Friday, July 30, 2010

Looking for ideas: greenhouse bench layout

I'm not really sure what I'm doing when it comes to thinking about the layout of the benches etc in the greenhouse. It's actually a greenhouse/potting shed combo, and the purpose is propagation - and drinking tea. Here's a little sketch I did with some ideas. The dimensions of the greenhouse are about 10X14.

Two three-foot wide benches leave a 4 foot space down the middle - rather generous perhaps, but room for things to sit on the floor maybe. I thought a raised bed to the left of the door for planting directly into soil, an open area to right of door for storing tools and other supplies, and a seat for visitors to enjoy a cuppa. On the sunny south facing side at least two racks (one above the other) for seedlings and cuttings. Along the back wall a work surface you could raise on hinges to get at potting materials in bins underneath; and along the north-facing wall, a work surface with a sink, electrical outlets, and shelving above.

I would very much appreciate ideas from people with any knowledge about the best way to layout a greenhouse.

And also what flooring works best. I'm thinking small stones over gopher wire, with a thick rubber mat strip down the middle for comfortable walking.

There will also be some storage behind the greenhouse (i.e. at the top of the picture).

I'd like to have the ability to add misters and bottom heaters as time goes by, to increase success rates. Not sure if it will be needed for most native plants, but I think the mister anyway would be a great help. The commercial nursery space available to the CNPS propagation group has misters and I think it makes a big difference.

Next a few pictures to let you see the current state of reality. As you can see Wood Rat has also been busy building a beautiful fence, bamboo in a redwood frame, that I'll post about in a week or two when it gets closer to completion. It is also a pool fence and has to meet various safety criteria.

From Point 1 on the plan - looking at the glass window side.
Taken from the undeveloped "south garden." This fall I hope to make progress here.


From Point 2 on the plan: View from the pool (potting bench side)


What you don't see in the above is the garden area, also slated for development in fall, to the right of the pool. Here is a shot of that area early in the fence building project.

From Point 3 - View from our neighbor's yard:

You can see our house and the peak of the greenhouse, and the fence, from our neighbor's side. Our neighbors have hundreds of fruit trees and palm trees and South African plants. The strip of fruit trees just behind our new fence is actually shared: half of it is on our side of the property line - the fence is about 10 feet or so inside our property line. Mr. Neighbor is kind enough to look after the trees. We have a gate into the neighbor's property, to get access to the fruit, and also for access to the shared water tank, which is on their property. And also for simple neighborliness and safety in the event of fire - the fire fighters would use our pool water to fight a fire on either side of the fence. Our neighbors are very happy with the new fence which looks quite nice from their side, and we are glad to be able to return the favor of all the nice fruit we can just go pick any time, without having to work for it! What is the saying: good fences make good neighbors!?

So... I'm starting to get excited about "moving in" to the greenhouse, and hope to garner some good ideas from my friends on line and off. By fall I want to be in production!

6 comments:

Christine said...

So exciting! First off, I should say I've never worked in a greenhouse or set one up before, so with that grain of salt...

-could you conserve table space by hanging pots from the ceiling?

-I've had much luck with building open bins of potting soil with casters on the bottom, so they can roll out from under the table (saving hinges and having to move everything off the table before lifting the table up)

Can't wait to see what other seasoned greenhousers have to say about this!

Fred Hoffman said...

Greenhouse flooring: walk-on bark works best for me. Rocks can get slimy and slippery.

Country Mouse said...

Yes, I think the rafters will be very useful, Christine. Not exactly sure how I'll do that but seems like a good way to use space.

Fred, that's a very interesting idea! One reason I like it is it's something you can renew every few years and the bark can just go on other mulched areas to rot in and provide some organic material. Seems like it would be kinder underfoot too. I'll look into it.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

I think your plan looks great. For smaller volumes of materials like soil amendments and fertilizers, those stacking bins can be useful, depending on how many things you think you need to store in bins. Will you be storing tools too? Will your seedling/cutting racks be able to accommodate a lighting rig? I know it's a green house, but I've had trouble with seedlings that demand strong light for germination during our grey winter and spring days.

Carol said...

Congratulations for all your efforts. Your greenhouse looks great. I would just stand in there and imagine myself working ... I have no experience here but sure you will make it work just right for you! Love the fence and neighbor sharing.

lostlandscape (James) said...

I think you have a good start on the layout. If you imagine the greenhouse benches as kitchen counters you might get a sense of how they'd function. Thinking that way the 3 foot wide benches seem like they might be too deep. My 10x12 greenhouse had 2 foot benches on the sides and a two-tiered central island accessible from 3 sides. My door was on the long side, so my layout was different than you'd use. I enjoyed spending time inside, especially on cold winter days, but I never planned a sitting zone. I like your idea on that.

Flooring? Yours looks on the outside like a fairly finished, not just industrial greenhouse. Maybe some brick-on-sand or recycled concrete walkways? Under the benches something even more permeable like you're thinking sounds good. Be sure everything drains very well since "rainfall" inside a greenhouse is likely going to be higher than outside.