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 Post subject: Re: New second system
PostPosted: Feb 29th, '16, 19:12 
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Which type of solar are you thinking, I've only used and built the solar air heaters not the solar electric panels so I can't offer you much on that. I'd suggest taking a look at builditsolar.com for ideas. A greenhouse is really just a solar collector so if you're thinking of putting a collector in front of the glazing that wouldn't make much sense in Winter. I'd place your collector somewhere that it faces south, gets full sun and is close to the greenhouse so making connections is easy.

Having lots of water in the greenhouse helps moderate the temperature fluctuations. You'll need a fan to prevent condensation above the plants inside the greenhouse. Drips of cooler water from condensation falling onto the plants are bad news.


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 Post subject: New second system
PostPosted: Mar 2nd, '16, 11:35 
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Thanks for the website Scotty, I'll be looking at it more in depth when I get out of class tonight. I'm planning on using a 45 watt solar panel, it's going to be mounted on the roof of the greenhouse facing south to get the most sun possible. I found out on harbor freights website that I will be needing to buy a 300watt power inverter in order to plug it into the battery that I'm going to be using. As for the condensation issue, I'm planning on doing the screens idea that you recommended. I'll see if I can possibly do that with all of the roof panels, but I'm not sure if my wife will let me spend that kind of money.

As for a quick update for this afternoon (class lunch break), I got ammonia into the system to try and get the nutrients going again. The levels before I added the ammonia are:

pH: 7.6-7.8
Ammonia: .25
Nitrites: 0
Nitrates: 0

Image

After I got the ammonia in, I let is cycle for the rest of my time in class. After I got out, I went to check on my system to see how well the ammonia had circulated.... Let's just say that I may have added a bit too much..... I'm just glad I don't have any fish or plants in yet!

Image

New ammonia reading is off the chart, and pH has gone up by about 1.2.... And this is why my fish died last year, because of stupid crap I did, like this. But I'm hoping that it will start to cycle quickly. I'll be checking the system levels everyday to see how the nitrites and nitrates come along.

As for a greenhouse update: I got off the phone with my dad earlier, and apparently there is a company just north of me called Lehi Block. And apparently they have a waste pile that consists of "malformed" bricks, and from what my dad says it's free for whoever wants to take it. I was going to just buy bricks from Lowes or Home Depot, but free is always better than paying! So I'm doing that Monday after I get off my fire shift, then I finish the floor/foundation! Anyway, I gotta get to studying cardiology and treatments for abnormal heart rhythms.

Cheers!


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 Post subject: Re: New second system
PostPosted: Mar 2nd, '16, 12:27 
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I think most of these guys want to have the NitrAtes to be 0 but I dont think so. I belive you should try for keeping at least 10 at all times. That is the plant food your talking about. The more the better. The most I ever had was 80 and the plants really liked it. It was really hard to get them up.

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 Post subject: Re: New second system
PostPosted: Mar 2nd, '16, 13:08 
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I don't remember for sure but I think these greenhouses come with an automatic vent opener. If not for about $25 you can get one at HF (http://www.harborfreight.com/greenhouse-window-vent-opener-92192.html). I don't do any of the roof panels as screens, just walls - too much of a pain to get at the greenhouse clips. You'll be able to get at the top panels on the end easier if you really want to do the screens up there (still a pain though). The greenhouse is small enough and with all the water you'll probably have in it 4 panels is probably enough if your going to use shade cloth as well.


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 Post subject: New second system
PostPosted: Mar 3rd, '16, 08:19 
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I've heard it both ways for nitrates, personally I like to keep a minimum of around 30-60, but usually have been unsuccessful at doing so... Hopefully I'll be better at it this year!

for the vents... I believe you're right on that Scotty. Either way, I'll probably end up getting one or two auto openers anyway. How would the shade cloth be used? Just drape it over the top of the greenhouse, or along one of the sides?...

For today's update, I got the left siphon (the trouble child) replaced with a siphon like the one on the right side. First time being used, it started and stopped perfectly! If it works like that every time, then I know that the original three prong style I tried is not a good idea, and won't be used again.

And on to the pics!

Here's the original siphon with the 3 prong end.

Image

And the new siphon:

Image

And today's levels:

Image

I think the nitrite level has increased a little bit since yesterday, but I'm not too sure on that. Only thing to do is continue to measure daily.

