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Would you convert an old greenhouse to a wood shed?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by tlingit, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. tlingit

    tlingit Member

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    So, my old green house is too shady to grow tomatoes. I've grown splendid six foot plant, blooms, but no tomatoes. It's cool here and the greenhouse is pretty shaded. So, we are thinking of converting it to a wood shed. It would have the advantage of being dry, very warm on sunny days and the kids wouldn't have to dig the wood from under the snow to pack it in.

    My plans are to take out the benches, then put down pallets to stack the wood on. Stack this summers wood on one side, last years to the other. I'd leave the vent open to allow air to circulate but it would be mostly enclosed. That would be good, cause we get a lot of blowing snow in the winter.

    Ideas? Suggestions? It's such a good idea that there must be some drawback and if there is, I bet someone on this forum could tell me. Thanks!

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  2. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Wind and direct sunlight are what dries wood the quickest. It'll be warm, but also humid, on those sunny days. I think it would make a good woodshed, but only after the wood is seasoned outside.
  3. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

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    If you are having trouble ripening your tomatoes due to shade, you will have trouble seasoning your wood.

    My greenhouse I use for seasoning wood is sunny, and very airy, so seasoning is quite easy.

    My thought about ripening your tomatoes right now is to strip off some of the leaves of the plants, allowing more sun to the tomatoes themselves.

    Another thought is to put some banana skins round the plants, the ethylene gas given off as the skins go black will speed up the ripening.

    Tomatoes do not actually need much sun to ripen, think of the end of season tomatoes which ripen happily in a drawer in the kitchen (another old trick here).

    Probably not what you wanted to hear about your wood though....... ;-)
  4. skyline

    skyline Burning Hunk

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    A different opinion. What dries wood the quickest is the difference between EMC conditions and the wood's MC, not necessarily wind and direct sunlight. Around here for at least 6 months of the year, my garage with no solar gain dries wood better than direct sun/wind. If, after heating up, your green house is so humid, it's because your wood has lost all that moisture which your vents &/or a small amount of convection/fan will take care of. Use a simple temperature/RH sensor to compare conditions inside with your wood to outside and calculate your EMC. I suspect you will find that most hours of the day, your green house will have a lower EMC than outside conditions and your wood will dry much faster than outside but this is climate dependent and a fan or good convection design may be necessary depending on local conditions. The only thing you said that concerned me is that your green house is shady which is not really part of a greenhouse design one would chose if given choices, but it also suggests that you are not sacrificing much wind advantage of wood being outside.
  5. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    I would start out with putting 1 yr seasoned (non oak) in there. Buy a moisture meter and monitor your progress over time. Its possible you will slow down the drying process. You may see moisture develop on the interior glass , but you will still have nice dry wood when you need it in the winter.
  6. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Yes
  7. jimbom

    jimbom Combustion Analyzer

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    Lessons from my father.
    Think of the children . Out there on the tundra digging the firewood out of the snow while hungry wolverines snarl and snap. On the other hand, tomato soup from your own garden tastes good in the winter. Now if you have to dig the wood from the snow, well then Campbell soup tastes okay.
  8. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    As long as there is some air circulation it should work, especially if you let the wood dry at least some outdoors. We put wood in the barn now for winter use but it won't go in until October or November. It is sort of nice not having to scrape snow away before loading in the cart to take to the house.
  9. tlingit

    tlingit Member

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    We don't get very much humidity here, so I'm hoping moisture from the wood will flow up and out with the warmed air. There is a screen door that can be left open too, to help airflow. I'll talk to everyone about being sure not to stack it against the wall, so there is airflow on all sides. In teh winter, I think teh subzero temps help dry wood pretty quickly too, but we try to cut a year ahead, so don't count on that.

    I tried everything for tomatoes, but we are in Wasilla AK, and just don't get enough growing degree days. Lots of light, not much heat. Have great zuchini, greens and rhubarb, everything cool does very well.
  10. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

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    Sorry, I didn't notice you live in Alaska!!!!!

    What variety are you growing, I know Polar star and Polar beauty.

    Siberian have a very quick time to fruiting too, short seasons in the far North need quick results.......

