Today promises to be a full day.
Physical therapy, mom visit, trip to Grand Rapids area with other chores stuffed in the cracks.
One of the big eye-openers for American Industry in the late 1970s was the flexibility of Japanese factories. They produced a multitude of automobiles (for instance) out of a single factory. Sometimes it was the same basic auto but modified for a dozen different markets.
American factories, like metal stamping plants, operated on "Economic Lot Size" theory which essentially meant that if you had enough racks to hold six months worth of a specific part, that is how many you stamped out before changing the dies in the presses for the next part.
That differed from the Japanese who might stamp out one week's worth of parts.
Obviously, the US factories could not operate on a one-week cycle because it sometimes took an entire week to change out the dies and tune them in to the point where a usable part was produced.
There are many reasons to emulate the Japanese model. One reason is that it is expensive if your set-up was less than perfect and you produced six months worth of a part and most of them had cracks in them. Or if there was an engineering change and you had to hand-rework or scrap six months worth of parts.
There were also issues with the week-long die changes. The press might be down for a week and then run a week to make the six months worth of parts. Then down another week and running another week making another part. Because of the ratio of down-time to up-time, the company needed twice as much press-line capacity as it would have needed if it could change the die-sets in fifteen minutes.
This history shapes my thinking on short-season gardening (sometimes called cold-climate gardening).
I like the term short-season gardening because there are large portions of the country where it is very hot and dry where the growing season is short. Or sometimes there are two growing seasons separated by a hot summer.
Then there is the issue of food production from the garden having value. Let's say a late frost flattens your garden in the second week of June. Do you just decide to sit the year out or do you have/make a plan to overcome? If you are hungry, you make a plan and soldier on.
When the enemy (hunger) is on the horizon we can use precision rifles and allow time for the barrel to cool off. When they are closer we take any shot we are offered. When they are in the trench with us...we do what is ugly and necessary.
Mrs ERJ is strongly suggesting that a greenhouse is in our future. I am interested in hoop houses made with cattle feedlot panels and plastic film. Do any readers have experience with the cost and durability of the various types of plastic film used to cover them? Mrs ERJ and my vision vary slightly. I see it as a way to start the season earlier. She sees it as a way to have fresh salads through most of the late-fall, winter and spring.
If used just for starting plants, the film could be peeled off of the frame and stored out of the sun until late the next winter. In Mrs ERJ's vision it could be removed for the summer and reinstalled in mid fall. UV light and wind battering are what kills the plastic film.
I have turned that structure around in my head for some time (since a storm took out my previous storage shed).ReplyDelete
Depending on what scrap material you have laying around, cold frames may be a better option. Can be raised beds making access easier (for trimmer lettuce, etc.) Even a bed of short nantes carrots or the like would lend well, and if insulated are as good as ground... I can see something with hay bales and old plexiglass panels from an overhead light salvaged from the dump... cover with a heavy tarp overnight/during frosts.
Several years back I performed "grunt assembly labor" to help assemble a friend's greenhouse. That 2" dia ~.055" galvanized tubing that supports carports? two-piece half-ovals of the stuff on 10 ft centers, bolted at the bottom over 4' pipes driven into the ground, "splice pipe" of 1.875" tubing at the top bolted into the 2 halves. Center run of 4X4s and strap clamps to support the tops, "pig fencing" overlaid on the tubing and secured with self-tapping screws and clamps. The ends are 4X4 verticals with plywood, solid (hinges in) and screen (hinges to outside) doors in each end (it's 24 ft wide and 100 ft long) with a 24" exhaust fan in one end and a 24" intake fan in the other. 8 mil poly goes up in fall, comes down in spring. PVC down the center, T fittings and spray heads every 4 ft. 2 waist-high wide rows of plants down the center, 2 narrow rows down each side, shelves under the top rows to "aid in starting" another full set of new plants. Barely room for an adult to walk between the rows, long arm reach needed to get to the outside rows.ReplyDelete
Worked very well, he told me 2 years ago he was adding 2 more, designing them 12' wider and a bit longer. The first was for his family, now his kids are running 2 vegetable stands and he wants to extend the selling season, figures he'll need a way to add heat to start a month early and go a month later. In his climate that means starting in Feb, ending in Nov., figures the true limiting factors will be sunlight and the cost of heat mid-Nov thru mid-Feb.
