My latest greenhouse

Ok, the long awaited GH photos. Please note that my greenhouse, whilst being in use, is a long way from completion. There is intended to be a second room added next to it, but we don't have much money (we're technically below the poverty line at the moment, and we have a mortgage) so I built the minimum design that would get me through a few years.

Here is a picture of the door to my greenhouse:

You can see that I need to seal the door better - most of my heat losses are due to this air gap. As the temperatures have been quite sufficient all winter I've never got around to fixing it. On the right side is a triple decker bench I welded up from steel tube offcuts and weldmesh. It cost me $80 all up. Near the door is a small Platycerium superbum. On the top you can see some of the 1500 thumbpots of cuttings and seedlings I'm growing. What do I do with all these plants? mostly kill them (evil laugh) - I use them for experiments, and to fill in the gaps in our garden.

Here is a better shot of my battery plants:

I migrate the plants from right to left as they develop, the plants on the right are ready to go in the ground or a big pot outside, or die because I don't get around to it. Each plant is in its own clear pot (made from clear polystyrene) so you can see the roots developing (which is fun all by itself!). I bought two boxes of these (over 2000 of them!) plus the carrier trays. Each carrier holds 40, but you can pack 80 or so in a nursery flat. for tougher species like lilies grasses and some bushes and trees I just plant the grown plant into a hole and water in, but some of the pickier species I grow up through several pot sizes first. Some never go in the ground (of the 30 craspedia glauca (orange) I planted, only 1 survived the snails... touch wood.

Here is a picture of my bog garden (mk 2, the original one collapsed due to stress fracturing in the glass fibre suspension):

The bog garden has some native alpine species (bog plants such as astelia, craspedia, sphagnum, Th. ixiodes) and a few saracenias (because my wife likes them). Also a few sweetcorns, as we had nowhere to put them. The cats think it's fantastic - you can see their cat flap to inside which means that they can go in there even when they are looked in the house (there is no way out for them at night). Water from a stream is apparently much nicer than from a bowl (even when the stream smells like cowpoo!). Underneath the bog garden is a our 'wootank', a 4.5kL tank made from plywood, hardwood, a steel girder and pond liner (total cost, about $500). The wootank (to distinguish from our plastank for rainwater) stores and releases heat from the greenhouse regulating the temperature. Eventually I'll put my murray rainbows and silver perch back in the water, and the water will be filtered by passing through the living wall and through the bog. Currently it has nothing in it apart from two freshwater mussels. The water is a dark brown, but doesn't smell of anything. It is filled up with rainwater from the roof, and I periodically use it to water the garden (fertigation). The roses love being irrigated with this water.

Here's a picture from outside:

In the foreground is a Prostanthera magnifica flowering magnificantly. You can see that today the autovent has opened as it has been sunny all day and my heat exchanger is out of action. When the heat exchanger is working most of the collected heat would be stored in the wootank.

And the door:

The red taps are the yet to be automated control valves for the temperature regulation system. Currently I've just set everything to a reasonable level, but eventually, like in my old greenhouse, the water will be moved around to regulate the temperature (on hot days we heat the water by cooling the air, on cool days we heat the soil with pipes). The water also is provided to my rockface and living wall:

The living wall is currently at 3.5byo BP, having only some simple cyanobacteria, but I'm hoping to move it to at least the carboniferous (mosses and ferns), and maybe even to the cretaceous (orchids). The living wall provides a number of nice features which make it a must in any greenhouse:

I've made several prototypes of this, but nothing as big as this yet. Apart from a few weeds that must have landed on it when it was lying outside in the dirt for 6 months, it has no higher life forms. I'm waiting until it settles down - starts growing moss for example.




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