    My only thought on using the greenhouse for wood is keep plenty of air space, don't be tempted to overload the greenhouse with wood as it may turn into a mould factory. ;-)
  11. tlingit

    tlingit Member

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    I've tried siberians, no luck. I think it is just too shady there. Right now it is 57 degrees and overcast outside at 2:30 in the afternoon. (We could use some of that spare heat you've been enjoying). So, the greenhouse is in the mid 60's, too cool for tomatoes. The forecast is cool and cloudy all week.

    I think the answer will be to leave room between the wall and the wood, and to leave the screen up on the door, so there will be good airflow. There's a vent in the back, and the front door has a glass panel that will slide up, so there will be fresh air flowing through.

    My husband is thrilled by this idea, since now he does not have to tear down the greenhouse. Kids will be happier, because hauling wood will be easier. Now, if it would just help dry early spring cut birch for midwinter use, I'd be happy. I'll track with the moisture meter and see how it does. Our few really hot days would make it like a kiln in there and we have almost zero humidity. Keeping my fingers crossed....
  12. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    I don't get it. If it's too shady and you burn wood, then chop down the shade trees and burn them. Problem solved.
  13. tlingit

    tlingit Member

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    I've thought about that. There are more homes and traffic on our road in the last few years and these trees block both noise and neighbors. I'm happy to cut other trees, but these provide other benefits.
  14. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

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    Definitely a wood store then.

    If you can cut your birch before the sap rises, it may well be that there will be some dry enough for the following winter.

    Our birch dries very quickly here, even though it feels "wet" when newly cut and split.

    And if you do need an extra year to dry it right out, at least you have an extra wood store ;-)
  15. CTYank

    CTYank Minister of Fire

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    Haven't seen anything here yet about nutrients for tomatoes. They are quite different from other plants- nutrients that benefit other plants will also grow tomato plants, but not tomatoes. For producing fruit, adequate potassium is key. Available in wood ash. To get greenhouse warm enough for tomatoes to set fruit, a woodstove might be just the thing. Is there a county extension agent handy?
    I love "closing loops."
  16. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    Unless you open up the side walls (enough) so that the stacks of wood are essentially outside in the wind with a nice roof I don't think you've gained much over just being outside.
  17. Bspring

    Bspring Feeling the Heat

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    I would never cut my trees for the same reason.
  18. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    How about those big cabbage that are grown in the area. I recall visiting the Alaska State Fair one summer and that cabbage filled a large wheelbarrow but was not a record. They surely grow big up there.

    On the tomatoes, have you ever tried mixing some epsom salts and water to spray on those tomatoes? But I do agree it is a bit cool up there for good tomatoes.


    Great that you cut a year ahead. Now if you can cut 2 years ahead you'll be that much better off! Only thing that beats 2 years ahead is 3 years. For sure you will not find a need for a moisture meter if you cut that far ahead and the fires you get are great.
  19. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    I would much rather have a green house. jmo
  20. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    Alaska??? I kind of wonder why you're not asking about putting an addition on the green house to store more wood? You know kind of a breezeway with a hay conveyor converted to a firewood conveyor. Make the kids and you real happy when they are on their own too!
  21. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Where are you guys seeing Alaska? I don't see they are from anywhere. The big vegetables are grown around here.

    Birch cut in the fall/winter (before sap is in it) and corded all the summer will be fine to burn that winter usually. The stuff I have leftover from last year is so dry now I can pretty much light a fire with just putting a lighter to a birch log.

    I'd pull the walls off on a greenhouse if you put wood in it. Get plenty of air flowing through. Greenhouses I have been in have been hot and humid. Great for growing plants, not good for drying wood.
  22. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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  23. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    10-4. I was looking under the username.

    I have no luck growing anything, damn moose keep eating it all... even my $250 A PIECE maple trees.
  24. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

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    Maple fed moose sounds like a delicacy.

    The problem in AK would be choosing a local wine........ ;-)
  25. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    On second thought if the green house is one of those glass jobbers, I think I woud turn the greenhouse in to a boiler room and a wood shed combined.

    Lucky you "woodchip". My wife's a teacher and likes to collect rocks. They never burn well.

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