anyone here have a glass greenhouse attached to their house! our trailer is in need of a renovation so i thought i could maybe add a glass greenhouse to the south side to replace the old porch. been looking at some plans but haven’t found any cost estimates. would be a great way to grow tropical fruits in containers year round and in the winter on sunny days it would supplement the heat in the trailer. anyone have something like this?
I do have an attached greenhouse.
Some of the things I like about how mine is set-up thanks to my mother.
I have a window on the wall it’s attached too. Even though I have an exhaust fan and vent it can become up to 90 degrees in the middle of winter on a sunny day. Opening that window allows me to drop the temps 10-degrees. I’m pulling more air thru/into.
Mine is under my deck which too helps keep it cool in there.
Mine faces south. If I were to do it all over again I’d have it face north or east. You don’t need direct sunlight coming in.
Mine is on a concrete pad.
You should be sure under the concrete/substrate you put in foam insulation. We didn’t know that. Don’t ask me what type as it’s been a decade or more since I read about that.
This is a 16’ with a 5’ front ridge and an 8’ back ridge (I think.) It came from Farmtek.
For convenience my hoophouse is within close proximity.
I’ve since removed the benches which is all that wood laying on the ground but I kept the double decker on the back wall (attached side) and my work bench of course.
You see there’s electrical outlets in there. I have a wall mounted oscillating fan for circulation and I have two lights (one on each end) if I’m in there when it’s night.
I had a friend in southwest Minnesota who had a sunroom/greenhouse that they used for drying clothes and warming up their house on sunny days in the winter. It got really warm sometimes. As I age, I like the sound of warm in the winter so I’m thinking about doing that by enclosing our deck.
I want one…but haven’t allocated or come up with funding.
I have a GH attached to my house. Pics of the original build here… https://www.facebook.com/little.john.1460/media_set?set=a.10214546947255204&type=3
and when I installed the climate battery…
I have a sunroom on the south side of my house. I call it a sunroom rather than a greenhouse because I don’t heat it at night. In my climate it can supply all of my heat on sunny days but none with a moderate to heavy overcast. The 180 sq ft sunroom will warm up 1200 sq ft of my house by 20F and more on sunny days.
It would take a lot of heat to keep it above freezing in a cold climate. Here it would produce way more heat by day than needed to keep it above freezing at night. In a cold climate that would reverse in a big way.
Mine only cost a few hundred dollars. I built a frame around the porch and cover it Oct to March in poly.
The heat really feels nice even with our mild winters.
I’m going to try and get it paid by including it in the home improvement loan. it will also make a good selling point . I’ve never seen them around here. my aunt/ uncle in CT have one with a small hot tub in there. she planted tropical plants that surround the tub. feels like your in a tropical oasis. love the idea of being able to grow year round.
We’ve had an attached greenhouse since we built our house in the mid ‘80’s. It’s gone through several “rebuilds” but has always grown winter greens for us and spring starts. It’s small, about 8’x13’, is a modified pit design, has a waist high bed against the house and a bench along the front. The original was of wood and salvaged thermopane windows; later upgraded to cement/stone walls and better salvaged thermopane windows. The next upgrade will be really good windows (someday!). I love it. It fills up in October then empties the end of May. I don’t use it in the summer. When there are no plants and with vents into the house it will give some heat. We don’t heat it in the winter but if we do have extra heat in the house, or the greenhouse, the vents are opened to allow the heat to move one way or the other. 3/4 of the windows side and front (the vertical ones) open so that’s our heat escape for the GH. All manual. There are small fans on auto. I think no matter what you come up with you’ll be happy to have it! I consider it an essential part of the house and homestead. There’s a bit more about our greenhouse on our website at: http://www.manytracks.com/Garden/greenhouse.htm
I really need to do some work on that page but it gives an idea. Here’s a couple of photos, in and out:
My sunroom is 20x20, and it faces north
We’re down to subzero now, but a couple of space heaters keep it over 40 at nite
Love your place, Sue.
I thoroughly enjoyed browsing through your website a couple days ago. What kind of wood cookstove do you have? I’m obsessed with them lately and have been looking for one for our cabin. Your homestead is beautiful.
Thank you, it does suit us real well. PM sent re cookstove. Sue
I’m looking into the possibility of building an attached greenhouse on the South side of my house.