RE: American/Japanese factories. W. Edwards Deming taught the Japanese "lot size of one" and "zero variance" when MacArthur sent him there after WWII to help them rebuild. The Japanese learned well. Americans sat on their thumbs and rotated. (Deming worked with American mfgs during WWII to get production volumes - and quality - up to win the war. Seems when rejects - and reworks - due to quality problems go down overall production volume goes up. Who knew?)
Sakichi Toyoda, who started in the weaving biz after WWII, studied Deming, learned on his own, and that led to Toyota Motor Co and the Total Quality Management program there.
Long story but in mid '80s Chrysler and Mitsubishi were producing the same car (Mitsubishi 2000, IIRC,can't remember what Chrysler called it) and Chrysler was getting killed by transmission warranty costs on them and the mini-vans. They bought 10 of the Mitsu cars, disassembled the trans, discovered none of the "+/- .005" bullshit - everything was mfg to Zero Variance. No "tolerance stacking."
FYI, Deming wrote lots of books on statistical process control...in English. Americans can't read, I guess. Also FYI, "Well Made in America" by Peter Reid describes how bad Harleys were when AMF owned the company, the IPO Harley employees did to get ownership, and what they went through to get the mfg quality up to the point where people would buy the bikes again. Not exhaustive in detail, but interesting.
Can't remember the title, but there was a book on Japanese auto compaines' move into the US market, concentrating on Nissan's move into the US market with small Datsun pickups. No one waned the Datsun cars but the pickups sold like hotcakes, US mgr kept asking for rmore, Nissan refused qty increase because "Americans are using them wrong" we used them for EVERYTHING, including passenger use. That was wrong according to Nissan (Nissans were sold under the "Datsun" name for decades because Nissan didn't want to jeopardize their real name if the "sell cars to Americans" thing flopped).
A high school buddy's dad had Datsuns. He drove them down the rows in his farm. Width of the rows and wheels was spot on. They were just about perfect for his style of farming. I think he had a Chevy Luv, and it didn't last near as long.Delete
I like that idea for the hot house. Thanks for the detailed specs.
Put the main supports closer together than 10 ft - he had to come back and add supports to keep the mesh from sagging severely. No idea what the proper spacing would be to not need film support between the metal frame members but I've seen hoop greenhouses that don't use any. What you're building is basically a 100 ft long 2-car carport without a sheet metal roof (which adds a LOT of integrity to the structure) and most of them use square tubing, not round but round is much cheaper. Harder to keep the bends in the correct plane, though so choose your "bend supplier" carefully, real PITA force-fitting stuff to line upDelete
Good ideas from: https://www.youtube.com/c/dirtpatcheaven. The hotbed she builds is impressive. Almost year around growing.ReplyDelete
Also look up geothermal greenhouses. There's quite a bit on youtube. I have 1/3 of my 10' X 12' greenhouse converted to geothermal and plan to convert the rest during the coming winter. The difference is incredible.
Birdman could you expand a bit on your conversion Please?Delete
My husband built a small greenhouse out of old large-frame porch windows. On a sunny day in winter it will hit 80 degrees. It’s great for starting seeds early. It’s not large enough for crops, and not insulated either. But it does help us get an early start. I know the large farm down the road uses plastic covered hoop houses, and they roll up the plastic during the season when not needed. Seems to work for them but I don’t have specifics on it.ReplyDelete
Depending on your soils ability to drain I've seen a very nice dug into a hillside cattle panel solar greenhouse.ReplyDelete
There is almost NO Reason to have glass or plastic on the north side of your greenhouse. Sucks heat out in winter and overheats in summer.
