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Advice needed

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Advice needed

Postby Aapoll » Apr 16, 2013 8:48 pm

Hello everyone, I am looking for a little advice and this seems like a good place to look. We have recently purchased a new home. This house has come with a lot of work. Outside there is an old greenhouse, which I decided to restore and hopefully use this spring. This old greenhouse was fully insulated, but hasn't been used in many years. There were poplar trees and alberta rose bushes inside and a cat had been using the raised bed as a litter box. The green house is well built and has lots of glass windows with a filon roof. So far I have torn out all the insulation in the roof, torn down all the old plastic, fixed up the plastic on the bottom of the walls which only had a few open sections (I did take out the insulation behind the open pieces), and am scooping out the dirt in 1 of the lower beds and the raised bed. I will be covering the second lower bed with black plastic so I can just use it for putting pots on, since the first side was so much work (I'm talking roots as big around as my wrist). I also put new plastic on the roof to help heat it since I took out the insulation. There is plenty of vents and windows that can open in here.

Now my questions. Tonight I lined the entire raised bed with plastic, because I am scared of contamination, plus the wood is starting to rot and is not replaceable at the moment. I'm not worried about the wood falling apart, its just starting to rot and is very thick/strong wood. I got to researching and found this not a good idea since it won't drain properly. I was thinking of maybe cutting some holes in the plastic and lining the bed with a layer of pebbles, then putting down soil. Do you think this will work? Anybody have any other ideas? Should I just to replace it?

I was also going to do similar with the lower bed, just because I'm not sure what could be in there. I found old containers of oil and karosene, in there so I don't wanna take any chances. This lower bed has no bottom, so would it be ok to put down a layer of rock with the plastic (with drain holes) over the top or lay the plastic down and put rocks on top? I'm really unsure what to do here so all advice welcome. I have already invested many hours into it because my daughters really excited about our project so I don't want to give up, but I also don't want to eat contaminated things. There was lots of particles of plastic and insulation pieces in the soil I have pulled out

I want to use the beds for growing herbs, tomatoes, and a few other things. I will have cucumbers and peppers in pots in there. Thanks in advance
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Re: Advice needed

Postby Countryboy » Apr 17, 2013 8:45 am

I've been 'renovating' structures for most of my life... so would love to give u some advice. But, despite your detailed description, I'm having difficulty picturing the layout of your greenhouse.

Any chance we could see some pictures of what u are working with? :)
Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience.
.....Ralph Waldo Emmerson....

Frank . . ON5a
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Re: Advice needed

Postby Aapoll » Apr 17, 2013 8:11 pm

I would but I don't think I can from my phone. I will try and put some on my computer tomorrow. It's a a rectangle greenhouse, decent size around 12' by 8' I'm assuming. There's a walkway down the middle with one lower bed on each side along with a raises bed along the back wall. Windows start about 1/3 of the way up and the walls below are insulated. There are 6 windows that open and vent holes on all windows that can be closed. The roof has a slight peak and is covered in filon. The roof was at one point insulated so there are gaps between the walls and the filon because of the truss. I stapled plastic up but loosely so the air can flow through to prevent the heat from getting trapped. I layed down plastic today in the one lower bed I am using because there's no way I want that dirt (there's no floor) in my food. I pulled too much out of there.

I am planning on shredding lots of holes into the plastic I layed down then cover it with a layer of rocks, followed by a layer of weed screen then my soil. Do you think this would promote proper drainage? If so I will also do the same with my raised bench. I will try and post some pictures but I'm not sure if it will work so hopefully that description helps a little more.
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Re: Advice needed

Postby Countryboy » Apr 18, 2013 8:17 am

Ya... that clarifies your situation. And it sounds like you're doing the right thing to get something going in it this year.

Keep in mind that sunlight will degrade clear plastic (poly) but not so any black poly. And poly comes in four grades - 2 mil, 4 mil, 6 mil, and Super 6 mil. The heavier the better for your situation... which would be 6 or Super 6 mil.

I would lay down the poly and then stab it with a sharp knife every 6 or 8 inches. Then place your drainage layer of stone, gravel, sand... anything that will drain well. The weed screen may or may not be necessary depending on the size of your drainage material. U can sort that out.

It should be a fun project . . best of luck! :)
Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience.
.....Ralph Waldo Emmerson....

Frank . . ON5a
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