Wanting to build a greenhouse - sort of.

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  • leehljp
    Just me
    • Dec 2002
    • 8469
    • Tunica, MS
    • BT3000/3100

    Wanting to build a greenhouse - sort of.

    While in the bed in the hospital last month and then at home not able to do much, my mind has been thinking of things I can do - sort of planning things and thinking them through. Last year, I made a number of tomato buckets with auto-daily water feed, and it worked fair. Our town has a large population of squirrels all over town. Anyone with fruit trees get their fruit eaten before the fruit is ripe - by the squirrels. Same for those who try to have a garden, especially tomatoes. I tried a few years ago with two 4' x 8' raised bed tomatoes. But the squirrels got them! Two years in a row and I finally gave up.

    I thought about the 6 x 8 greenhouse that HF offers. Thought about it long and hard. But then knowing how hot it gets and open vents will lead to squirrels getting in - Then I thought if I could cover the vents with 1/2" square hardware cloth. Next after looking through several YouTube posts on the HF greenhouse, I finally got convinced that a greenhouse in the south would cause unbearable heat in June-Aug even with good vents in most situations.

    So what to do?

    Then it hit me - I have about 200+ feet of 1' square tubing. I am still good with welding. My plan is an 8 x 10 with 6 ft sides and 8 or 9 ft tall in the center. All I need to do is buy about 200 ft of 3ft high 1/2" hardware cloth. Weld up 6x10 ft side frame, 6x8 ft frt and back with a door, do the same for the top and then spend some time welding the hardware cloth to each frame. It might take a week but I will have a very airy "greenhouse" shaped enclosure to keep squirrels out. For fall, winter and early spring, It won't be hard to make wood frame sides ends and tops and cover with clear plastic for the cold periods. That is my plan for now

    Anyone tried anything like this? (OH, this is the reason for my purchase of the portable band saw stand in the other thread.)

    BTW, because of so many squirrels, our town actually has a couple of signs in town that say "Squirrel Crossing".
    Hank Lee

    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!
  • LCHIEN
    Internet Fact Checker
    • Dec 2002
    • 21082
    • Katy, TX, USA.
    • BT3000 vintage 1999

    #2
    Click image for larger version

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    They can chew through chicken wire as well.
    Loring in Katy, TX USA
    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
    BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

    Comment

    • capncarl
      Veteran Member
      • Jan 2007
      • 3575
      • Leesburg Georgia USA
      • SawStop CTS

      #3
      My father always had a greenhouse in his back yard, greater than 2000 sf. I had to help in most of the fabrications, plastic installation etc. His solution to squirrels was chicken wire. The side walls were 8’ height on 2 sides with front and end sidewalls varying 8 to 12’. The chicken wire kept squirrels out and also helped keep plastic from bagging in with water/leaves. Plastic was left on full time on the sides, windows were hinged on top and pushed out for additional ventilation. Plastic was clear, purchased from a greenhouse supply, can’t remember the mill thickness thought. The “clear” visqueen from box stores is cloudy and doesn’t last but 1 season and doesn’t let adequate light through, vrs the greenhouse clear that stays clear and lasts many years. ( I can’t imagine what it costs now). Plastic was fastened down with 1/4”x 1 1/2” lattice strips, nailed down with large head roofing nails. **note** the greenhouse was constructed out of 2x4 and 2x6 redwood! Heat was kerosene until 1980s, then natural gas. I attempted to grow tomatoes for a few years with poor results, briefly, short sun rays, too short of sun exposure time and tomatoes need more heat than you can afford. They like 70 degrees to grow and somewhat more to produce. I couldn’t justify the cost to grow them in winter.

      Comment


      • leehljp
        leehljp commented
        Editing a comment
        I wasn't sure if chicken wire would keep squirrels from getting though. Duh, I just realized I can get different size holes. Chicken wire sure is cheaper. And as to clear plastic from a greenhouse supply, I was thinking in that direction. Thanks

      • FloridaJamesHudson
        FloridaJamesHudson commented
        Editing a comment
        Can look into something a little heavier duty (and of course expensive) - try something like a woven stainless steel from a manufacturer - Belleville Wire Cloth - something like what they are showing on the site a s a 4x4 .047" wire diameter? I have also used Mcmaster Carr in the past when a small piece might be needed, but the price is outrageous.
    • LCHIEN
      Internet Fact Checker
      • Dec 2002
      • 21082
      • Katy, TX, USA.
      • BT3000 vintage 1999

      #4
      Chicken wire will work if you electrify the chicken wire!
      Loring in Katy, TX USA
      If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
      BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

      Comment

      • capncarl
        Veteran Member
        • Jan 2007
        • 3575
        • Leesburg Georgia USA
        • SawStop CTS

        #5
        I might suggest that instead of a wire cage that you build a wall out of roofing metal aprox 4’ tall. A typical roofing R-panel is about $1 per sf. And comes in a lot of colors with white on the bottom. Supposed a grey squirrel can jump 3-5’, but they need something to grab onto, like a tree, so I doubt they would jump over a 3’ panel.

