greenhouse

hi all,
i am designing and creating a greenhouse for my A2 DT coursework, and wanted to get peoples views on anything that is irritating or unhelpful about current greenhouse models, and any additional features that could be added to greenhouses to make them easier to use, or to make flora growth or more efficient, or more inclusive.
the greenhouse is for a flat garden, with less than a 3 metre squared base area, however the greenhouse is going to fold together, similar to an airiing device for clothing, so that the space could be used for other activities rather than a permanent greenhouse. if anyone has any tips or thoughts about this, and any specific views or tips about gardening in small spaces, then comments would be much appreciated. :)
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tomwhipps


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tomwhipps wrote:

This is slightly mysterious, I take it A2DT isn't an intelligent robot shaped like a garbage tin so never mind but what it is that will be more inclusive and why this is a good thing escapes me.
The main problem I see with current greenhouses is cost. Cheap ones don't last and those that last are expensive. I begin to suspect that you will not make this any better but in fact your collapsible version will be more expensive than the same size that is fixed. Is that the case?

Do you mean 3 square metres or 3 metres square (ie 9 square metres)? Why this size?
however the greenhouse is going to fold together, similar

I know several ways that airing frames fold up so this doesn't help much. But it is collapsible, OK.
How big will it be folded and what will it weigh? How many people will it take to fold/unfold/carry it? Will it have racks or benches inside? Will these also collapse? Where will all the pots or trays full of earth go when it is collapsed? Given the storage requirements for the components how much space will actually be saved by collapsing it? I assume it will be covered with flexible transparent polymer sheet, what will be the effect of collapsing or erecting the structure on that sort of plastic over a period of years?
so that the space could be used for

Why would you go to this much trouble? When do you imagine it would be folded and when unfolded? What climate would it be suitable for?
if anyone has any

The trick is to garden in 3 dimensions which requires stands or shelves, or trellises. Are such involved in your plan?
David
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Then if it doesn't require benches or tables, perhaps you will be planting into the ground, in which case you don't need a greenhouse, you need a cold frame. If you don't know what you're going to grow, then you don't know what you need. Four 10 ft. 2 X 12s, and a plastic sheet may be sufficient.
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- Billy
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A2 DT is the year 13 course title for design technology, just to clear that up,
and i have considered using perspex, which although is brittle is cheap, and with simple structural changes to the greenhouse would be theoretically strong and lasting.
[color=blue][i] I begin to suspect that you will not make this any better but in fact your collapsible version will be more
expensive than the same size that is fixed. Is that the case? [color=blue][i]
i would have to create a folding mechanism, however my ideas incorperate less, or the same amount of material as a fixed greenhouse of the same size, due to the wway the greenhouse would fold.
[color=blue][i] Do you mean 3 square metres or 3 metres square (ie 9 square metres)? Why
this size? [color=blue][i]
i meant nine square metres, and my greenhouse is designed for flat gardens,
ie. apartment, or balcony gardens, as my original post wasn't very clear, and the dimensions are based on research on apartments and flats in my area, and the average size of their garden, which is around 3m2, or 9sm
[color=blue][i] How big will it be folded and what will it weigh? [color=blue][i]
it will be folded flat abainst the wall, to 2.5 metres high, and about 5cm thick, and will be incredibly lightweight, using only perspex, and metal bolts and screws/nuts.
[color=blue][i] How many people will it take to fold/unfold/carry it? [color=blue][i]
it will only take one person to unfold or carry it, as the folding mechanism will be smooth, and one action will make each part fold separately, simply by using the force of the initial movement of the user.
[color=blue][i] Will it have racks or benches inside? Will these also collapse? Where will all the pots or trays full of earth go when
it is collapsed? Given the storage requirements for the components how much
space will actually be saved by collapsing it? [color=blue][i]
i haven't decided all the interior components, but shelving is possible, and wouldn't takeup any extra space, however pots would have to be from the user, and i would only be able to include a space for pots, and they would have to be removed when the greenhouse is folded. i have thought of some ways in including extra features such as rain collection, which would be easy to include, would this be a useful feature?, and the greehouse would fold down to 5cm depth, meaning an extra 2.95m would be given.
[color=blue][i] I assume it will be covered with flexible transparent polymer sheet, what will be the effect of collapsing or erecting the structure on that sort of plastic over a period of years?
[color=blue][i]
i am not going to use any flexible plastic, as i believe it looks incredibly ugly, and untraditional, and it would stretch and wouldn't retain its shape, and the perspex would't be stretched, or damaged by any amount of folding, as no friction between the surfaces should happen.
[color=blue][i] Why would you go to this much trouble? When do you imagine it would be
folded and when unfolded? What climate would it be suitable for? [color=blue][i]
it would be for first time flat buyers, generally, and for those that live in houses/flats with small gardens that wish to garden. it would be folded down during the colder months, when the plants simply cannot survive without heating, or when the user wishes to use the outside space, eg when they are socialising they may wish to go outdoors, and with a permenant greenhouse the space isn't useable, however with a foldable greenhouse the space can be used. the greenhouse should be suitable for UK weather, as that is what it is designer for, however i haven't created a prototype yet, so the insulating capabilities are still unknown to me.
[color=blue][i] The trick is to garden in 3 dimensions which requires stands or shelves, or
trellises. Are such involved in your plan? [color=blue][i]
all of which i could incorporate, however am only in the first stages of the project currently, and i will have to test different features when i have created some prototypes.
thanks for your feedback.
--
tomwhipps


