Portable greenhouse advise and questions.

goodview, VA(Zone 7a)

Ok here it goes my first post being a new member again after 4 years away.(not sure why in the world I stayed away).
I bought portable green house off Ebay and I would like to know what everyone thinks of these.
Are they a waste of time? I was starting seeds inside but my three year old loves dirt and would destroy them every time. The greenhouse is 8' long by 6' wide by 7' tall.
Also was thinking about a floor for it and was wondering what everyone thought would be best. I was thinking about getting a piece of outdoor carpet and using it what do you think?
I am posting a picture.Also it doesn't provide for ventilation. Will fans be all I need or will I need to maybe cut some flaps? I know this is several questions sorry if I went overboard.
Thanks for any help you can provide.
God bless, Keith

Thumbnail by bkeith0
Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Keith ~ maybe concrete pads or stepping stones for a floor allowing for drainage between. Or you could use crushed rock or gravel.

Will you be using it in winter? Summer? Keeping what in it besides seedlings?

I had a small one that I opened the door for ventilation and just had to remember to do that before I left for work and also to close it in the evening. If we had a cold, cold day, I would only crack the door. It worked.

For summer use, I opened an area on the back for ventilation and covered the whole thing with shade cloth. I only left succulents in it during the heat of summer.

edited to add, welcome back to DG!

This message was edited Jan 31, 2010 9:41 AM

goodview, VA(Zone 7a)

podster Thanks for your reply. Mainly I will be using it to start seeds in the spring. May leave it up during the summer but, not sure what I would be using it for then. I was wondering about drainage with the outdoor carpet maybe the gravel with a stepping stone or two might be the way to go.Did you not using any fans to keep the air circulating? I was thinking about using one or two and I also got a misting thing to hook up to the water hose.After reading on here I will be keeping it low beneath the plants if I use it just to cool down the greenhouse.Had also thought of using a shade cloth. I am excited about all this but, since I am new to greenhouses this year will be a big learning carve for me.I am planning on using one side for veggies and the other for flowers.Maybe I could keep starting flowers from seed in there through out the summer.
Thanks for all your help.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

No, I didn't use a fan although I now have a permanent GH and will have a ceiling fan when it is wired for electricity. I would be afraid of a mister unless you have adequate ventilation. Could cause mildew and rot?

South Hadley, MA(Zone 6a)

Before I bought my Rion greenhouse I had a very similar greenhouse to the one you bought. I was acceptable. I never started any seeds in it. What I used mine for was a place to put annauls after I started them indoors. Usually in mid-April.

I would not spend to much money on the floor. Cheap as you can. Maybe you have some treated decking laying around that you can use for some solid footing or even some paving stones. The ones home depot sell are 12x12 and are pretty cheap and would cover the area where you walk.

For ventilation you could just run a extenion cord there and have a stardard box fan to move the air around. Walmart sells these small clip fan that you could you near the ridge for some additional air movement. Again, don't spend too much money.

Why do I keep saying don't spend too much money? I got only 4 months out of mine. The plastic is not UV treated and degrades faster than any plastic I have ever seen. The first year I put it up early April and took it down in June. The second year I put it up again in mid April and by mid May it was ripping and tearing all over. With out any effort I could push my finger though the plastic covering. The location I had mine only recieved afternoon sun.

A good start but don't expect much longevity.

If you like the idea of portable greenhouse check out a flowerhouse. Those things are pretty good for the money. I am still using the one I baught 5 years ago and it is up year round. I store plastic pots in it to save space in my greenhouse.


Bark River, MI

My concern would be anchoring it down -- does it come with tiedowns of some kind? Or, Podster and Boxcar, what would you suggest?

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Absolutely! My small one was homemade and heavy and I am in a sheltered area where wind is not an issue. That didn't even cross my mind.

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

We used metal T-posts at the legs inside and then tied off the GH legs to the posts. I did cut off some plastic bottles to slide over the top of the posts, so they didn't tear my plastic. Works really well in our high wind here on the open hilltop. Mine also has a 12" flap all around the bottom that lays flat on the ground to put weights on (pots of soil, concrete blocks, etc).

