Greenhouse project!

May 28, 2013
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Hello everyone!

I am in the process of starting a gardening club on my campus for next year. I have to start early to gain interest and write a budget ahead of time, so that the school may help fund us. Even though it will be a new club, we are starting big and trying to get funding to put up some greenhouses! At this point i actually have close friends on the student government committees who choose where the funds are distributed; so it may be easier than anticipated to gather funds, not to mention the president is pushing me to write this budget plan as he wants a gardening club on campus as well.

I have done some brainstorming on the things that will need to be included on the budget, but I'm sure more can be added and expanded on the budget request list. The purpose of this thread is asking members of the gardening Forums community to assist me in expanding my existing budget request. When it comes to requesting a budget from my school, you always want to ask for more than what you need, so aim high!

Eventually I will turn the list into a full fledged proposal, which needs to be as convincing as possible. I.E. pros of using greenhouses, or pros of hydroponics as opposed to soil, greenhouses make it more appealing to choose to attend this university for prospective high school students etc. Ideally, there should be as much thought and reasoning behind the proposal as possible to make it as convincing as possible to get the funding needed to tackle such a project.

To put you all into perspective: I attend Mansfield University in the Appalachian hills of northern Pennsylvania in a rural community. The school is constructed on top and around a mountain. Hot summers, cold winters. About 4,000 people take classes at the university, I would say just about over half of that number reside on or near campus. I wouldn't expect more than 50 dedicated club members any time soon. my idea is to put the greenhouses right on top of the mountain, maximum sunlight, but moderately high winds, which the greenhouses will negate. There are actually water towers within a few hundred feet of the mentioned area.

Any piece of advice would be extremely appreciated. From the ins and outs of greenhouse growing, to good ideas on how to gain interest for the new gardening club. Imagine your dream greenhouse and tell me about it. brainstorm session, go!

-----------------Here's what I've got so far for the budget proposal, I will worry about pricing everything once the list is near completion. (nothing is set in stone, be as critical as possible, any and all input is appreciated to the highest degree!!!!) ---------------

2-3 greenhouses (10 by 20 feet or so)
--# of houses is Dependent on interest in club by students (how to gain interest?)
--tools to put greenhouses up
--hiring professionals to help build(?)
--spare parts in case of damage
--Security (locks, cameras)
--Lighting systems leds?

--ventilation systems
--transportation of materiels
--Lattice and/or other constructions for vine plants.

Irrigation system (like I said, water towers are close, whatever help that may be)
----- Asking school to attach water barrels onto gutters of all the buildings.

Soil ( how much will I need for 2-3 20 by 10 foot houses)?
--Purchase or collect?
---- excess soil erosion from stream banks and the such. and fortifying it with organic materiel
-----------A project the soils class can partake in as extra study.
--Perlite, sand, vermiculite
-- Additional minerals regarding fortifying soil?
--Compost bins

Hydroponic systems ( I plan to use both hydroponics and soil so students can compare and contrast the pros and cons of using each, not to mention the additional experience alone.)
--professionals to set-up
--Professionals to host workshops so students can learn how to effectively use these systems.

Seeds ( Plan is that students pick which seeds they wish to grow. This will help serve an educational model, as different plants need different care and conditions etc)
--Plants with similiar condition requirements go into the same greenhouse. I.E. one greenhouse will be warmer and more humid than the other.


In the fall semester, we will donate food to cafeteria so students may try it. Perhaps make a special display!


I will continue to update this list as community members here at gardening Forums offer more suggestions. Rermember: I'm not afraid of criticism, offer convincing reasoning as to why my school government should fund such a project, and aim high!
Mar 27, 2012
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Hardiness Zone
United Kingdom
Sounds like you are doing a very thorough job! It all sounds very well thought through. I have never used a greenhouse myself, but hopefully other members here will have some experience. One thing that you need to think about is how you will set things up inside the greenhouse - will you have raised planters? If so you will need to factor in the cost of buying them. The size of the planters you want to use will determine how many you can fit in each greenhouse, and when you know how many planters you need you will know how much soil is required (given that each planter will have a limited capacity).

Where will you keep all the tools and equipment?

I'll keep thinking on this and see if anything else springs to mind! :)
Apr 2, 2013
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Wow Troy! Great project and great ideas!

I'm a little curious about the water tower. I'm second generation of Agent Orange and am highly skeptical of well water, water towers, etc. I am trying to design my own misting system with rain water for our green house (still being constructed).

So, I propose that you and an engineer student get together and discuss what it takes to construct your own irrigation system used by natural rain water. Now the part I am stuck on is what to do with dry spells. Maybe keep a reserve tank of rain water? But, how to you keep from growing bacteria without adding carcinogens? :confused:

I also suggest not to 'hire' professionals. Take your proposals to several builders and see who will donate time and/or materials. You would have an amazing turn out and the builders would gain tax write offs as well as a good reputation. You can also add to your proposal that the builders will add to future generations health so they can stay clear of GMO crops and anything that has to do with Monsanto. Don't take no for an answer. I'd have a hard time saying 'no' to you!

Compost bins would be perfect. I'm sure you guys go through a ton of coffee and have plenty of left over fruits and veggies. :p Best of luck to you!!!
May 29, 2013
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Ontario, Canada
What a great idea! We have two greenhouses on our property. We have 3 levels of plants in the greenhouses. The lower level (ground level) we plant vegetables that don't require a lot of sunshine. Above these we have tables set up and we plant sunshine loving plants like tomatoes and peppers. If you are going hydroponic, these can hang from the ceiling of the greenhouse. It's amazing how much you can fit into a greenhouse. We start plants early in one greenhouse and have a woodstove for cool evenings and days. We use waterbarrels to collect rainwater from the house and have a large pool like structure that also collects rainfall near the greenhouse. We use manure with the soil not compost. We keep it simple and transplant to the garden when the weather becomes warmer. I'm guessing that is not an option for you. Good luck with the greenhouses and enjoy! Sounds like you've done a thorough job.


Oct 7, 2012
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Firstly are the greenhouses to be made of glass which would be the better way or plastic?
One way to extend the life of your plastic poly tunnel is to have it permanently covered in a layer of light coloured shade cloth. We stitched the shade cloth together with a darning needle and electrical fencing wire. Our tunnel is now 24 years old with the original plastic. The peach colour of the shade cloth is important to allow the colours of the spectrum in for plant growth so don't use green.
Our poly tunnel is up on a mountain where we have hot summers and cold winters. If you have snow remember to have it built strong enough or use props to hold it up or have a sprinkler system to melt the snow.


Oct 12, 2012
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United States
This thread has been very interesting, building a greenhouse on top of a mountain in a cold area would be my first concern, I know Pennsylvania weather can be severe and long which means the greenhouse would need to be very sturdy.

Jed's comment answered my concerns about the sturdyness of the greenhouse and the snow in the area.

Hope it has all worked out for the best for you.

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