The working area of that hillside greenhouse is a deeper dug path to reduce the issue of head room and that area isn't productive anyway. Wind and UV are plastics enemies.
The digging of that working trench makes the south side Solar access plastic very short from the OUTSIDE of the greenhouse.
The actual plastic is fastened onto a bamboo rod and is actually able to be rolled up and down as needed from the outside. They have a nice overhang built in, so the roll of plastic is completely out of the sun and wind when fully open.
They also have an again bamboo wind-sun screen that can be set up. Great when hail threatens Both the plastic and when open the plants.
Barrels of water on the south side make a nice potting bench and thermal mass as well as AH, water storage.
Not a good design for Baton Roge LA where groundwater would flood it.
In the near term, I'm planning to try garden cloches (aka garden bells) like our colonial ancestors used for season extension. My plan is to cut the bottoms off of 1 gallon glass jugs since the purpose made bells run about 40 a piece.ReplyDelete
Try the gallon Mason jars that PIGS feet, pickled eggs and pickles aresold out of at bars and convenience stors.Delete
Thanks for the greenhouse plans.ReplyDelete
Everybody is ahead of me but you can increase headroom, increase warmth and insulation by digging down. Friends have done it with great success.ReplyDelete
I live in the Copper Basin, Alaska and have a green house and two hoop houses. The green house is clear lexan panels and can be wood stove heated. The two hoop houses are made with chain link top rail bent with a tubing bender from Johnny’s select seed in Maine. They make several benders now but mine makes a 12’ wide 8’ high hoop out of two length of pipe. All of my structures are 24’ long. I bought a roll of green house plastic 100’ x20’ and covered them twice once nine and ten years ago and again this year we made plywood ends with roll up tarp doors on both ends. I can keep them thawed with a tank top propane heater each down to about 20F. We went from 56 this morning to 80 with part time sun this morning. My hoop houses have three raised beds with eight inch height the outside ones are now 2.5 feet wide and the center one three feet with a walkway in each side wide enough to use my garden stool to reduce bending. Regular construction grade plastic will turn cloudy after a couple years and just turn to shards after three or four because of UV degradation! I grow my tomato’s in the green house in seven gallon grow bags and peppers, etc in pots. Here in Alaska it pays to extend the season into May rather then very far into October because we have ling days in many and loose light fast in October!ReplyDelete
H. B. What a treat to see you are still a reader!Delete
I freely admit that you are ten times the gardener I am.
Thanks for popping in!
I don't know if this would work, but I keep thinking about building a "greenhouse" against the south wall of our brick house, and releasing excess heat into the house. The top could be shaded with solar panels if too much heat was collected.ReplyDelete
My spelling AND memeory may be off but when they do that with fruit trees (training to grow on a southern facing brick wall) they call it "espalier" gardening (or something like that). Many older homes in Europe have fruit tree's that are from 1-2 zones warmer (think Italian fruit in Germany) due to placement and surrounding protection.Delete
We are in a similar, short-season climate in New Hampshire. We bought a kit for a 20x40 greenhouse from BootstrapFarmer.com in the spring which we will build after the tomato harvest is done in September. What we liked about this kit is you supply your own steel pipes and lumber. We figure the total budget including the kit, piping and lumber at about $2500. Grown children will provide labor for beer and burgers. That's a fraction of what an erected greenhouse would cost. I may do a cattle-panel house in another, south-facing garden. It's important to get quality, greenhouse-rated film if you want it to last more than a year in the UV. Bootstrap and Grower Solutions both sell the film. The big greenhouse will also be the winter home for the chickens and turkeys.ReplyDelete
I built a greenhouse years ago using trampoline frames. I welded the sections to suit me and set in concrete. Used regular greenhouse plastic to cover it. I had one trampoline. Got two more for free for cleaning up the mess of broken down trampolines others had and paid $15 for the last one.ReplyDelete