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The Nightmare Begins

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  • 2 weeks later...

Now, that's an awesome greenhouse... a bit like mine, but bigger and better in every way.

Very impressive, and I know from experience how much work goes into one of these greenhouses, and how this summer has been a particularly demoralising time to be trying to work on a project like this. I'm just thinking how happy we're going to be on cold winter days in our hothouses...

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Got the easy bits of polycarb on in a couple of days, just the rooflights to make up and fit, I have had to invent new flashings to make them stormproof, the openers are about 7ft x 4ft each x4.

I arranged for a mate to come and help me fit them one afternoon and thought it would take about an hour or so to make up each unit prior to fitting so started on the first of 4 at about 8am.................how wrong was I

Finished the first one at 15:30 Ok it was a very steep learning curve and the others went a bit quicker and by 23:30 I had all but finished the last one !

By now it was also clear that me and one mate were never going to fit these alone, so called in some extra help and five of us fitted them in an hour and change, and yes they fitted....Phew!


One of the major problems has been the transition from a design built around 4mm glass to upgrading to 25mm polycarb. Every adjustment moves the problem on so you have to try and cover every forward base before you get there and it makes progress frustratingly slow.

A change at the ridge moves a problem to the gutterline. A change of glazing thickness above a pivot changes a turning moment and this in turn affects a flashing and makes it impossible to fix a standard hinge, etc, etc.

Anyhow, I did my best to design a suitable ridge cap and under flashing, in powder-coated aluminium, to allow the redesigned (though yet to be made) roof vents to function properly, and I have to say I am relieved that it all appears to have gone to plan.


Next step is to divide up the interior......seems like a bit of a shame really as it is a fantastic space.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi All,

It’s been a busy time devising and erecting the partitions.

There are 2 internal partitions giving a 6ft x 16ft cold section, a 8.5ft x 16ft lowland section and a 13.5ft x 16ft highland section

I have used 25mm multiwall polycarb again with pressure treated timber framing at low level and aluminium F section to perimeters, this makes a good neat finish and allows for thermal expansion.

I have used a kind of curtain wall glazing principal that sandwiches the glazing between 2 sections of timber with an EDPM gasket. Again this allows for movement and simple individual sections of timber can be easily removed/replaced if needed without dismantling the whole framework.

I had a couple of big double glazing units left over from my sunroom project (supplier error) they are argon filled thermal units so I decided to make use of these, they help make the two sections (highland and lowland) feel bigger as they are clear and improve internal light levels. img00014ja.jpg

I picked up a free uPVC door and frame from my local replacement windows firm, they just skip them so give them away. I have glazed this with polycarb too.

I had to box off the roof lights in the lowland section as they are so large, they straddle the partition between the lowland and cold (3rd) section. This was a bit complicated, but I have ended up with an isolated opener to both sections. I realised that these openers were too far off the ground to be opened easily so I decided to automate these with chain actuators………….these cost a bomb so I kept an eye on eBay for a couple of weeks and decided that if I could not get some cheap, that I would have to buy at least 2 new. Best new price was about £100 each so I set my price and lost out on about 3 auctions! I then spotted a listing that did not show up in the usual search description and picked up a job lot of 7 yes seven for about £125 Get in! So I now have automation for all the openers that can be linked to digital thermostats for accurate venting.

Having been at it for months now, I decided to take a break for a couple of weeks



I hurriedly set-up the lowland section so that the neighbour could water things for me. This all needs sorting out properly with more shelving, and a large hotbed on the floor for the big bicals etc. and the auto watering will follow when I have time.


This is my water filtration system set up again. The big tank holds about 55gals and all fits neatly under the central 8 x 4ft bench. I will likely set a storage tank up in the lowland section too so that the sprinklers use warmer water to prevent shock. I have previously heated the pump feeder tank, but this is another cost I wish to avoid.


Edited by Dicon
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  • 8 months later...

Time to update my greenhouse thread,

After a bit of a battle with the planners, (thanks to my knob-end neighbour) which eventually just added time and money to the project, I moved the plants in and have spent the past months shuffling things about and tuning the automation systems.

Light levels in the new greenhouse are very high compared to the old structure which means temperatures can soar quickly. I am trying to do without shading as the 25mm polycarb diffuses the light to a certain extent and the extra height of the roof aids temperature control.

I have extractor fans as before, these comes on at a given temperature triggered by a remote thermostat that also trips the window opener system, this requires 10 mins of high temps before opening the roof vents (so if the extractor can’t cope, the windows open too) they also close after 10 mins of inaction from the stat, whilst this reduces accuracy, it prevents the windows opening and closing constantly. I have had to add a wind speed detector too to protect from damage as the vents are quite large at 7ft x 4 ft and it can get a bit breezy here. Incoming air travels via external air bricks and along a few feet of tunnel in the base of the cavity wall. When kept damp this slightly cools the incoming air.

The aircon currently kicks in if needed at higher temps and the hot output pumps into the warm section.

Temperatures in the warm section seem to peak at about 40c which is higher than I would like for this time of year, as the weather has not exactly been summer like yet, a larger extractor or a thermal curtain is needed in here I think.

So, moving on to some more interesting stuff !

I have always wanted to show some of the plants off a bit better and whilst I still don’t really have the kind of space I would like, I have set up a “garden” on my central bench, this is an 8ft x 4ft heavy duty staging set to a slight fall with a layer of corrugated plastic roofing (micro profile) to direct water run off to one end, this allows use of the space under the bench without water constantly dripping from above.

I have “landscaped” with upturned plastic pots and capillary matting, then spread plenty of sphagnum moss and cork bark over to produce the desired effect. I spotted a nice oak branch on a tree on the edge of a field that was just getting clipped by the hedgerow cutter and decided that it might make a useful climbing frame in the landscape. So on a walk with the dog and a reciprocating saw, I dragged it back home and strung it up in position. I am not entirely happy with the result and may change it at a later date, but it will do for now!

(I need some live tillandsia if anyone has a good clump available?)

The Garden






flava x sibuy (my own)


lowii and burb upper


jacquelineae upper


Enormous bongo’s


steno x burb, flava x sibuy and talang x rami


aristolochioides x Medusa (another of my own)




Edited by Dicon
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that looks amazing Matt! do you have any regrets? ie, would you have done anything different? im starting "ground clearance"

to build a similar grow house this summer, with a portion of the build in glass for Sarras, Vft & other "temperates"

The "Garden" display is Beautiful, looking forward to seeing more of your plants .


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  • 2 weeks later...

This has been a fascinating project from start to finish and it is great to now see the final result, a really splendid job the rest of us can only dream of. I hope we'll see further updates as the planting progresses.

It's a good job you live in Yorkshire and not the Peak District, here the planners just say "no" to small residential projects (not that this one is that small of course), on the other hand huge commercial "blots on the landscape" that can be seen for miles around may be a different matter.

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  • 2 weeks later...

that looks amazing Matt! do you have any regrets? ie, would you have done anything different? im starting "ground clearance"

to build a similar grow house this summer, with a portion of the build in glass for Sarras, Vft & other "temperates"

The "Garden" display is Beautiful, looking forward to seeing more of your plants .


Regrets, I have a few, but then again, too few to mention!! Yes 1 wish I'd had a bigger budget. 2. that I hadn't given some space up to the misses (in the cold section.......for salad!!) No real regrets really as I had grown in a large GH for several years, so knew what I needed to achieve really. Plan Plan Plan!
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