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tomwhipps wrote:

Good luck with making a folding version weigh less than the fixed equivalent, I don't think it's going to work. You skipped over the cost, greenhouses are expensive as it is, yours will be more expensive.

If it is so lightweight with no metal structural members I doubt that it will be strong enough to stand much wind, it may not even be rigid enough to stand on its own. The wind load on such structures can be considerable and they can be literally blown away if not fastened down well.

One person to carry it! Have you done any sums to estimate the weight? It's time you did. For a structure that sized to be rigid, durable, transparent but light enough for one person to carry you don't need perspex you need unobtainium.

You seem to have missed the point. If you don't have all the trellises, racks, tubs etc (whether you supply them or not) you don't have a functioning greenhouse. If you do have them the space saved when the structure is collapsed may be trivial or non existent.

Without any metal structural members the perspex will bend all over the place, it will be like trying to fold a wet paper bag without tearing the paper.

Really? I can see an empty greenhouse may be foldable in a few minutes and give extra space but what do they do with the contents, the rather heavy contents? This doesn't sound like something you will do in 10 minutes because people are coming round for drinks this afternoon.
however with a

Have you checked municipal authorities to find out if such structures must accord to a building standard or if they require building permission?
Have you got a back up plan in case this project proves to be impossible?
David
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wrote:
This is pretty much a sickle and hoe, digging in the dirt group, not a lot of new age think here.
But some nu-tech automation ideas on a larger scale that could be easily scaled to size: : http://www.cityfarmer.info/2009/12 /
http://homedesigndecorates.com/beautiful-indoor-garden-with-modern-design-by-paula-hynes/beautiful-indoor-garden-with-modern-design-by-paula-hynes-ideas
http://www.valcent.eu/documents/ValcentBrochure2010.pdf
also Google hydroponic, aquaponic, vertical integrated gardening, etc
A slick approach for a multi use building concept: http://www.quadror.com/applications/dwelling/relief-housing /
Quadror has many more ideas on this concept but you can get the jest with the temp shelter link.
good luck
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tomwhipps;935035 Wrote:

Down here in Cornwall we even have substantial, well constructed greenhouses that just 'blow away' in gales from time to time, so I cant see how a folding version could ever be strong enough ? If you make it light enough to be folded, it would never be strong enough to stand much wind. Incidentally, you might find it interesting to note that most damage to these structures comes from the downwind side from the 'vacuum effect' literally sucking the glass into the air ? which is why the ground fixing must be both very secure and also heavy enough to combat this effect. I have replaced literally hundreds of these damaged greenhouses and am always amazed by how differently they have been damaged depending on the placement and siting of adjacent buildings etc and how these buildings create strange and often very violent turbulence ! You must also know that most structures, whilst initially sound and of good strong construction become very weak if flying debris breaks any glass allowing the wind inside. I fear that whilst you may think you have a sensible and sound idea, in practice personally, I dont think its a feasible propsition ! Lannerman.
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lannerman

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