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  • 2 weeks later...

The nearest i have to an emergency system, is an alarm on my mobile that goes off 5 minutes before the misting system comes on so i don't get caught out :laugh2:

Seriously though, it would be nice wouldn't it ? Some kind of Solar setup and a bank of leisure batteries. I started a motorhome project 3 years ago, converting a 30 year old 7.5t horsebox into a campervan. I put two 120 watt panels on the roof (max 15a output total) and a bank of four 100a leisure batteries. Works a treat and allows us to stay away as long as we want during the summer, charge status indicator has never dropped below 80% when we've been using it, and it's always back to 100% by the following morning.

However, i think a 3kw greenhouse heater is a totally different kettle of fish, don't you ! :laugh2:


Just got back to the thread. I was thinking something more like an alarm system telling you that the electricity had failed and a calor gas heater with a full bottle. Might involve you getting out of bed at 2.30am to manually light the thing but I would hate to loose something like that (or any part) from a simple electrical problem.


Anyway - when can I move in?

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Thanks for your continued encouraging comments, folks :smile:


Hud, to be honest i don't want to spend too much more on the greenhouse, it cost me a fortune considering my financial position, so i'd like to start adding a few of the more 'exotic' (i.e. expensive) species and hybrids to my collection next year. I've avoided the temptation to research into any kind of hardware backup systems, because i just now it'll involve big money. I have however just started googling for info on PC software monitoring systems, but from what i've briefly seen so far, they look over-complicated for my needs, and also require hardware installed in the greenhouse too, which i don't think i've got room for. So in the meantime, i ordered one of these just yesterday actually. At least i can monitor the temperature and humidity from indoors over winter, and rush out to attend to any possible emergencies. It also has programmable alarms for low and high temps i believe, so i could put the base unit on my bedside table at night and it would work as an emergency alarm clock. Probably better than a PC monitoring system actually, as my PC gets turned off at night. Although whether i dive out of bed at 2.30am if the alarm goes off this winter remains to be seen :laugh1:


Edit: forgot to mention, we've found an old 4kw calor gas heater in the garage, but i need to service it before it can go on standby duties.

Edited by Welshy
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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

Thanks riveroalbert :smile:


Time for a Winter update.....

The four under-bench 120 litre water butts have gone. There were two reasons for this, the first was that i felt they kept the greenhouse far too damp and humid over the cold months, and i was having trouble with a few pitchers (and some new buds) blackening off and rotting. The barrels combined with the under foot water table, saw humidity pretty much sitting at 90-100% all winter. The overhead misting/watering system was set to only come on once a week, whereas it's set for once a day in Summer. Anyway, i just felt the humidity was too high for the dark gloomy days we get over winter, and wasn't helping matters.

The second, and more obvious reason, was the amount of potential plant space they were occupying ! I did wonder at first about it being too shaded under the bench what with the shade netting too, but it's starting to get good light now so i think it'll be fine. Maybe before next winter i'll look into under bench lighting on a timer. But on the plus side it does give me a different growing enviroment, as temperatures average 2-3c lower than the bench above whilst humidity is about 10-15% higher. General overall humidity in the greenhouse has dropped on average 10% with the barrels removed (2.5% per 120ltr barrel) and i was only managing to average 50-60% in the heat of Summer, potentially 40-50% this year. So it looks like a hydrofogger and humidistat need to be budgetted for before this years heatwave. Despite the expense, i think in retrospect it's better to do it with a fogger as the barrels just take up far too much room for the +10% RH they contributed.

I thought it might be best to put some 25mm Jablite insulation boards under the pots on the ground to give the roots a bit of extra insulation from below during cold months. The misting system was also extended to go under the bench. Here are some photos of how it looked mid January...






This month i started work on the centre console thingy. I'm quite pleased with how it turned out even though i opted to use sawn 3x2 for the uprights instead of real branches, as it just made life easier for mounting gadgets. The bottom of the unit can accomodate 7 x 23cm baskets, while the mid shelf can hold 9 x 19cm baskets. I decided to make the shelf slightly narrower than the bottom bed just to give a few more valuable cm's of elbow room as you walk about. My other half doesn't like the new centre console and says she won't be going in the greenhouse anymore as there's no room to move. I explained greenhouses are for growing plants in, not ballroom dancing :laugh1: . So surprisingly it looks like i'll also be getting the sunny side of the greenhouse sooner than i thought ! Even more nep space !!! It's going to be another busy and costly year, but please don't tell her that :wink:




I also added a second 4ft LED tube below the mid shelf and extended the misting system (again). Now i had a problem... way too many nozzles on a 4mm feed and 3 or 4 of them were just dribbling due to not having very high pressure in the greenhouse to begin with. So the centre console has been temporarily isolated from the main misting system and is hand watered for the time being. The plan is to get a second solenoid and another timer and tee off the MDPE supply under the bench in a different location before Spring arrives. I'll just put a 15 minute delay on this timer so it comes on when the main bench has finished it's 15 minute session. Bearing in mind the sunny side of the greenhouse will be mine in time, i know that that will mean a third solenoid and yet another timer because the amount of nozzles needed would be the same as above and under bench one, which i've discovered was maxed out at 12 nozzles. Eventually i'll end up with 3 individual 15 minute watering cycles one after the other, once at the end of each day.




I've also started doing a bit of landscaping under bench 1 as this years plant orders start to come in, and also added more twisted willow branches for effect. Leftover decking board from the centre console build was used as a kick board to protect the front pots.






