How to save a greenhouse in winter
How much does the snow on the greenhouse weigh?
This year's winter was a success, frosty and snowy. A record amount of snow fell in the Central and North-West region! In most areas of central Russia, and especially in the Northwest, there were unprecedented snowfalls.
In just one day, up to 30 cm of snow fell! Considering that the snowfalls were prolonged, many owners greenhouses made of polycarbonate could face problems with pushing through polycarbonate and, in general, structural breakdowns, even durable greenhouses could not withstand such an amount of snow.
The passport of the purchased greenhouse indicates the permissible snow load, which, depending on the model and manufacturer, varies from 20 to 85 kg per square meter.
How much snow is it? Let's count.
According to the reference data, the density of dry snow is 220-360 kg / m3, and stale compacted or melting snow reaches 600 kg / m2 If roughly taken as an average density of 300 kg / m23, then we get the snow load in centimeters of snow cover. It will be: 20 kg / m3 will correspond to 7 cm of dry fallen snow or 3.5 cm of dense melting snow. A 80 kg / m3 - this is 27 cm dry or 13 cm stale. This calculation is averaged, we did not take into account temperature fluctuations, from which the snow first melts, and when it freezes, an ice crust forms, the density of which is even higher - up to 900 kg / m3!
From the calculations, a simple conclusion can be drawn - if the winter is snowy, it is necessary to sweep the snow from the greenhouse, even if you have a very strong greenhouse!
From a heavy snow load, metal greenhouses most often break down in the places where the metal profile is drilled. Drilling is performed for the bolts connecting the arcs and ties (stringers) and for the self-tapping screws that fasten the polycarbonate to the bow. The drilled metal does not have its original strength and this must be taken into account.
Each hole in the support bow seriously weakens the greenhouse. In addition, metal painting or galvanizing is usually done before cutting and drilling, and any mechanical treatment is a source of corrosion damage to the entire frame part. An ideal option when the structural solution of the frame allows you to do without drilling the metal, and the metal is protected from corrosion (for example, it is wrapped in a PVC sheath)
Greenhouses, in which the distance between the arcs is more than 1 meter, do not tolerate the snow load at all.
When choosing a greenhouse, it is also important to pay attention to the wall thickness of the metal profile. A wall up to 1mm thick is not suitable for such a serious structure as a greenhouse, because looks more like foil and will bend under the weight of snow.
What the owner needs to do so that the greenhouse does not break down in winter:
- Prepare the greenhouse for winter - put supports under the arches, if required by the assembly instructions.
- Check the thickness of the snow in the greenhouse. In heavy snowfalls, regularly brush off the snow.
When choosing greenhouses, it is important to pay attention to the following points:
- metal thickness. profile must be at least 1.5 mm
- the distance between the greenhouse screeds should be no more than 1m.
- it is desirable that there are no drilling sites (holes) in the frame
- good corrosion protection must be provided
- the permissible snow load for our winters must be at least 50 kg / m².
Assembling the greenhouse frame
Choose a flat, horizontal platform slightly more than 3 x 6 m, not in a lowland and away from places where snow slides off the roof in spring, which can break polycarbonate.
When the greenhouse is ready, always make sure that snow does not accumulate on the polycarbonate, especially in spring. Remove the snow carefully, take care of the protective ultraviolet film! Mow and remove the grass as needed.
At this site, assemble the greenhouse frame completely and in its final form. Align the frame diagonally by measuring with a cord.
Accurately measure its length and width at the centers of the frame tubes. Slide it diagonally to the side (1 m is enough). You will need to move it several times, but if there are free places and assistants, you can generally move it to another place nearby.
Next, make markings in the corners (4 marks), check the length, width and, checking the equality of the lengths of the diagonals, dig 4 holes deep into the bayonet of the shovel. Install 4 cut pipes, hammering them with a sledgehammer, remembering to control the diagonals and distances, as well as the depth (15 cm!). This is very important, then the frame should definitely lie on them.
Stir the concrete mixture in a bucket with a mixer with a drill, pour a bucket of concrete into each hole, compact the concrete mixture with a stick, immersing a ring of several turns of wire (reinforcement) there. A few handfuls of crushed stone. The concrete layer should cover the cut of the pipe driven into the ground, but be slightly below (5-10 cm) of the ground level.
Check again the accuracy of the positioning of the corner posts (length, width, diagonals!). Take a break for two days, wait until the concrete hardens around the corner posts of the base of the greenhouse.
All subsequent steps are shown in the photo with the necessary comments.
We dig grooves along the perimeter along the stretched cord, hammer in the pipe cuttings at a distance of 150 cm from each other, checking the level of their immersion at the level of the corner pipes. You can immediately saw the slate grooves in the pipes and, cutting the slate in the right places, hammer it in level, while controlling the immersion of both the pipes and the slate.