        For my garden I had to install a fence to keep armadillo’s out. Little rascals would turn everything upside down looking for worms and grubs. I purchased a roll of 30”? 2x4 wire and cut it in half and wrapped the entire garden. It kept armadillo out but squirrels just ran right through. For some reason we don’t have many squirrels in my neighborhood, I guess the hawks, owls, foxes, coyotes and house cats keep their numbers down. Squirrels haven’t been my major problem, deer will eat everything down, so I use deer fence, it appears to be about 10 lb test black monofilament fishing line made into 1”x 1” square net. I use the 7’ high netting and use bread ties to keep it close to the armadillo fence. In the 3 years I’ve been using this net I haven’t seen a single squirrel in the garden, I think they don’t like to climb on something that flimsy, or maybe they are like the birds and are afraid of getting entangled in it. I also use the same net over my tomato row to keep mockingbirds from destroying over half my crop! This netting is nearly invisible so neighbors won’t complain.

        Comment


        • LCHIEN
          LCHIEN commented
          Editing a comment
          Roofing panels??? I think he's trying to grow tomatoes so it needs to pass light
          .

        • capncarl
          capncarl commented
          Editing a comment
          A short metal fence won’t block enough light to affect tomatoes. Fence just tall enough to prevent squirrels from jumping over.
      • spicano
        Forum Newbie
        • Jul 2023
        • 6
        • Suburb of Detroit, MI
        • Craftsman 315.228110

        #6
        2 seasons ago, I built 8'x6' panels (all from 8' from untreated 2x2) of chicken wire. Then used 6' metal stakes every 8', setup the panels around my vegetable area, and used cable ties to secure these vertically and horizontally (no roofing). I had left over, beat-up standard bricks and formed a perimeter 2 bricks in width for the entire structure, in my first attempt to stop any burying animals (I get squirrels, deer, rabbits, groundhogs, ducks, turtles, racoons in the past). 2 of the panels have a swing-door so I can get in, with a wheelbarrow.

        over 2 full growing seasons, no animals have made it inside (they still come around). Just the birds but they do not like what I grow.

        Its easy to adjust the perimeter, since it is mostly modular (surrounds 3 raised beds, a wood trellis for vined cucumbers & tomatoes, as well as a land-patch).

        The panels are in good shape, and will only last maybe another 2 seasons (in southeast Michigan).
        In the beginning, I did not know if the animals would defeat it so I went with cheap untreated lumber.
        My only change would be to use some linseed oil to coat the untreated wood panels, to make it last.

        Comment


        • capncarl
          capncarl commented
          Editing a comment
          Lee, I abandon my raised beds several years ago. Several reasons, lumber costs and the fact that it didn’t last more than 3 years before it requires a back breaking tear out and costly replacement. This was for low raised beds too! I dug out 12” of soil and built 12” boxes above the hole, Not a tall “back friendly raised bed. Another reason to abandon using these raised beds was the enormous volume of planting soil, dirt or whatever you want to call it. I was using mushroom compost planting mix that needed replenishing every year.

          I changed my garden raised beds to washing machine tubs. I guesstimate 30 gallons ea. x 6 tubs for tomatoes +4 tubs for eggplants and poblano peppers and 4 more tubs for random peppers. This reduced my soil purchased by 2/3s, and reduced weed control, by lots more than that!
          I sourced washing machine tubs from appliance repair shops that strip appliances for parts. Their regular price is $15/tub, I paid around $7ea for 15 tubs. I estimate that modern washing machine tubs will last 15-20 years ( I still have several washing machine rubs that my father used in his garden when I was a wee tot, and they were old when he salvaged them!

          Team this raised bed concept with a metal wall that squirrel can’t climb or jump might be the easiest and cost effective garden.