Bark River, MI

That sounds like a good solution, Msrobin -- thanks for sharing it!

Keith -- I wouldn't worry too much about longevity of the little greenhouse, you'll probably soon be so hooked that you'll want something bigger. I bought a Rion g'house about 7 years ago and wasn't too sure what I wanted to do with it, but I was starting plants under fluorescent lights every spring so I figured that's what I would use the Rion for. As it turned out I still start most of the seedlings indoors and then move them out in early April (I'm in the frozen north), only minimally heat the g'house to keep things from freezing. That has worked out great for me, except now I start way more plants than I used to and give lots away to friends and family. That wasn't enough for me, so I decided this year I would put up a hoophouse to extend my growing season on either end (and maybe even through the winter, according to the book "Four Season Harvest"). I think what I really need is a greenhouse over my entire garden...

BTW, welcome back to DG -- I took a couple-year hiatus myself and came back about a year ago, and like you couldn't quite figure out why I had stayed away. So much great information to be had here!


goodview, VA(Zone 7a)

Thanks everyone for your suggestions.I really knew there wasn't going to be a lot of longevity in this greenhouse.Although I did think I would get more than 4 months out of the plastic covering.I have thought about it and was thinking the frame might still be use able and that in the future I could replace the plastic with something better.As far as anchors go it did come with some tie downs that attach from the plastic to the ground but,after reading on here I am sure I can find a way to anchor the frame instead and then anchor my plastic to it. I can't start my seeds inside the house because of my three year old so I will be using or trying to use the greenhouse for that.I did by a heat mat to place under my seeds to help them get started and hopefully that will work well.Will probably just pick up a couple of stepping stones to go inside don't really like the idea of gravel or crushed rock after I thought about it.I have to admit I would love to have one of the nicer greenhouses like the Rion but, unless I can get my wife hooked that will have to be a battle for another year.Our last freeze date around here I was told is somewhere around the 2nd week in may. I was thinking of maybe setting the greenhouse up sometime in march.Got the planting bug and will be hard for me to wait until later than that.Thanks again for all your help.
God Bless, Keith

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Keith, I used an old piece of carpet on the ground inside my greenhouse the first year and it worked well. I just spread a little dried leaves and hay on the ground this winter.

From what I read in a book by Elliot Coleman on winter harvesting and greenhouse growing in Maine, zone 5, they start their spring crops in February in a un-heated greenhouse. Why don't you go ahead and play around with it. Isn't going to cost you much more than the cost of seeds and a few bags of soil. And it's a wonderful place to hang out, even if it's cold outside, as the inside will be pretty comfortable.

goodview, VA(Zone 7a)

Thanks for the advise msrobin and when we quit getting snow I may do that.We have had two big snow falls this year with the first being around 16" and the one this past weekend which is still hanging around 12" and they are calling for snow next Saturday already.
I am also planning on doing some strawbale gardening this year so some straw on the floor might work well also.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

anchoring done: I bought a kit of heavy duty screw into the ground anchors that are for a carport style temporary structure. They work great and were easy to install. The kit had 6 steel anchors and they are about 1-1/2' in length

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

bkeith0 ~ if you should decide to use it in winter, surround the GH with strawbales. Most of the cold enters at ground level and that will help insulate.

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Something else I did was to take a sheet of regular plastic and pull it through between the frame and outer plastic, keeping it loose to provide air pockets. That helped keep mine a little warmer. Black painted milkjugs filled with water will help too.

McLean, VA(Zone 6b)

Keith, I think that I am looking at the exact same model that you bought last year. I start my seeds inside, and in the past have literally covered my driveway with flats when it was time to transition them out . I am hoping that this portable greenhouse will allow me to bring everything outside sooner. I don't think that I would use it until sometime in April. I generally start planting Mother's day weekend.

Were you happy with yours last year?

Greeley, CO(Zone 5b)

Since you have a little one and plan on using stepping stones, here is a fun idea to dress them up. I just use outdoor paint and a regular paint pen. The oldest one is from '98 and it still looks really good (it is just covered up w/ leaves right now).

Thumbnail by onyxwar

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