All Season greenhouse?

I live in Northern, Ontario, Canada. We get only a few warm months through the summer and its fairly cold for the rest of the year, dropping down to about 40 below, Celsius!!  I have a vegetable garden in my backyard that does fairly well during the summer but I would like to be able to have fresh vegetables for my family year round. Is there any way I could build an outdoor greenhouse that I can use year round, without costing a fortune?  I also have a spare room on the upper level of my house that I could use but I don't want it to become too humid and rot my walls. Any ideas would help! Thanks!

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jacksander4 years ago
A small wooden greenhouse doesn't cost a fortune and it will protect your vegetables from cold weather.
kmarrello (author) 6 years ago
I think I have found the answer to my own question and it has nothing to do with a greenhouse at all... the solution to my very cold winter gardening is to just bring it indoors using a hydroponic windowfarm made of mostly recycled materials!! How great is that??? :D anywho heres a link to where I found this information.
http://our.windowfarms.org/tag/officialhow-tos/
Happy Gardening!!
Vyger6 years ago
I know what the 40 below is like, yep. I have been thinking of a green house also. Especially when lettuce cost more per pound than beef. It has to be easier to raise than a cow, or so one would think.
Anyway an issue that I think you will have is the short days. We have short days here and your further north than I am. What you might end up doing is a seasonal greenhouse. For the 2 or 3 shortest daylight months you might just have to let things freeze. Its that or you will have to put in high intensity lights because you may not get enough natural light to keep things going. Its a combination of both warmth and light (and water) that plants need so even if you can keep it warm you might not have enough natural light. at least for those shortest months.
In terms of construction, there are some newer materials out that work better than the traditional glass. Polycarbonate panels that are made with square tubes are sturdy enough for many applications and they have a better R value than some glass. I have been considering making a system of double glaze with a void in between that can be filled with insulation. To put it more simply, use 2 windows and fill the middle with foam peanuts for the extra R value. I have been planing on trying this, and use a shop vac to move the peanuts either into a storage bin in the day or the window void at night. That would cut down on the heat loss a lot. The question is whether the peanuts will hold up for long term or start to fall apart from the moving process. Anyway, I think it can be done but there will be challenges. And unless you want to invest in lights and the power to run them plan on a few months of being dormant.
kmarrello (author)  Vyger6 years ago
it really is ridiculous that veggies get so expensive in the winter, which is exactly why i'd like to grow my own all year... i'd rather not can or pickle stuff because i prefer fresh stuff, i'm not a fan of preserves and stuff... if i'm going to have to use UV lights i may as well grow it all indoors, but how do i have vegetables growing in my house without it getting too humid and wet?
We grew up canning stuff all the time- you don't need any additives or preservatives. Simply put what you want in the quart bottles, pressure cook it to seal them up, and they'll stay good for an extended period of time. Corn is even easier, simply slice it off the cob, put in ziplock baggies and freeze it. Canned vegetables taste much like the original fresh produce, and nothing like the mass-produce crap you'd find in a grocery store. Especially given your extreme conditions, I'd suggest giving it a try.
Take a look at Mike Oehler's book.


Mike Oehler's in Northern Idaho I think. Steve
kmarrello (author)  steveastrouk6 years ago
thats a really great idea except that i'd have to have permits and a whole lot of money to do that... thanks for the input though! :)
The whole point of the approach is it costs next to nothing to do.
yokozuna6 years ago
It gets well below freezing here, and I've seen people who could use regular greenhouse materials year round. To be fair, I don't know if the plants were specialized for cold weather or not, and it wasn't anyway near 40 below (which incidently is the same temperature on both scales).  I would just do it, possibly in conjunction with a small heat source and make sure that it is sealed up very tightly.  If I'm incorrect, perhaps someone with more experience in colder temps can tell you otherwise.
kmarrello (author)  yokozuna6 years ago
I guess i'm just going to have to build one and see how things go... or just have a bunch of pots of veggies growing all over my house lol
orksecurity6 years ago
Might be easier to get grow lights and grow the plants indoors during the winter.

Might be even easier to learn how to can your summertime produce. Or just freeze it.