        • leehljp
          leehljp commented
          Editing a comment
          Those are great ideas. I have 6 or 7 weeks BEFORE I am allowed to do anything even remotely strenuous. So I will be thinking on these things. I have two 3 ft x 8 ft x 12 in metal platform- raised garden purchased on sale from Northern Tools. I will put down a couple of layers of landscape fabric to stop the nutgrass and weeds. I don't like the idea of having to purchase fill in dirt but I have a couple of farmer friends that will let me get a couple of cubic yards of good sandy loam and without much weeds in it. I cannot use the dirt in my yard because it is filled with an abundance of nut grass in addition to other weeds and grasses. I have sprayed the areas every year but the nut grass just comes back.

        • capncarl
          capncarl commented
          Editing a comment
          You might check around some of the landscape/garden supply companies. Most (the ones that I have visited in numerous cities) sell mushroom compost and raised bed soil by the front end loader scoop for a very reasonable price. The landscaper near me sells a scoop for $24 ( when I first started buying it there it was $12 / scoop, and a lot larger scoop too!) I will purchase 2 scoops to top up 18 washing machine tubs. 1 scoop should do nicely for the boxes you described.

          I have heard of Squirrels gnawing through chicken wire before but it was in concealed locations, not out in the open, but anything is possible withe those pests! My hunting buddy keeps a fake plastic Owl hanging in his tractor shed to keep squirrels out, they are attracted to the spilled seeds and remains in his tractor planters. It doesn’t work 100% but keeps them wary.
      • Benham_Design
        Handtools only
        • Mar 2024
        • 1
        • Colorado
        • Delta UniSaw

        #7
        I think this will work out well for you. I live in Colorado at about 7500ft above sea level, we get some crazy hail storm, and some late spring snow storms that have devastated my garden. I built a simial structure that has allowed me to protect my garden from hail, dear, and some snow. The cold can set it back a bit. But a basic structure has allowed air flow and pollination, keeping the deer and hail at bay.
        Building Furniture in Colorado

        Comment


        • leehljp
          leehljp commented
          Editing a comment
          I have found several people who had similar problems all across the US who used screen houses to keep different animals out. I am also thinking of making some clear add-on sides for fall and winter to get at least 2 more months of tomatoes. At this moment, I am anxious to get started but my Doctor forbid me to pick up anything more than 10 lbs until the end of March.

        • capncarl
          capncarl commented
          Editing a comment
          Growing tomatoes is a lot more complicated than working on a BT saw! Tomatoes don’t do squat when the temperature is less than 70f, so building a greenhouse that isn’t heated doesn’t buy you many tomatoes in the fall. (Not enough hours of direct sunlight) The two types of tomatoes, determinate and indeterminate only produced fruit for 2-3 weeks vrs 2-3 months so you have to really plan your garden planting. Growing indeterminate tomatoes in a greenhouse does produce fruit longer but the vines take over they whole greenhouse and shade out the plants you started later to take their place! Another problem is tomatoes need 6 to 8 hours of sunlight but don’t pollinate and the plant suffers when temperatures exceed 90f.
          If I keep on with this reply I will talk myself out of planting tomatoes at all!

        • leehljp
          leehljp commented
          Editing a comment
          capncarl: "If I keep on with this reply I will talk myself out of planting tomatoes at all!" LOL (funny)! I plant indeterminate 99% of the time (when I DO plant tomatoes). My experience with indeterminate tomatoes is that I end up with more tomatoes from those plants IN THE FALL, and plum up until the first HARD frost. The squirrels get them from June through Sept, but leave the tomatoes alone when pecans begin to get ready. The squirrels eat the green pecans that are just before finishing developing, so at that point, my tomatoes are left alone and produce until frost - and those are the ones I get to eat. I had some tomatoes up until the hard freeze this past January - when I went into the hospital for my bypass surgery (in mid January.) I have had this happen - tomatoes in the fall until heavy frost numerous times - when I decided to plant them. BTW, I fertilize them and water them with a simple water timer. And of course the tomatoes are smaller in the late fall and winter, but they are fresh tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes continue producing also until the first hard frost. THIS Time, I am planting some I have never tried: Brandy Wine, Mortgage Lifter, Carbon, Black Krim, Cherokee Purple, Pink Ponderosa, along with my usual Beefsteak, Arkansas Traveler and Large Red Cherry. This will be my fist time without planting a few Better Boys. In the last 6 to 7 years, Better Boys have not been producing like they used to for me. I will be planting 2 to 3 of each of the new ones to see how they work out, and the flavors that I get.
          Last edited by leehljp; 03-04-2024, 12:04 PM.
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