Ask a Question forum: Need Help with Backyard Greenhouse in Central FL

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Name: Rin
Orlando, FL (Zone 9b)
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Rin
Jan 22, 2018 3:36 PM CST
I am looking to build a greenhouse in my backyard. Currently living in Orlando, FL in the 9b zone. My house is facing south south/east. We think it will be best for us to build it off of the house to help make it stronger against hurricanes. This puts it either on the west or east side. The west side gets more sun but my concern is it will get to much sun in the afternoon heating it to much. The east side is it will provided good morning light and protect it some the heat of the afternoon sun but will it get enough sunlight to support the plants. Current plan for the greenhouse is to build a vertical aquaponic system in it.

I am looking for some advice on where and what style of greenhouse to build. I am still new at this but all help is appreciated. Recommended reading is always welcome.

Thanks for the help
Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Jan 22, 2018 8:07 PM CST
Two of the most important things are to plan for excessive heat buildup. That and air movement. The sun is very strong and intense so figure in adequate fans, perhaps shading that can be rolled up or adjusted.
No plant I can think of except succulents can deal with the threat of 90 degrees plus for 4-6 months straight.
You can deal with humidity, light, watering etc. but the heat might be paramount!
"Our children are the messages we send to a time that we will never see."
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Jan 22, 2018 10:06 PM CST
I'm on greenhouse #2 (the first was in California) and heat build up and too much sun have always been my main issues. Both my greenhouses have (had) automatic vents that open and close on their own. I use shade cloth year 'round, have fans running year 'round and a misting system. In the summer, I leave the doors open (my current greenhouse has one on each end).

Air movement is really important, otherwise you will be dealing with mildew. Heat isn't such as issue IF the plants are in the shade and well hydrated. In the summer, my greenhouse has gotten to nearly 110 degrees and the humidity drops to 10%, even with the misters. But, with the fans, vents, misters and shade cloth, and automatic sprinklers that water everyday, everyone stays happy. I grow mostly orchids (yes, I know, I can't grow orchids in this set-up Smiling ).

Where you put your greenhouse isn't as important as what you do to protect your plants: watering system, misting system, shade cloth, fans, vents... You will need water and electricity. If Florida building code is like California's and Nevada's, if your greenhouse is attached to your house, you will need a building permit.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
Orchid Judge
Region: United States of America Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Orchids Cat Lover Birds Dahlias
BigBill
Jan 23, 2018 4:15 AM CST
On Long Island NY, once you put a greenhouse up on a permanent base, a foundation, you get taxed.
My first smaller one was free standing just fixed to a wooden frame kind of. That was not permanent in the eyes of the village thus no tax.
"Our children are the messages we send to a time that we will never see."
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
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sallyg
Jan 23, 2018 7:21 AM CST
here in maryland, my friend has a greenhouse style addition on the side of the house and it also suffers from overheating.
i know nothing about greenhouses and very little about Florida growing, and forgive me if this sounds oppositional, but what is a greenhouse going to do for you that living in Florida does not? and is an unattached greeenhouse really more hurricane safe than and attached one? Maybe in terms that, it will just take the greenhouse without damaging the main structure.
I work in the library and one of the basic rules is that people do not ask the real question of what they want. Will your aquaponics system require a greenhouse? What do you want to grow and how is that best grown in Florida.? Smiling
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
Orchid Judge
Region: United States of America Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Orchids Cat Lover Birds Dahlias
BigBill
Jan 23, 2018 7:27 AM CST
In the Orlando area it can go below freezing. A good deal of plants need to be protected from the low to mid forties and below.
Naturally protecting things from35 and lower is also an issue, hence the greenhouse.
"Our children are the messages we send to a time that we will never see."
Name: Rin
Orlando, FL (Zone 9b)
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Rin
Jan 23, 2018 2:46 PM CST
Yes, it can get cold there are a few nights in the winter that is below freezing. In my case it is only "cold" for about a month out of the year. We do get a lot of storms here especially with the monsoons in the summertime. Monsoons comes with a lot of winds that can cause a lot of damage to sensitive plants. As for hurricanes can cause a lot of damage to all kinds of structures depending on their category. My house is a block building giving it a lot more strength than many of the alternatives. Being attached to the house helps decrease that about of impact the wind can cause. It is possible that a hurricane can complete take the structure with it attached but it does help provide more support during strong storms. As for the vertical aquaponics system being in the green house, we wanted to decrease the amount of impact outside influences have on such as pest. Being that our setup will be vertical there is an even greater need to be careful with the high winds during these storms.

Thanks for all of your guys help and input.
[Last edited by Rin - Jan 23, 2018 3:31 PM (+)]
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Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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sallyg
Jan 23, 2018 5:13 PM CST
edit because accidentally reposted my previous
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
[Last edited by sallyg - Jan 23, 2018 5:19 PM (+)]
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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Jan 23, 2018 5:58 PM CST
Fellow Floridian here, and I have a pretty strong opinion about greenhouses. For the vast majority of the year you don't need one in Florida. Our climate IS exactly what a greenhouse gives - high light, warmth and humidity. A greenhouse is a very high maintenance thing in this climate. Algae grows on the glass surfaces, as well as the floor. If you get an infestation of pests, they're a nightmare to control and as everyone says above, temperature control and good air flow are big challenges necessary for healthy plants.

A better option that you could safely put on the west side of your house would be basically a shade structure with sides that roll up so the air flows freely in summer, but you can enclose it for the cooler times in winter. Many people, even commercial growers use these structures, as a much better option than an enclosed space.

Build a sturdy pergola, put a glass or fiberglass roof on it, and put removable shade cloth over that. The shade cloth will protect the roof from flying debris during wind storms. You can roll up or remove the sides in the summer, and watering becomes much simpler with the open sides plus you can hose the floor to clean it as well. Heavy duty 6mm greenhouse grade plastic works great for the sides, and stores away very easily.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

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