[Market-farming] Cold Frames vs Greenhouse

Brenton Johnson BHJohnson at gp.usbr.gov
Wed Nov 28 08:53:17 EST 2007

I am currently looking at purchasing a cold frame and/or greenhouse
structure primarily for use in producing transplants.  I would like to
be able to purchase both but we don't have the money.  I would like
input from the group what manufacturers they would recommend and also
would like opinions on what would met my needs the best.  Our 20 acre
vegetable farm is located in Austin, TX, Zone 8b, and we grow year round
on about 6-7 acres at a time in diversified vegetables for our CSA. 

I am considering purchasing an Agra Tech, In 20X96 foot cold frame with
5' sides and purlins every 6 feet.  On this structure I would use single
wall poly, roll up sides and 30% shade cloth for the summer.  I am not
sure if the 8'6" of 9'6" height would be better.  I was considering
starting with this to start spring and fall transplants as well as
possibly in ground use in the future.  Seems like the cost of this was
around $2,500.  I was hoping maybe to get by with a hot-water heater or
used water bed mattresses for bottom heat to germinate the plants in the
cold frame.  In the past on freezing nights I have covered the plants
with heavy row cover and they have done fine.

Although I would like to have a greenhouse with double poly, heat, and
evaporation pad and ventilation fans the cost to operate is a factor. 
Any feed back is appreciated.

Brenton Johnson

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