Author: Mike Rensel

DIY Greenhouse Grow Lights

When this project began we knew that we’d have to have some sort of grow lighting if we planned on effectively growing throughout the long Michigan winters. I briefly explored the retail market for a lighting solution and quickly realized that that option was not in the budget.

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Aquaponics System Complete

We’ve wrapped up the things that we were working on mentioned in the last walkthrough video. This means the waste treatment components are complete, our cabinets are installed, and we’re all set up to start seeds. While all this work was being done, we’ve been cycling the system with tilapia fingerlings and our nitrate levels are starting to rise.

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Grow Bed Design Breakdown

From the beginning of this project, I have been tying to figure out the best way to build grow beds that use the maximum amount of available space. The primary blocker has always been coming up with the best way to waterproof the beds which will be made out of wood. The original design included a simple grow bed design to lay out the space, but it wasn’t detailed enough to estimate materials and cost. We’ll discuss design updates, materials, and reasons for the choices we made below.

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Greenhouse Flooring

The one thing that’s been holding up the rest of the work on the greenhouse is finishing the floors. The top floor is just osb subfloor and downstairs is treated plywood. I spent a long time trying to find a product like vinyl tiles or paneling of some sort, but always ran into the same issue. There are very few products out there that will survive large temperature swings.

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Roofing a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse

Since we are planning to try to make this a year around greenhouse in a colder climate, we’re going to install two types of roof system. A standard roof on the north side and corrugated polycarbonate on the south side. This allows us to insulate the north side where we don’t get much sun and it saves us money because polycarbonate is not cheap.

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Building a Geodesic Dome

With the lower building mostly complete and the backfilling well underway, we can finally start assembling the the dome structure. While we were confident that we could pull of this build, we were a bit apprehensive going into it considering our first dome failure. We were comforted by the fact that we could make the necessary adjustments with our piped hubs if we ran into a a similar situation this time around.

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