The frame stands nearby and does not interfere with the work. I saw a cut with a grinder in a rack.
The grooves in the corner post are cut differently.
The frame is rearranged on the boards and again does not interfere. You can see the corner tube with slate inserted.
Sometimes slate strips had to be sawed "in place".
It was also cut to the concrete layer for the corner post.
Opposite the doors, we put two additional posts under the inner walls of the slate for the passage.
The holes inside the posts are sealed with polyurethane foam. We put the inner walls.
After installing the slate walls around the perimeter and checking the straightness of their upper edge from the bottom along the frame, we tie the cut rubber tube with electrical tape. We put the frame on the slate edge. If the markings were accurate, then everything will fit snugly and evenly. We level the ground inside and compact it along the frame.
We tie the frame with wire through the holes drilled in the racks. Enough in the corners, under the door and in two places on the long sides, for a total of 8 stitches. We are foaming.
The frame fits exactly, we finish the inner walls.
Side view. The seal tube is visible.
Everything is ready for the installation of walkway tiles (0.5 m wide).
The frame is tied with wire in 8 places. A seal made of a rubber tube is visible.
Everything is ready for screwing polycarbonate (according to the instructions for the greenhouse).
Outside, polycarbonate hangs on a slate wall (10 cm each), so we roll the earth to the wall and seal it after fixing the polycarbonate - it will be even warmer.
It is advisable to seal the doors with a self-adhesive door seal (sold in a building market, of any length).
The greenhouse assembled in this way has already served the whole summer. Comfortable, warm, productive, durable.
The technology can be easily applied to create a greenhouse or a high garden bed.
Assembling the greenhouse yourself is not a matter of one day and is not limited only to the installation of the finished case. And even if you are not completely prepared for this type of work, but you have a great desire to do it, with our instructions you will definitely succeed.
What building material should you choose?
Before starting construction, you need to determine the most suitable material. So, for example, it is advisable to choose either metal or wood for the frame, the main thing is that the products are durable in order to withstand heavy loads. If you choose between wood and metal, then everyone must decide for himself.
Metal is much more durable, but wood is easier to work with, and repairing it will not take much time.
Modern manufacturers also offer a variety of greenhouse coating materials, each of which has its own characteristics:
- Glass. This material must be durable - it is better to choose hardened products, especially when it comes to a winter greenhouse. If it is not possible to use tempered glass, you can install several ordinary ones, and on top you can mount an unbreakable coating that can withstand heavy loads. The only drawback of glass when creating greenhouses is that this material transmits ultraviolet rays that are harmful to plants.
- The most inexpensive and therefore popular material is film - it is quite strong, wear-resistant and, with good care, can last for several years. True, such material is unlikely to withstand heavy loads in the form of snow caps.
- Polycarbonate is gaining more and more popularity. The advantages of such products include the fact that they look very beautiful without losing their shape and appearance for a long time. In addition, polycarbonate can last for several decades, coping with maximum loads.
In the fall, we prepare a greenhouse for the spring and use it in the winter: how?
The hottest period in the garden is not July, but October! Because we need to prepare the garden and vegetable garden not just for wintering, but for the new season.
If you have a greenhouse on your site, then it is not enough just to dig vegetables from the ground in September-October, there is much more work to be done. Plus, a greenhouse can be beneficial in winter, too!
Selection of vegetables
Growing vegetables in a winter greenhouse is easy. For this, the following are suitable:
In the process of growing vegetables, you need to remember that each type of crop is absolutely individual and has its own specific requirements in the field of lighting temperature, humidity, and so on. High humidity is necessary for cucumbers: in winter, the greenhouse effect and high humidity are great for their cultivation. It is for this reason that standard cucumbers are the most common.
If a variety is chosen that will grow in a greenhouse all year round, then it is better to dwell on some hybrids that only need a closed type of soil. These types of vegetables do not need pollination by certain insects, they bring an excellent harvest and are quite resistant to certain negative factors.
Greenhouse 3 meters wide
As we have already seen from previous calculations, making 2 beds (100-120 cm each) in a three-meter greenhouse is completely wrong. It will be very difficult to look after them. But the need for 3 beds leads to the need for 2 paths. Therefore, in this case, it is better to lay paths of 40 cm tiles (tiles 40x40x5), since two such paths will already steal from you at least 80 cm from the width of the greenhouse. See our calculations:
The size of the beds in a 3 meter greenhouse.
The central bed can be slightly wider than the side beds, since it provides free access to it from both sides.
