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greenhouse flooring

Discussion in 'Growing Areas' started by brit6v, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. brit6v

    brit6v VickiC

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    Hi again,
    I believe this is my first post since my introductory post about 2 yrs. ago (below), so I apologize for my procrastination.

    I have a 10'3" x 17'6" kit greenhouse (Sunglo) that I've been growing my orchids in for approx. 2 1/2 yrs. I'm really enjoying it, but since it was my first, I now see things that I probably would have done differently as far as building construction is concerned (Ive decided that I should have researched more). For starters, I would have bought a BIGGER one, although I'm very happy to have this one. Other than a few odds and ends, the next thing I would probably have built differently is the flooring and undeneath. As you can see, I am sending a picture, but please keep in mind that things have changed quite a bit since I have had it (a better water set up, misting, more shelving, more storage (etc.), and of course more orchids). I still love my evaporative cooler....it now seems to help quite a bit. (By the way, it's portable inside my gh, but I'm wondering if I would rather have gotten a larger one placed outside that is blowing inside ??)

    My question today is my flooring concern. It is VERY hot here in bama this summer, as is common in the past. Especially now that it's summer, I am able to keep the humidity up fairly well during the day (approx. 50-65/70% or so) but I have decided that if I had chosen different initial underflooring "construction" and different flooring itself (concrete, gravel or some other similar flooring...advice??), I would be able to control my temps and humidity even better (of course, hindsight is often 20/20). Before putting up the greenhouse, we dug about 7" under, put down landscape cloth then added approx. 6" of gravel then installed my treated wood floor. I think my floor looks nice, but is not as feasible as another type of floor. It seems now that as I hose the floor (in order to lower temp. and raise humidity a bit), the water that drains under the wood floor drains into the ground before it has a chance to evaporate. I'm gathering that the amount of temp. and humidity addition that I'm able to control by hosing is added basically from water on the wood floor itself. My husband and I have discussed making floor changes, maybe in early autumn, to a flooring style that would conduct better evaporation. Do you think that doing this would be feasible and if so, what type of flooring would you recommend? Under benches only...complete gh floor...type of walkway...suggestions, please.

    I would appreciate your advice and comments. If you have other questions that would "help you help me", I'll be glad to answer.

    I'm sorry for the long post, but I'm a talk-a-holic...which comes natural as well as an Alabamian, which speaks for itself.

    Thanks for reading,
    Vicki







    Hello from Alabama

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Hi everyone,
    I have been a member for several days, but I've been browsing through since then trying to get the feel of things before I introduced myself. I have noticed that I already know a few of you and no doubt I'll make other acquaintances, as well. I have been growing orchids for only a short time over a year, so I've got very much to learn. As you have seen, I live in Alabama (north central) and it is hot, hot, hot here now. I have a new greenhouse, and since I have no gh experience, my latest concern has been learning how to cool it for the summer. I'm happy to say that I have no problems with my orchids now (that I'm aware of) but when an issue arises, I'll certainly appreciate your help.
    I'm very glad to be here,
    Vicki

    inside--Summer-2009.JPG
     
  2. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    My floors are weed barrier over the dirt and gravel (crushed drain rock) on top of that. Works very well.
     
  3. AHAB

    AHAB New Member

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    Hi,
    If your main concern is humidity/temperature check out this humidifier
    www.Hydrofogger.com
    The smaller version combined with their humidistat would be perfect.
    It will also lower the temperature as the water evaporates.
    I see the fan on the far wall... Could you add a wet wall at the other end to bring in moistened cooler air in and exhaust the hot air out?
    Could you add vents in the black area(s) at the top end of the roof?
    From what you wrote, I don't think your flooring needs to be replaced.
    It is a temperature/humidity issue.
    I can't see if you have shade cloth on top or not, it looks like you do.
    You may want to add another layer (aluminet) during the hotter/brighter months.
    I hope this helps.
     
  4. brit6v

    brit6v VickiC

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    Marni

    Thank you, Marnie. By the way, your greenhouse and plants are awesome. I have been drooling over them since I saw your photos sometime back.

