air exchange and a misting system I can get my gh temp 6c less than outside even on the hottest day. Mind u I have a tiny greenhouse and a jet engine of an exhaust fan.

We hired someone to do the conversion. It was their first time building a greenhouse, and they made some questionable decisions on some points, but in general I'm happy with the result. They didn't seal all the edges of the panels as well as they should have, though, so moisture and algae have found their way inside the panels. My big advice would be make sure all ends are well -sealed if you use twin-wall poly panels.

For ventilation, I have an exhaust fan in the eaves on one side, it replaces about 0.7 air volumes per minute, which usually keeps it within about 14įF (7.5įC) of the outside temperature on hot days. Here's an example, the late July heat wave with 90įF highs outside and 104įF in the greenhouse:


Drymifolia, I like the data tracking. I probably would have figured things out faster if I had done that. What did u use for a system?

I use raspberry pi computers with temperature chips wired to their GPiO pins, which upload raw temperature measurements to a web script once per minute, where they get stored in a MySQL database. The charts are displayed using the Chart.js javascript library. I'm sure there are less DIY systems available, but I enjoy a good DIY project.

Tropicaltoba

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Re: Just curious - how many year-round greenhouse/indoor gardeners?
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2023, 05:09:39 PM »
Drymifolia, I thought about doing some arduino controllers, but didnít have the patient or brainpower to figure it out. Donu have experience with that sort of thing? Also I was wondering do u have them set as controllers of just monitoring? Also how reliable are they wrt breaking down? Iíve used a bunch of inkibirds to control my lights and humidity and they are terrible for breaking at 14-16 months and I was about ready to throw in the towel with them and try to find something new

brian

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Re: Just curious - how many year-round greenhouse/indoor gardeners?
« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2023, 05:27:01 PM »
I have a permanent greenhouse, its construction was well documented on the citrus section of this forum some years ago as I was building it - https://tropicalfruitforum.com/index.php?topic=32173.0

I really like the ability to plant large trees that won't play nicely in containers directly in the dirt.  However, I am happy to keep anything that will fruit in a container that way as it is nice to be able to bring everything out in the warmer months so I can clean up the greenhouse and fight the scale insects.  No matter what I do they become a problem in the winter when it is crowded, but spring & summer give me a chance to reset things and get them back to a minimum. 

I am growing basically everything now, with representatives from all the common fruiting plant groups discussed here with few exceptions.  I try a bunch and see how they do, then pick the best and get rid of the others or condemn them to being bonsai plants.  I had a ton of in-ground citrus but now I have reduced to just a few in-ground and the in-ground spots are mostly occupied by various artocarpus types and annonas.  Many of the tropicals I got as small seedlings or plants a few years ago started to bloom last year but only a few have fruited so far.  I'm expecting more this year. 

drymifolia

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Re: Just curious - how many year-round greenhouse/indoor gardeners?
« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2023, 05:36:50 PM »
Drymifolia, I thought about doing some arduino controllers, but didnít have the patient or brainpower to figure it out. Donu have experience with that sort of thing? Also I was wondering do u have them set as controllers of just monitoring? Also how reliable are they wrt breaking down? Iíve used a bunch of inkibirds to control my lights and humidity and they are terrible for breaking at 14-16 months and I was about ready to throw in the towel with them and try to find something new

I've never messed with Arduino specifically, but I've done all kinds of tinkering projects with raspberry pi. I've tried using them as a controller, but I think I'd recommend against doing "high-tech" DIY controllers for anything vital like heating and cooling. I've had reliability issues mostly resulting from user error (bugs in my code) rather than hardware failure. If you go the single-board computer route, invest in high quality microSD cards, that's going to be your main point of hardware failure.

For controlling heating, I just use the dial on my heater. For cooling, I use one of these:
https://www.thermocube.com/#thermocube

The TC-21 works reasonably well for cooling, though not perfect in the shoulder seasons when I want to keep more of the accumulated heat each day.

Jaboticaba45

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Re: Just curious - how many year-round greenhouse/indoor gardeners?
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2023, 06:51:42 PM »
Daintree, nice thread idea!
Yes I'm another grower who is stuck up north. At least for now...We'll see. Anyways right now I'm at a 20x28 greenhouse. I have lots of trees in ground or in bottomless rootmaker pots. Which lets the roots grow into the ground. Mangoes, lychee, white sapote, jaboticaba, guava, loquat, starfruit, lemon drop mangosteen, and rollinia are the trees I have in ground. Everything else is in pots.
you can check out my website and blog where I will post about what's going on over here. https://graftatree.com/blog/
I grow basically everything, but mostly I like jaboticabas and stuff in the myrtle family. Also took up a passion for yangmei. Especially that they can grow without protection here. And then I like to grow stuff that tastes good, so mangoes and lychees and others for me. There's a lot of stuff I've culled cause the fruit tasted bad. Feel free to ask any question or make comments.

