Greenhouse: roll-up side

This weekend we installed the roll-up side to one side of the greenhouse.

It’s a pretty low-tech device. It’s a 20′ long galvanized tube that has a crank handle at one end. The tension of the plastic is how the thing rolls up. When winter returns, we will anchor the tube to the baseboard at the ground. The ropes are simply to keep the tube from flapping around: if it’s windy outside, this thing can sail pretty high.

Had I been less of a tightwad, I would have purchased another, for the other side of the greenhouse. Because the greenhouse is near the garage/chicken coop (about 6′ away), I thought, mistakenly, that there wouldn’t be much of an opportunity for cross-ventilation. (Sometimes, my penny-pinching trumps commonsense. I’d say it’s a fault but the cure is swift: just buy something.)

I put deer netting behind the opening to keep out most creatures (butterflies; birds, including chickens; it lets bees through). I will take the door off in high season, or at least take the plastic off of the door and put netting in its place. With the roll-up side in the “up” position, the door and the vent above the door both open, it can still get really flipping hot (about 90*) so maybe I will be limited to cactus in there. I know peppers, tomatoes and eggplants love it hot…but how hot? We shall see.

We intend to get roll-up sides for both sides of the new greenhouse. Having that cross-ventilation could help cool things off considerably. Shade cloth is also an option: this is a woven poly mesh that is set atop the tunnel outside the plastic. It covers about 2/3rds of the arc of the tunnel. Considering I won’t be erecting the new greenhouse frame until autumn, this won’t be an issue this spring/summer for the new greenhouse. BUT…I need to make the new greenhouse beds!

I passed a rusted-out van on the freeway yesterday (in my rusted-out 15-year-old VW). It had a bumper sticker that read “I Hate Narrow-Minded People.” Hmm. Maybe I am being narrow-minded in terms of what a really HOT greenhouse can grow. I started thinking about all those plants that hate our cool summers (we don’t even need air conditioning). So: who likes it hot, besides the nightshades? Peanuts. Sweet potatoes. Okra. Squash (and it would help avoid squash bugs and vine borers). Cucumbers, but I’d need the self-fertile types. In other words, a lot! Don’t be narrow-minded! I sure wasn’t when I planted the winter crops

8 responses to “Greenhouse: roll-up side

  1. ooohhhhh You gave me my greenhouse fix for the day. I’ve been in mine a couple of times but I have to slog through wet snow and a little mud and a few puddles to get there. It’s not nearly as inviting as yours. I hope to rolling up one side by a few inches next week.

  2. That looks great! A slick way to vent…

  3. “…but how hot?”
    Not that hot.
    Have fun, and great success, experimenting.

  4. that is such an awesome green house!!! did you build it or buy a kit? man, I want one!!

  5. Robin: as you can see things are a little nutty in there. The roll-up side was really needed! It was so warm in there the arugula shot into flower about a month ago. Now, it’s calming down a bit for the lettuce, etc. in there. But it’s still warm enough for the seedlings I transfered.

    Hayden: Sometimes low-tech is the way to go!

    CC: Why thank you. Yes, it’s all a grand experiment!

    Stacie: It’s a kit from a place called Growers’ Supply. It was fairly cheap, and hey, it kept us in salads all winter!! Check out all the “greenhouse” postings on the sidebar if you are interested; I’ve been trying to keep a rolling tally of the greenhouse to tempt all you all to build and grow your own.

  6. Yeah, we’re bolting all over the place here, even with the plastic off. The last three days have all been in or near the 70s! Grrrr. Plastic off, shadecloth up apparently.

    I’m envious of your roll up side—even if it is only one side.

  7. Hi Danielle: yep, things’re hot all over. Actually, it’s been rather freezing here, but the sun has been out…which of course means things are toasty in the plastic bubble. The roll-up side has really helped though, especially if I leave it open all night. I always am so sad when our summer burns off our salads! So: what kind of shade cloth are you thinking about getting?

  8. Our local organic teaching farm is going to experiment with keeping it closed up during the hottest part of the summer and “solarizing” the soil. They don’t do raised beds in theirs, they plant directly in the ground so therefor still have some weeds that compete. Of course—I am in Georgia. Completely different story. Try sweet potatoes—they’ll love it. Okra gets to tall.

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