    Thanks again,
    Vicki




     
  5. brit6v

    brit6v VickiC

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    AHAB

    Hi,
    Yes, I'm definitely most concerned about humidity and temp. I was just grasping at straws by considering different flooring in hopes the change might help the problem. I do have an evaporative cooler at the opposite end of the greenhouse from the exaust fan. It's a portable swamp cooler, and although it does help some, I've been wondering if a larger, stationery one installed outside would have been a better choice. That's still an option, but what do you think? (Maybe just keep my portable stored as a backup.) I looked at your link and I agree that the hydrofogger would be good, but how much more since I have the evap. cooler? As for vents, the black areas you see in the back are vents....they'e simply springloaded manual open and close....same as the ones in the front, above the door. Also, my shadecloth is 60% Aluminet.
    Thank you for your reply and advice,
    Vicki






    front vents.JPG back vents.JPG evaporative cooler.JPG
     
  6. AHAB

    AHAB New Member

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    Location:
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    Hi,
    Beautiful greenhouse!
    I have a 24 x 4 foot wet wall, two large exhaust fans at the opposite end.
    The wet wall does help a great deal with cooling and moistening the air.
    It just didn't get/keep the air humid enough when the exhaust fans were off.
    But, the Hydrofogger really made a huge difference in my plants health and growth.
    I keep the humidity at anywhere from 70-80%, my plants have really enjoyed the extra moisture, I do have a lot of air movement in there as well. My plants have taken off in growth, I think that since they are not wasting energy cooling through water leaving the leaves, they are using the energy for growth instead.
    Generally, plant growth rate increases with temperature until a point, which of course varies among genera.
    Humidity needs to be high to help support growth.
    I keep temp between 60-90.

    You might consider adding another layer of Aluminet during the most light intensive months of the year. The numbers of shading will add up to more of a percentage but in reality it isn't cumulative.

    Cool vents!
    I do think adding a fogger would help a great deal, especially if you hook it up to a continuous water supply... Very easy to do.
    Are the jugs of water for the evaporative cooler?
    I hope this helps!
     
  7. KellyW

    KellyW Orchid wonk Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Hi Vicki,
    Nice greenhouse. Does the evaporative cooler bring air in from the outside? In the photo it looks like it is not. If it isn't bringing in outside air that may be part of the problem. They really only work well when there is warm and relatively dry air outside that evaporates the water on the pads and therefore cools and humidifies the air that is blown into the greenhouse.
    My floor is pea gravel but it tends to move around too much and create a "trench" path where I walk. Marni's suggestion of crushed rock would work better since the angular crushed rock locks together and does not migrate. The downside of crushed rock is that it is harder on feet (if you go barefoot like I do), and knees. The wood floor sure looks nice.
     
  8. ZWUM

    ZWUM Bulbophiliac Staff Member

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    Hi Vicki,

    I have to say your floor looks awesome. My brother and I recently built our greenhouse and we put in a French drain. Once the drain pipes were laid we added about two feet of 2b drainage stone topped with about 4-6 inches of white pea gravel. It's kind of like our floor is a big humidity tray. By hosing the floor down in the morning coupled with watering and misters helps keep our humidity in 75% + range even when it's hot outside. Hope this helps!

    -zach
     
  9. Reyna

    Reyna Orchid Obsessed Supporting Member

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    I have a hydrofogger and it really makes a difference -- it is hooked up to the main water supply and has a humidistat, so I just set it and leave it.

    My floor is concrete -- and because a good friend of ours does concrete finishing it is stained/treated concrete. I love it. The floor is really easy to keep looking nice, but it also does a great job of being a source for humidity. I am in Arkansas and have similar concerns -- though probably not as hot.

    I have been really happy with the floor and the hydrofogger. :)
     
  10. brit6v

    brit6v VickiC

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    Location:
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    I'm sure your greenhouse setup must work very good, Ahab. Everything seems to be syncronized so that they work together well.

