Greenhouse Building

by Juanita Schulze

This page talks about our greenhouse building. It gives details on a greenhouse we recently built.

They say practice makes perfect. This greenhouse is 14 feet by 80 feet and stands about 5 foot and 9 inches tall. 

It has a cooler in it. The cooler will only work until about April. We will have to have everything out by then because it will just get to hot. Or I could put a bigger cooler in. We have two huge exhaust fans on it. We have added two intake vents on it.  It is not getting enough air flow. We know this because when the exhaust fans are on, the ceiling and plastic are sucked down a bit. When the exhaust vents come on, if I have not opened the door, then the exhaust vents will suck the air out and collapse the greenhouse since it is made out of 3/4 PVC. One I open the door it returns to its original shape.

Backside of the greenhouse showing the exhaust fans.

Some things we have done differently this time. We have screwed in our 3/4 clamps. They first time we put on the plastic, a high wind blew it off. The first time around we also spaced out supports 6 feet apart. We had to come back and put them at three feet. They should have been two feet apart with 3/4 inch PVC.

We put the plastic on and clamp down the ends and the put the clamps on in the middle. This left the plastic too tight and is now ripping holes in it. We will be removing every other support clamp to see if this will help stop the ripping.

What we should have done was start at one end and put the clamps on and worked our way to the other end.

Left side of the greenhouse.

We have put sandbags down along the outside to help hold the plastic down,  This seems to be working well. We used snap clamps for this.

We went on ahead and put 30% shade cloth on since here in South Texas we get an abundance of sunshine.

The white pipe you see running down on the left side of the greenhouse is our water pipe. It goes to the well we put in about two months ago. The water itself has a good nitrogen reading and a great phosphorus reading. I believe this water is going to excellent for our hydroponic system without adding any additional nutrients. 

Probably next year we will be burying the pipe along with some electrical wiring we need to put in as well. Things are moving on the farm.

Also sitting down there is a 2500 gallon water tank. It was the tank we got water from the first few months we were here. Now it is full of well water and will be used as a back up.

This is the inside of our greenhouse. As you can see, we can start a lot of plants in here. We have a lot started now. 

Down the middle is our hydroponic system. This is my third try. I think this will be the best we have done. We will start planting seeds tomorrow. What to plant? So many seeds and so little room. 

One thing I would do differently is to use 1 inch or 1 1/4 inch PVC. I believe it would be much sturdier. Probably would not get whipped around by the wind as much.

As time goes on we are getting better at what we do. This is what life is about.  Learning as we go. We must always be learning something new and different. This farm life has been different for us. We were getting into a rut and life was getting a bit mundane. But we will now have some excitement for several years now.

Other than growing stuff, out next big project is getting our retail store moved out here from San Antonio.


UPDATE 01-09-2021


Well this greenhouse did not last very long. The 3/4 PVC did not hold up very well in this case. I put too much weight on the support truss. I also did not put enough cross supports in it. So we built a new greenhouse just before spring of 2021.

This is our completed hoop house. I told the guys to add four feet to it.  They misunderstood me and added four feet to each side instead of four feet to the length of the greenhouse. This is one of those mistakes that ends up being a good mistake because we now have our own high tunnel greenhouse. I like the extra height. We used 1 and 1/4 inch PVC pipe  instead of the usual 3/4 inch PVC. We put the pipes 2 feet apart. We added about 7 rows of strengthening trusses. We made the plastic cover where we can drop it during the summer time for added cooling. We have one fan as an intake and one as an exhaust fan. We constructed a better door which we replaced in February of 2023 with a regular screen door that goes on a house. We added a place to plant inside since we had too many shelves. We ended up starting 4,000 plants, mostly tomato plants, for the spring 2023 season and we are down to about 275 plants left. 

This high tunnel is just great for growing. I have my hydroponics going down the middle. They have done well. The only problem is that it is hard to keep the water cool in the hydroponic system in the summer, even with three giant air conditioner units.

We get the evaporative coolers from Port-A-Cool. They are very durable and last for years. I have one that we got six years ago and we had to replace the pump because of the hard water. I sold these units when I was in Iraq as well. These are built in Texas.

Our high tunnel greenhouse is our most current greenhouse design.  It was made with PVC instead of metal and is much sturdier and taller than our previous greenhouses. It cost about $2000 to put in compared to about $9000 for a metal one. With the electric outlets, fans, evaporative coolers ($4000) and all of the accessories you see, it cost us about $9,000. 

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