Other Instructables that cover elements of the "Hydroponic, Automated, Networking, Climate Controlled Greenhouse Project" are listed below with many more to come:
Part 1: The Construction of the Greenhouse
Part 2: The 72 Plant Vertical Garden
The greenhouse when completed should be equipped with a large, centralized hydroponics system capable of supporting up to 40 large plants (tomatoes, bell peppers, banana peppers, etc.) and up to 72 small plants (lettuce, spinach, strawberries, etc.) for a total of up to 112 plants. The greenhouse will be equiped with an arduino based climate control system capeable of monitoring the indoor environment through a variety of sensors (temperature, light intensity, humidity, CO2 concentration, etc.) and automaticly adjusting each variable by controlling different devices (exhaust fans, louvre doors, heaters, grow lights, solenoid valves, pumps, etc.). The readings from all the sensors as well as the on/off status of all of the devices should be sent out over the internet and be viewed remotely and in real time from any computer or mobile phone.
As of this moment the greenhouse's skeleton is all that is completed. I didn't get as much done over the summer as I had hoped because of the nasty weather. However, over the winter I am working on constructing most of the hardware to go inside the greenhouse including the climate control system. I hope to be up and running by the time it's warm enough to start growing.
Each major section of this project should be it's own instructable and when it's all finished I'll compile it into a guide. For now I'll show you how I went from patch of land to a greenhouse skeleton.
Step 1: Considerations to Make Before Starting
In my particular case I got lucky because my backyard is totally southern exposed. The rear wall of my house faces almost perfectly south. It's only off by about 7 degrees to the east. I knew that I wanted to have both a garage and a greenhouse and my backyard is too narrow to put them both side by side. Even if I could put them side by side, the greenhouse would be in the shade of the garage either in the morning or in the evening, depending on which side it's on. So my solution was to put the greenhouse behind the garage.
The first picture is taken from an upstairs window looking south out over the backyard. The large orange rectangle closest to the camera is the site for the garage while the smaller rectangle out farther to the south is the greenhouse. The second picture is an "after" shot from the same location to clarify the meaning of the first picture.
You should also think about your local laws and building codes. In my municipality a building permit was required for my greenhouse and I had to follow a number of rules such as a 1.5 meter variance, a maximim size of 33% of my backyard and to keep it behind my building line (it has to be behind my house, not in front) to name a few. If you want a hydroponics system you may have to dump waste nutrient solution into the ground from time to time. Your town may forbid this, especially if there are drinking water wells nearby. You may also be required to let all of your neighbors know in advance and you might not be able to build if any of them have any objections. You should find out all of this in advance before you build because if you violate any municipal laws you'll probably be forced to tear it down and pay a fine.