That's it for today, cheers!


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 Post subject: Re: New second system
PostPosted: Mar 3rd, '16, 08:56 
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Nice going on the siphon Dragoon!

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 Post subject: Re: New second system
PostPosted: Mar 3rd, '16, 13:24 
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Thanks Martin! I hope I have the issue permanently rectified...


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 Post subject: Re: New second system
PostPosted: Mar 5th, '16, 05:41 
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I officially have a good reading back on the nitrite levels! The bacteria are growing like they should!

Image

The nitrite level is reading .25 ppm! I was worried that I'd accidentally killed off the bacteria with the amount of ammonia I'd put in, so I'm glad that things are starting to cycle through! And even the nitrate levels are starting to rise a bit! Hopefully here in the next week or so I'll be able to transfer my seedlings over to the system. But as before, I need to get the bricks laid down for the greenhouse foundation before I can move the system over.

And speaking of the greenhouse, last night my wife and I found some 55 gallon barrels on sale for, I think it was $10 usd off regular price. So we got 2 barrels in preparation for expansion! And today I got one of them cut in half for the growbeds.

Here is kind of how I'm planning on having them set in the greenhouse:

Image

Once I've got the system moved over to its new spot, I'll be framing up around the barrels and getting them going! I'm thinking of having these two be DWC growbeds, just so I can grow the spinach that my wife likes to have in her morning smoothies. And the second barrel I'm thinking of making into a sump tank, but I'm not sure how I'll get that to fit effectively into the system design. I'll probably end up playing in sketch up for a bit to see if I can figure it out.

That's all I've got for today, any suggestions are welcome (especially on the subject of the sump tank)!!

Cheers!


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 Post subject: Re: New second system
PostPosted: Mar 7th, '16, 11:43 
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So I've got an idea of how I'm gonna set up the second barrel as a sump tank kind of thing. I'll try to make a sketchup of it when I get off my fire shift tomorrow. But here is a crappy doodle of my thoughts:

Image


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 Post subject: Re: New second system
PostPosted: Mar 8th, '16, 10:40 
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Got the foundation finished for the greenhouse!!! This morning at about 10, I went to that brick outlet place I mentioned, and picked up about 70 bricks (which ended up not being enough, so I went back later in the day and got another 40), with my dad's help, and it all went into the back of my Isuzu trooper:

Image

After I got them back to the house, I went to work putting them all in place in kind of a semi paver style. Once I got the first 70 laid, I conscripted my siblings and dad to help me move the system to its new home in the garden (I'll say, that thing is not a light bit of lawn decoration!). Once that was moved over, I got the fish tank moved under the system myself, and got it running again:

Image

During the laying process, my brother took a chicken and put it on the old cloths line in the garden:

Image

With regard to the current water levels (post pH adjustment):

pH: 7.4
Ammonia: 8+
Nitrites: 2 I believe
Nitrates: about 5

And the seedlings are about a week or so away from being ready to transfer over!

Image

Next step is to build the framework for the next two growbeds that are currently mocked up on the ground:

Image

After I've got the beds set up (which I think will be DWC), I need to start saving up for the greenhouse which will probably get bought Late summer.

That's all I've got for today, enjoy!



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 Post subject: Re: New second system
PostPosted: Mar 9th, '16, 23:28 
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Got the first plants of the year put in, I just bought some basil from the grocery store. It was rather comical, on the back of the bag the basil came in, there was a note that said to not plant outside. But rather to put the plants in a "small glass vial, fill with water, and replenish the water as needed". I'm pretty sure that's just them trying to get money.... Anyway, here's a pic

Image


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 Post subject: Re: New second system
PostPosted: Mar 9th, '16, 23:31 
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You best watch that Rhode Island Red thsdragoon, my daughter is eyeballing it.


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 Post subject: Re: New second system
PostPosted: Mar 9th, '16, 23:32 
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Haha, I'll let my brother and the dog know their chicken is at risk!


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 Post subject: Re: New second system
PostPosted: Mar 9th, '16, 23:32 
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Haha, I'll let my brother and the dog know their chicken is at risk!


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 Post subject: Re: New second system
PostPosted: Mar 9th, '16, 23:42 
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Haha, I'll let my brother and the dog know their chicken is at risk!


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