It would be connected to the garage (which has living space above it) and under a deck, similar to what Dax has in his first pic. But, I was thinking about extending it ~10 feet past the deck. So, the part closest to the house would probably get full sun in the winter (when the sun angle is low), but shaded during the summer.
Some questions for the more experienced:
I’d like to be able to use it year round, so it would need some heating during the winter.
1.) How much would it help to connect it to the main living space with insulated ducts?
I was originally thinking about just connecting it to the living space with a fan in each duct, one on each side of the greenhouse. But thinking about it more, I don’t think I’d be able to reach the wall to the living space on the right side (left would be OK), without blocking the deck. Maybe having one of the heating ducts (which run along the ceiling of the garage) exit into greenhouse on the right, then allow a return on the left, from the greenhouse back into the living space. Heating for this area is by heat pump
2.) What would you use as panels. I’ve done a bit of reading and the acrylic/Plexiglas ones sound good due to durability and longevity, but I’m not sure how insulating they would be (if that is even a meaningful goal).
a.) What material?
b.) If acrylic/Plexiglas, how thick?
3.) What to do with floor? I was thinking about leaving it dirt and planting directly into it, as @fruitnut has in his greenhouse. But, I’m not sure how cold it would get during the winter. Both the ground getting cold for the roots and losing heat. Would the soil near the outer walls be colder, while near the middle and near the house would stay warmer?
Again, the goal would be year round production. My life is generally pretty good, with my biggest complaint being the existence of winter. I’d love to be able to grow fruit which keeps producing all winter long (extra light needed?). For example, day neutral strawberries and blackberries tend to just keep producing until the frost. Take away the frost and will they produce all winter? Jujubes make 2nd flushes of fruit and I have some which are just starting to ripen around Nov 1st when the frost hits. So I’m sure I could extend the season, but I’m not sure they would keep producing indefinitely. And of course it would be great to get some tropicals (lychees, lognan, mango, etc) to actually produce (they just make leaves in pots for me). But, I’m not sure how viable it is to produce such a greenhouse and what key gotcha’s I should be watching for.
Attaching a greenhouse to your house in a humid climate carries some risks that I don’t have here. Even here with my sunroom I try to hold down the vegetation to avoid too much humidity entering the house. I haven’t seen any issues but there is risk. And I’m not growing in mine it’s basically vegetation free and just for heat.
Mine pumps out amazing heat on sunny days but it doesn’t take many clouds to block much or all heat gain. We have 75% sun in winter and high sun angles compared to CT.
The best covering for the structure won’t be what you mention. What I’m looking at for my greenhouse is 16 mil multiwall polycarbonate: 16mm Clear Polycarbonate Sheet with 5 Walls and UV protection - ePlastUSA
The 16 mil would be for a heated structure growing plants. It would reduce heat loss at night. For heat gain a thinner material even just clear 6 mil greenhouse poly would allow more heat gain by day. But also allow high heat loss at night.
A good compromise material would be clear 8 mil twin wall polycarbonate that’s widely avaliable.
Is the worry about circulating the moist air back into the house or having too much humidity in the greenhouse itself, such as along the outer wall of the house?
I wouldn’t think that I’d want to circulate the air into the house during the summer. I’d need some sort of vent/fan to the outside. And during the winter it is always too dry inside. That does remind me that one of the other questions I had was how fine a mesh screen to put on any vents to ensure that pests such as plum curculio don’t make it into the greenhouse.
Right now, I have a bunch of plants in that room and the humidity is still pretty low. I just checked and it is 33%, even though it hasn’t been that cold recently (30’s and 40’s). The colder it gets, the more heating is used and the dryer the air.
But I suppose this a lot of vegetation could push things too far and overshoot a comfortable 50-60% with too much humidity.
That’s definitely one of my concerns- not sure if I’ll need supplemental light.
So the main benefit of the 16 mil polycarbonate is that it provides better insulation? One of the worries I had with PC is that it wouldn’t last as long as acrylic and would yellow more. I saw 10 years for PC and some places said 50 years for acrylic (could outlast me, as I’m getting close to 50 now myself).
I’ve had trouble finding solid stats on how much insulation each of the options provide. Some places talk about R values, and most seemed to be in the 0.5 to 1.5 range, though most of the time they didn’t specify the thickness, so it was hard to make sure I had an apples-to-apples comparison.
I had a contractor over last week (he was re-roofing the addition of our house that we’re planning to add more solar panels to) and asked him what he suggested. He said plexiglass slotted into 6" wide, 5/4" thick trex decking. The 16 mil wouldn’t fit that way, but the site had a pic of a locking mechanism that could be used.
