Sunday, May 3, 2009

The mess that is my main breeding house

Yes, this is it; my most untidy breeding greenhouse. Benches built "Ralph Moore style", just 2 X 4 frames with wire mesh surfaces laid on top of construction blocks. It does the job though and it was inexpensive to make. The floor is bare earth covered with black plastic weed control fabric. As you can see, its a metal hoop house with poly stretched over it, also relatively inexpensive. I bought the best grade of poly available because I found I can get at least 8 years use out of it. Everything is watered by hand, although I have the infrastructure available to set up automatic watering if I want. I think this setup is a good compromise between functionality, cost, and durability.

If you click on the image and look closely, you can see I have hung a few tags here and there already. (Upper left quadrant: I have pollinated 105-04-08 with a few things) Its far from glamorous, but it gets the job done.



  1. Questions? No, just a jealous whine! I envy you all the space!

  2. Yeah, I am very grateful to have as much greenhouse space as I do. In reality, this is just the main breeding house (18' X 48') but I also have a propagation house the same size, just for rooting cuttings (and starting my vegetables!) and a house just for first and second year seedlings, and one for stock plants, and one for third year plants in large containers....

    Now if only there was an easier way to manage the Oxalis and other nonsense that grows under the benches. Glyphosate is such an ugly thing to resort to. I resent putting money in the pockets of Monsanto after what they did to Percy Schmeiser :-( (Mind you, Percy kinda won in the end)


  3. Hi Paul - any tips on what material you use to create your greenhouses? I'd like to create a small one - perhaps 8' X 12'.

  4. Actually, all of my poly hoop houses were built from prefab kits made locally. These are commercial structures made by companies that do nothing but make greenhouse kits, and I have purchased from three different companies over the past decade. The first kit in 1998 cost about 1K and the more recent ones bought circa 2007 cost twice that.

    Kits do not include any of the wood materials needed to complete the base construction (some 2X4's and some 2X6's are needed to create a wooden base frame), nor do they include any of the materials needed to create the floor (how you do that is entirely up to you). You also need to buy cement to concrete in the base posts for the hoops. Not sure how much these actually cost when all was said and done. The "wood frame on construction block" benches I built were an additional cost as well. Perhaps I'll do a post to illustrate how these are constructed.

  5. Thanks Paul,

    The same option over here costs so much $$$. They start at about 6K and then the sky is the limit. I reckon I could make one for about 1-3K but a pre-fab kit costs a bomb here :(

    How do you ventilate your greenhouses to minimise mildew? Just position them carefully and open them up both ends or do you do so mechanically?

  6. You know, considering what you actually get for these greenhouse kits, they are plenty expensive enough. All you get is the steel hoops, base posts, assembly hardware, poly covering and the track and "wiggle wire" system that attaches the poly to the frame. I think they keep the costs low because these are manufactured very locally and so there is little or no shipping of parts, etc.

    The houses are ventilated during the growing season by simply removing the end walls and allowing free air movement through the houses. Where we are, there is usually plenty of breeze to keep air moving. Only the propagation house (which remains sealed year round) has a ventilation system (vents plus exhaust fan) to keep air moving through it.

  7. I did not here the rest about the Monsanto case. It is great to here that they did not totally win.