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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013

    It's Been a while

    A while ago I was looking into building my own system. Had everything laid out and found myself in a place where I could not build it. I am now back in the planning stages. In the near future I am going to build or buy a small system to get things started and figured out for growing locally. Ultimately I want to build a large (not huge) home system that will run year round. There are so many more things to look into when you want to grow all year round, as well as when thinking about creating a structure around it as well.

    I have created this thread for assistance in the planning process and to later post what I am building. I will include the questions as well as any ideas I have. Included is an aerial of my back yard, and a rough idea of what I plan on making. The dimensions and layout are not set in stone, and the structure size is the maximum work area. Any smaller size can be placed into the area.


    • Build an efficient greenhouse and aquaponics system.
    • Generate enough fish and vegetables for close friends and family (less than 10)
    • Keep electric, gas, and ongoing costs use to a minimum.

    The Structure North East Kansas
    -The structure (Greenhouse) will be attached to the back (West) side of the house. I am thinking that it will contained two rooms. The first room will contain the fish, working and storage area. This will allow me to keep the sun away from the fish tank to reduce algae growth. I feel it would also be able to maintain a stable temperature as the room would have minimal windows and be able to be well insulated. I am unsure how I want to construct the fish tank at this time. I think I am going to build it along with the structure.

    -The second room will be the green house. I know nothing about building a green house. I am hoping that I will not have to spend an arm and a leg to get this built. Is it best to build a traditional greenhouse made mostly out of windows, or could I get by building the structure out of wood, insulating it and putting a few windows in? What would be best for the weather in the area. Summer can get to be 100- 110 degrees, and winter can be around 10-15 below.
    - As of now I plan on building the grow beds out of lumber and lining them. I am thinking of burring the sump on the north side with a grade towards the pump. I am thinking about building the sump so that it is the length of the grow beds so that it can hold extra water, and in the event of a power outage or plumbing issue could hold the spillage.

    In the System

    - Inside the system I plan on using media but have not decided exactly what. I am leaning towards expanded clay balls. I hope that this will provide proper aeration, as well as plentiful surface area for bacterium. I plan on eventually placing worms into the media to eat any left over roots, leafs or waste solids. In the bio filter I am thinking about using cut up plastic in webbed bags to create surface area for bacteria, as well as a nice home for scuds should I use them in the future. As a side note. If I use scuds in my system will that have an effect on who can eat the produce from the system if they are allergic to seafood or shellfish? I do not plan on placing anything inside the fish tank other than water and fish. Is using a vortex solids filter a good idea? or should I allow any solids that pass through the bio filter into the grow bed?


    - Because I plan on operating the system year round. I understand that I will need to supplement sun light and heat. I am trying to look into finding a way to heat and light the greenhouse without spending a ton of cash both long term and short term. I am thinking about Red/Blue LED lighting but am not sure if I want to dish out the cash. I may just have to fit the greenhouse for them and expect slower growth in the winter until I install them later. I am unsure how I am going to heat the greenhouse in the winter. If i insulate it well maybe I can just leave the door open and let the HVAC try to keep it at 68. I am concerned that this will greatly increase my bill and maybe even lower the efficiency and life of my HVAC.

    Thank you in advance for your help and knowledge. I have included an aerial view of my back yard, as well as a rough sketch of what I am thinking. Nothing is set into stone as of now other than the maximum build space.
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  2. #2
    Members David - WI's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    If you google "passive solar greenhouse" you'll find stuff like this:
    It's all about the fish, dude.

  3. #3
    Members Apollo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Phoenix, AZ
    Welcome, glad that you have joined us. May your journey bring you the knowledge that you seek, put a smile up on your face, create hours of pleasure to stimulate your mind, an a healthier life style for your heart...from Apollo__Phoenix, Arizona.

    I found by building your outdoor system in the ground your temperature swing is much milder and system is easier to heat. Check out my main site "Pipe Siphon by Apollo", add in a green house you should have a nice set up.

    If you want to view my set up from start to now, check out “Fire Pit … AP” then “Pipe Siphon by Apollo” and ending with "Got Vertigrow?".

    Good Luck and enjoy!


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