    As for a fogger, I'm sure one would be very helpful. My plants agree. ;) The more I think about it, I can't help but wonder if it would work with my setup, though. I wish it would. I saved up my money to get one awhile back, but backed out. First of all, I'm very paranoid about crown rot. Been there, done that...but only once, fortunately. One of my favorite orchids, by the way. I'm super careful now when I water but I thought I had been in the past. Obviously not careful enough, though. I would like to have room for more mounts. Maybe I'll come up with more...?? I have 5 phals mounted, so that's 5 less that I have to worry getting crown rot when I water. I know that foggers produce a very fine mist (some finer than others) and should "evaporate" before it lands on the plants....at least that's what I understand. I'm thinking about the mist accumulating on the plants, (especially because of my gh size), though. Do you think that would be an issue? I have mister lines attached to the edge of the benches because overhead would have been a catastrophy in my case. The misters contribute a little, but not much. Every little bit helps, though.

    Another thing I don't understand, as far as a fogger goes, is hooking it up to my water. My hose, mister controls, etc. are at the opposite end of where I would want a fogger to be. ??

    I'm sure adding more shadecloth would make a major difference in my temp. problem, but I just can't get past the possibility of "not enough light". My footcandles are good now. I've got an extra piece of aluminet, so I may try adding it just to test the difference with my meter.

    Oh, and the jugs of water you see: They're not for the evaporative cooler. I fill it up with my hose. At this time, the only way I have to measure my fert. is to add the suggested amount to each gallon of water. The empty jugs had accumulated in the past, so I decided to make good use of them. :) I just fill them up with filtered tap water using my hose.

    Your info has been helpful, so thank you...
    Vicki




     
  11. brit6v

    brit6v VickiC

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    ZWUM

    Hi,
    Thank you...I'm enjoying my floors (but mainly as far as asthetics goes).

    I didn't know what French drains were, so I looked it up. Sounds like a great system. I envy your "total greenhouse humidity tray".

    Thanks for your reply and input,
    Vicki




     
  12. brit6v

    brit6v VickiC

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    Reyna

    Hi,
    I imagine you read that I asked Ahab if mist from the fogger accumulated on the plants. Do you not have that problem? Other people have said that's not a concern is you have it positioned correctly. For example, I have another orchid online friend (also from Arkansas) who has an AquaFog 400 and she really loves it now, but said it took a little while before she got it "fine-tuned". I understand it is hot, hot, hot up there now...so I feel your pain.

    I like the idea of a concrete floor, but I hate the thought of removing perfectly good treated wood to increase humidity. I guess whatever it takes, though.



     
  13. brit6v

    brit6v VickiC

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    KellyW

    Hi Kelly,
    No, my evap. cooler is portable on the inside and doesn't bring air in from the outside, other than through the return vent and overhead vents. I imagine you're probably referring to bringing air directly from BEHIND the cooler. ?? I checked humidity levels a few mins. ago so that I could tell you, and using today as an example....outside humidity is 51% and inside my gh is 66% (swamp cooler and misters). Now that you've brought up my swamp cooler set up, I'm going to check things out further.
    Thanks for your reply and help,
    Vicki



     
  14. AHAB

    AHAB New Member

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    Hi,
    The Hydrofogger uses a commonly found 1/4" water line.
    The same type of tubing used to feed an ice maker in your freezer.
    The line attatches to a float valve inside the fogger.
    The distance from the water source is not a problem since it just feeds the fogger.

    The fog is made by mechanical shearing and the fog is very, very light and airy... Very much like real fog, very buoyant! It does evaporate very quickly.

    A very important note to observe is that you do not need to adjust or fine tune the fogger.
    You literally slip the tubing into the connector that attaches to the side of the fogger connect the other end to your water supply, plug it into the humidistat and you are done.
    No need to fine tune or adjust at all, just plug it in and the fog is perfect.

    I think keeping your humidity on the high side along with excellent air circulation will go a very long way is maximizing your plants health and growth.

    Crown rot is not a problem, I think that since your plants would be healthier they would be much better able to resist any disease pressures that could occur.

    As far as the extra layer of Aluminet, you could get remnants of lighter shading, and only use the extra layer during the brightest/hottest months.

    Best of luck,
    Jim:)
     
  15. brit6v

    brit6v VickiC

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    AHAB

    Thank you! :)
    Vicki