Any thoughts on the flooring? How cold does the soil in the middle of your greenhouse (vs near the edges) get during the winter? I always like planting in-ground when I can, but I’m not sure how much cold would be transmitted through it.
In the link I gave above click on technical specs. The R value is 2.778 with 65% light transmission. They have specs for other thicknesses. 6 mil GH poly is probably about 1.5 with 75-80% light transmission.
It’s not cold enough here and my GH is big enough that I have no concern about insulating perimeter soil. In cold climates like CO and colder they do recommend insulating the soil to reduce cold penetration.
You need to talk to a greenhouse professional not a general contractor.
Supplemental light in a GH is seldom useful. And a GH isn’t useful if the sun doesn’t shine. I think of lots of clouds in CT. In that case an insulated room with LED lights might make more sense. A GH is so poorly insulated that heating costs can eat you alive. If the sun isn’t helping out then LEDs and insulated spaces might make more sense.
I’m not sure if you meant CO or CT. If CO, then CT isn’t anywhere near as cold as CO, by 1-2 hardiness zones. I seem to recall more frozen ground from when I was a kid. In recent years, there are often only a few days here and there where the ground is frozen solid. And none in the last month+ (low of 23F), though we may have a few days like that this weekend when it is expected to go down to single digits.
While CT can’t compete with where you are, it actually isn’t that bad for sun. Here’s the average solar radiance we get in February- at least average and maybe a bit above that for the continental US. I’m in the same band that covers the Eastern 1/3 of Texas.
I’ve thought about doing something like that, but I can’t picture myself wanting to use it as much. I do have a few grow lights suspended under a pool table for jujube seedlings, but nothing big. The room that I have my plants in now is a good start in terms of how much light it gets and I like spending time there when it is sunny in the winter. And it would be very nice to have a similar area which gets even more sun, as even the best spots in that room get shaded for good chunks of the day from walls.
I’d probably want to do a pit greenhouse (something like the Citrus in the Snow?), but the deck is in the way. Can’t dig down around its support posts. Maybe it could be built into a South facing hill in my yard that is a bit steep for me to comfortably use…But, I’d really like to not have to go outside to get to it during the winter. Maybe I need to move to find a house where the yard is properly oriented.
Any suggestions on finding one? I see a few places that sell greenhouses, but it doesn’t look like they do custom attached greenhouse/additions. Should I be looking for contractors who build sun rooms instead?
Given the concerns about light level and heat level, are there costlier options which will have both high transmission and insulation? I think double-triple pane glass might- but I think it could have both reliability (fogging) and cost issues.
Cost is going to be difficult to navigate on this one. If it was up to me, I’d spend half as much as buying a house and cover the yard (no more bugs, animals, fungus, and control of watering. My wife on the other hand would be OK with spending about $100 total. So it will be a bit of a negotiation and I’ll need to have a good idea of all the trade-offs.
I don’t think there’s anything better than the 16 mm PC. But for more money you could consider acrylic. It has higher light transmission and can be repolished for ~30 yrs of life. My PC is yellowing at 18 yrs. It’s still good but I’ll probably replace it soon with 16 mm PC.
Plastic Sheets – Greenhouse Megastore
Acrylic isn’t as strong as PC. But it sure would look nice.
These things heat up so fast Bob. A long time ago a propagator who lived in CT. - the guy that actually taught me how to graft said that if he were to do it all again he would never put a greenhouse in full sun and that he choose the north side first & then the East.
My greenhouse under that deck during Dec-Jan. with a sun at a heck of a high angle will still become 80-degrees sometimes. That’s a day that’s anywhere from 0 outside to 30. So beware, these things.
The ground needs to be insulated for concrete anyways. Mine isn’t and should’ve been. Mine is a what 3.5" or 4" concrete slab w/o insulation and later I read that under a slab for greenhouses should be a layer of foam.
You need to be able to cool these things down in a hurry/rapidly. The size that you’re showing is going to need some serious fans. Not just one but likely multiple. I don’t know though. My is connected to my basement and later in the year when I’m waiting for that last frost and needing to monitor the temperature inside, a window my mother installed to the basement can be opened and that cooler air than the outside air is now being pulled thru the greenhouse along with the shutters open and me manually opening the door. Mine has a Dutch door. It comes in handy for the neighbor dogs chasing me around and stomping on everything…