Wednesday, February 24, 2010

2010 evolution of greenhouse concept (thus far)

Maybe I should blame the planted aquarium I started late last year.  After all, it is just as culpable in reigniting my interest in building outbuildings, and in particular a greenhouse, as anything else.  I had a desire to expand a growing trend.  Since the start of this year my ideas have evolved quite a bit.  Here is a fairly comprehensive (yet incomprehensible) list detailing the evolution:

search through Wikipedia, my bookcase, local libraries, retailers, and organizations
high tunnel hoop houses
Farm Tek "EZ-Build & Gro Cold Frames"
"Greenhouse/sauna/chicken coop" combination idea
"50 dollar PVC hoop house" and "owenlea farm 4-year polyethylene film" examples
"yellow cedar gusseted gable roof" example w/ Ownelea steel pipe foundation
wood, plastic, steel, concrete foundation materials compared
stick frame, trestle frame, scissors truss, center kingpost structural systems considered
photovoltaic powered water reservoir pump and thermostat switched blower. 
solar greenhouse
"giant cold frame using tripods and visqueen"
examples: "neighbor's shed", "new vendor's stalls at Farmer's Market", "covered carport"
Rob Roy's 10x16 post and beam sauna with (sod covered) shed roof. 
"20x30 pole framed machine shop w/ carport/sauna/greenhouse combo" (and lumber rack) example
terraced dirt floor interior of greenhouse considered, like Mother Earth News article
"8x24 woodshed" example w/ "burnt wood siding"
foundation plans from "Build like a Pro: sheds" and "Shelter" (p46 - possible T&G sauna floor). 
Roald Gunderson's greenhouses w/ branching “kingpost” columns
Calypso Farm's "catchment pond" idea
Raised flower and vegetable beds w/ log sections
manual water pump for below ground tank, new rainwater filter (not Wisy)
Van Lengen "gazebo" with benches/table/hanging plants
Pioneered (rope and pole) swinging bench (beam across two tripods secured w/ guy wires)
cable stabilized trees to prevent roof damage
West facing orientation instead of south. 

Out of all that research has emerged plans for:
1) concentric rows of raised flower and vegetable beds encircling the yard, built of log sections.  [dedicated time: two weeks]
2) a stick-framed shed-roofed greenhouse w/ attached sauna on north side.  [dedicated time: two months]
3) a stick-framed shed-roofed shed.  [dedicated time: one month]
4) a pole-framed hipped-roof gazebo with benches/table/hanging plants. [dedicated time: one week]
5) and a "pioneered" (rope and pole) swinging bench (beam across two tripods secured w/ guy wires).  [dedicated time: two days]

I think I will start with the vegetable and flower beds first.  With all the logs laying around my house, I have more than enough raw material.  I'll fire up the chainsaw I bought last year and lay them on the ground, stacked no more than one or two lengths high and secured with stakes.  For a more unusual look I could lay up short cordwood walls for the raised beds, which would let me form curved walls with straight sides more easily.  They will rot after a few years and contribute to the richness of the soil; easily replaced.  The scale of the raised beds will necessitate it to be an ongoing project.  Unless protected under wire mesh, the moose will dine on the plants as they please. 

Second I would like to build a pole-framed hipped-roof gazebo.  This will be made from five four-inch peeled logs (possibly torched/treated) whose ends are buried in post holes.  An additional four rafters and eight braces complete this simple structure.  A woodchip floor, hanging baskets, simple table, and chairs make it a nice outdoor rest area.  Roof and insect screening is optional. 

Third, the swinging bench will be very easy to build and test for soundness.  I have built similar structures before. 

Fourth, the stick-framed shed-roofed shed will need to be built.  The epitomy of simplicity in design, it will keep building materials for the last project dry and off the ground, as well as create a central location for all the other outdoor materials currently scattered around the house in the woods.  Most lumber and wood scraps do not need a roof, but bikes, tires, gardening equipment, and some construction tools and materials will need shelter.  A wood floor isn't necessary, but strong posts on concrete piers with rafters to hang objects from are needed. 

Fifth, I would build the stick-framed shed-roofed greenhouse w/ attached sauna.  This building with a long north south axis catches the western sun as it skims over the distant hills.  The shed roof may be parallel to the slope of the ground.  The sauna on the north end has a wood T&G floor supported by concrete piers, maybe a small western window too.  Walk outside to cool off in the breeze following a hot sauna and view the sunset or aurora overhead.  The greenhouse on the south side shares a common wall with the sauna, and a small door between the two, when opened, allows the sauna heater to heat the greenhouse.  The greenhouse itself is a simple structure: twin wall polycarbonate panels cover the bare lumber frame of walls and roof, perforated by a single door and vents.  The East wall may be insulated to half height.  The interior contains a few long rows of raised growing beds for heat loving vegetables, and enough room for a few people to work and relax inside (see rough floorplan below).

Position of the buildings relative to each other:
Interior layout of the greenhouse w/ attached sauna, showing location of doors, stove, benches, and plant rows.  (The bench in front of a door between sauna and greenhouse can be hinged to lift out of the way.  The plant rows can be reduced from three to two depending on actual building width.):

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