The sharp eyed amongst you may be curious to what the little black boxes with a probe are, by the max/min thermometers. I wanted to measure the humidity at different locations and elevations within the greenhouse on a permanent basis but was unable to find anything small and suitable to buy apart from them cheap white Chinese hygro-thermometers. So i thought i'd try and make my own. I bought some 75mm size of these and a couple of these and got to work.




On the reverse side of the project box front plate, i place the LCD unit and scratch round it with a craft knife. Then drill a serious of small holes on the inside of the scribed lines.




Then i cut the centre out with a craft knife....




And then a little bit of filing until the LCD Hygrometer clips in tightly.






Because i wanted to use the smallest box suitable for the job, it meant cutting the faceplate hole off-centre to make room for the probe to be mounted in the opposite back corner of the box. I forgot to take a photo of the drilled back box, but basically it's just a 9mm hole for the probe and two fixing holes in the back. The probe is secured in place by a blob of silicone.




The cable is zip tied into a tight loop ready for cramming in the box....




And the finished Hygrometer measuring a compact 3 inch by 2 inch. I'm pleased with them :smile:




I hope that was helpful for anyone who wants to have a go at making their own too and thanks for reading :thumbsup:

Edited by Welshy
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  • 2 months later...

Cheers chaps :smile:

It's been a few months since i last updated this thread due to saving the pennies to buy a fogger and hygrostat, hopefully the final bits of expensive kit needed.

But before that, you may recall from my last update that i needed to split my misting system due to quite low mains pressure and too many misting nozzles. The plan was to install additional solenoids and timers to split the watering into seperate sessions for each 'zone'. So this is what i've been up to.......




Originally, the mains pipe (coming in to the right of the photo above) only fed the brass tap on the left. This area is where i decided to mount the additional hardware as it's furthest away from the consumer unit. So a second solenoid and timer now controls the watering of the new centre console. This how i've set it up...... The main air circulation fan runs on a 24hr 15 mins on, 15 mins off cycle. Each evening when the fan has finished one of it's 15 minute cycles, the original timer and solenoid above the potting bench (not in this photo) gives bench '1' a 15 minute misting, above and below. When this has finished, the circulation fan kicks in again for it's next 15 minute session. After that, the timer and solenoid on the right of the above photo come on and gives the new centre console a 15 minute misting. Then the fan comes back on and continues it's 15 minute on off cycle until the following evening. I've set it up this way so that the fan is off during each individual misting session, allowing the plants to get evenly misted without the fan blowing it round the greenhouse where it's not needed and not on the plants.

Solenoid #3 on the left isn't live yet, it has just been installed ready for when i reclaim the sunny side of the greenhouse from my partner, as this will again be a two tier bench running aproximately another 12 misting nozzles, and so requiring a third misting cycle added to the schedule. A timer will also be required for this and will be installed in the gap between the two solenoids. This probably won't be required until Summer 2016, as i've still got room for another 20 plants on my current benches.

So on to the fogger setup...

I tee'd off the mains between solenoid #3 and the brass tap. I decided to run my fogger off the mains instead of a water butt, as our TDS is pretty good and averages only 0.33 to 0.48 PPM. However, despite the mains pressure being too low for dozens of misting nozzles, it would be too high for a single fogger connection and the pressure would (probably) just blast past the delicate float valve in the fogger reservoir. So a pressure reducing valve was installed between the 20mm MDPE mains and the 6mm LDPE fogger feed, and a speedfit isolator valve was also fitted to enable easier fogger maintenance and cleaning.




I chose to site the fogger pointing sideways half way down the side of the greenhouse, which should balance the overall humidity at each end at the same time. I've laid a small paving slab into the ballast to give a level surface for the fogger. But a leg of a temporary plastic folding bench is currently in the way. The plan is to remove the plastic bench and extend the timber bench, building a little open enclosure around the paving slab and fogger.




I wanted to mount the hygrostat as near to the centre of the greenhouse as possible for balanced accuracy. This meant the official Faran 'plug and play' hygrostat was unsuitable for the job due to it's short cable length, and a custom setup with metre upon metre of cable was needed. From the consumer unit under the potting bench at the far end of the greenhouse, the supply cable comes out the top and runs across the roof apex, behind the top 4ft LED tube, and then drops down the left side of the centre console upright, and into the hygrostat. From here the cable continues down the same side of the upright and disapears into the bottom of the centre console where a duct then takes the cable under the floor decking and into the 13a socket seen behind the fogger in photo #2. This is only for convenience of connection and the circuit is actually protected by a 5a fused spur on the main control board. I didn't want to cut the moulded plug off the fogger and direct wire it from the hygrostat cable for obvious warranty vailidity reasons. It also means the fogger can be taken out and plugged in elsewhere if needed, albeit running off it's own small water reservoir or water butt connection. To avoid any water ingress into the top vents of the hygrostat from the overhead misting sytem, i mounted it inside a Chinese Takeaway food carton. Works a treat :biggrin:

Edited by Welshy
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Fantastic job, really beauitul place for relax!

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Cheers everyone for your nice comments :smile:

There will be more updates to come in the near future when my partner finally gives up her side of the greenhouse and i have room to expand my nep operation. I'm planning a different aproach to how the plants will be arranged on that side of the greenhouse, so there'll be more carpentry updates, the misting system to expand upon, and a few other little surprises hopefully.

Personally, i can't wait until it's 100% a nephouse and i can't get in there for vines ! :laugh1:

Stay tuned.

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Stunning set up.

Pretty much a " backyard Borneo" !

I'll be expecting to see a family of orangutans living happily in there very soon! .

You must be thrilled with your creation, mint job mate.

I shall go and wipe up my drool now !

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