Sunny House: A greenhouse can be beautiful
The greenhouse on the site, like many outbuildings, often wants to be hidden, made as invisible as possible. Only now it is impossible to hide it behind a high hedge or twine with climbing plants, because it should be illuminated as much as possible by the sun.
And why hide what you love? A greenhouse is your little hot spot on the site, containing lush green thickets of warm-loving flowers or a rich harvest of vegetables. Make it noteworthy. Not sure where to start? Our ideas for a greenhouse will help you - photos and comments are attached.
To create a greenhouse frame with your own hands (in the photo - an example of such a frame), metal, plastic or wood are usually used. Metal allows you to create a visually light, strong and durable shape, while simultaneously using a variety of design options and glazing patterns. Plastic is lightweight, flexible and does not require weather protection. Wood - the traditional material for greenhouses - is now somewhat forgotten, but in vain. It gives the greenhouse a soft decorative effect.
For glazing, traditional glass is used, which looks noble and perfectly transmits the sun's rays, but differs in fragility and significant weight. And also polymer materials, such as polycarbonate, lightweight, durable and with a wide range of decorative applications.
Construction and glazing
The glazing pattern greatly affects the decorativeness of the greenhouse and is the easiest way to set its style. Patterned ornamental frames can look very pretty. However, you need to keep a balance and remember that the greenhouse must be transparent to sunlight. Therefore, the frame of the greenhouse, built by your own hands, needs to be made as delicate as possible. In this transparency and lightness, in my opinion, lies the special beauty of greenhouses and greenhouses.
Do not forget to provide opening doors for ventilation: in the upper part of the greenhouse, at the end opposite to the entrance, or on the side walls.
Look around. What style is closer to your site? For a traditional estate, choose beautiful retro greenhouses, Gothic and Victorian greenhouses. See how elegant their shape can be.
Use lancet windows in glazing, set a harmonious rhythm with vertical lines. Emphasize their elongated pattern with thuja and juniper planted next to them. Rasivye greenhouses are the most important design element of a vegetable garden or garden plot.
In the photo: greenhouses in the garden can serve not only a purely practical purpose, but also decorative
Or use a lean-to shape that creates a dynamic effect and is supported by other buildings on the site. But make sure that the slope angle is common, then the roofs of the buildings will create a beautiful rhythmic pattern.
When choosing a location for a greenhouse, the first thing to consider is maximum illumination. Make sure that no tall fences, buildings or hedges are adjacent to the greenhouse on the south and east sides. It also doesn't hurt if there are no tall trees and lush bushes.
The traditional place for a greenhouse is the vegetable garden area. All inventory is concentrated here, and it will be convenient for you to do garden work. Place two greenhouses symmetrically in the garden (pictured at the entrance to the garden) and they will look like spectacular decorative pavilions, and not like outbuildings.
Convenient if the greenhouse is located next to the house or recreation area. So you can quickly collect vegetables and herbs to the table.
You can also remember traditional winter gardens and attach a greenhouse right to the house. Plant not only vegetables there, but also delicate exotic flowers, and you can get right from home to your own tropical garden. Use plants in containers so you can move them around.
In the photo: the embodiment of the idea of a winter garden in an ordinary greenhouse in the garden will turn it into a favorite vacation spot for all family members
Install a couple of chairs, and the greenhouse will become not only a useful garden object, but also an additional seating area. And in order to use such a greenhouse as a real winter garden, you need to equip it with sewerage and plumbing, a heating system and lighting. This will require some costs, but if you live in a country house all the time, it will allow you to enjoy the greenery and flowering all winter.
If you nevertheless chose a ready-made option, or if you already have a greenhouse in your garden, decorate it. When for the first time the customers asked me to keep the existing greenhouse on the site, standing in the most "front" place, it caused me bewilderment and surprise.The greenhouse did not fit into the chosen style and image at all. But then I figured out how to decorate it, make it part of the overall composition and a real decoration of the site.
We used bamboo and thin ropes. Palm fiber, pebbles, forged items are also suitable. Use them as decorative overlays on supports, in attachment points and as decor. The main thing is to remember that a beautiful greenhouse should remain as transparent as possible. Do not block the sunlight with the decor.
Since the greenhouse cannot be hidden, it needs to be accentuated. Place flowerpots with trimmed shrubs or flowers on both sides of the entrance, arrange boxes with flowers along the walls of the greenhouse or break flower beds there. Make it a decorative center.
Or replace a large greenhouse with a few smaller ones. Their flaps, open for ventilation, look like the wings of a flock of birds that have landed on the site.
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Do you use a greenhouse in your garden? What do you grow in it, greens, vegetables or flowers? Show us your greenhouses and greenhouses - post photos in the comments section!