Nick C

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Re: Just curious - how many year-round greenhouse/indoor gardeners?
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2023, 07:54:43 PM »
I've got a few different growing situations going for my zone7a climate. I have a heated greenhouse with dragonfruit that has grown thru the pot into the ground. During the summer i use it just as a nursery to get seeds and seedlings started but in the winter all my more subtropicals/anything that can take into the 30s are packed in there. In there will be all my citrus, avocado, jaboticaba, jamun, guavas, macadamia, eugenias, olive, lucuma, bird of paradise and others +succulents. For anything that needs just another layer of protection i have a hoop house where i use frost cloth and thermal mass to keep some in-ground citrus, pineapple guava, figs, pomegranate, tea, and arbutus. Everything else that is more tropical goes indoor under grow lights; soursop, pouteria, syzygium, jackfruit, inga, sapodilla, cacao, and a bunch of other stuff












Daintree

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Re: Just curious - how many year-round greenhouse/indoor gardeners?
« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2023, 11:25:05 PM »
What fun! I wish I could grow things in the ground, but I cant even dig down a few inches because of massive maple tree roots all through the yard. That being said, I have several plants that have put roots through the bottoms of their pots and and are tunneling their way to freedom.  My vanilla vines have a mat of aeirial roots that have gone to ground that are at least three feet in diameter.
I love everyone's pics of their setups, and boy am I jealous of the 1700 sf one in Texas! I'd have it filled in no time! I just can't resist trying new things.
Love the converted garage idea too!
I used to have tropicals in the house, and watering took so long, mostly because I couldn't get to the back of the room without moving pots.
There are so many problems, and advantages, that are specific to greenhouses, container growing, and indoor cultivation!

Cheers, Carolyn
PS - if anybody is ever near Boise Idaho, give a shout and you'll get a greenhouse tour! Maybe I'll even have a batch of ripe bananas.

CherimoyaDude

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Re: Just curious - how many year-round greenhouse/indoor gardeners?
« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2023, 12:33:57 AM »
How high are the energy costs to heat these? Might end up in Minnesota at some point and would want to do this.

Pouteria_fan

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Re: Just curious - how many year-round greenhouse/indoor gardeners?
« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2023, 01:08:46 AM »
Really neat setups everyone.

Has anyone created a passive solar style greenhouse, requiring little to no extra energy input?

Something using a similar concept to this:
https://www.mainepublic.org/environment-and-outdoors/2023-01-25/this-maine-home-can-stay-70-degrees-without-a-furnace-even-when-its-freezing-outside

Tropicaltoba

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Re: Just curious - how many year-round greenhouse/indoor gardeners?
« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2023, 07:39:45 AM »
..
« Last Edit: January 28, 2023, 11:46:09 AM by Tropicaltoba »

drymifolia

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Re: Just curious - how many year-round greenhouse/indoor gardeners?
« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2023, 12:23:05 PM »
How high are the energy costs to heat these? Might end up in Minnesota at some point and would want to do this.

I'd guess that would be quite a bit more to heat a greenhouse in Minnesota vs here in Seattle. I use the "Dr. Heater" 1.5kw greenhouse heater on the lowest setting, which seems to turn on/off (saw pattern) when the outside temperatures are in the low 40s and then it runs continuously when the outside temperatures fall to around freezing or just below. Here's an example chart showing two brief periods of continuous heating (red arrows) on a mildly freezing night last week:



My greenhouse is still a bit drafty despite some efforts to seal up leaky bits, but the heater can hold it around 12įF above outside ambient, and I have a second heater that I plug in when really cold weather threatens. The two together seem to manage a delta of about 20įF.

For somewhere like Minnesota, I'd think you'd need a minimum of 2kW of heat for a small-to-moderate greenhouse, even if it's reasonably well-sealed, and that would probably need to run continually through the winter (~48kWh per day). Energy rates vary a lot from area to area, but that would be somewhere on the order of 1500 kWh per month. Here in Seattle, the "second block" rate (anything over 480kWh/month) is about $0.13/kWh, so that would be about $200/month for 1500kWh of heating.

My heater ends up costing about $50 to $80 per month for most of the winter, though it can be hard to tease out the exact cost since our house heating (heat pump) also increases a bit when it's cold.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2023, 12:43:40 PM by drymifolia »

 

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