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Circularity

The Greenhouse from Hell

By January 23, 2023No Comments

Happy New Year and cheers to end of the winter holiday season but certainly not the cold, and with that back to the grind.

If you are laving in the northern hemisphere, winter is half way thru, thereby another month of new preparations and then we are back. We have a new obstacle: the VidaXL Broeikas (link to greenhouse) I had so much hoped would workout to start production by February, has to be taken down and replaced. This is my first experience with VidaXL products and I must say that they have unique products which you cannot find elsewhere but at the same time it is a big gamble with many of their apparently cheap products, which do not have reviews. At the same time, I saw the same greenhouse sold in different countries in Europe via different retailers so figured people should be having success. Come to find out it is much more complicated and unreliable.

The order alone was a problem which I was able to resolve by arranging the correct missing parts to be sent twice. So with a bit of patience, I was able to get to get all the correct parts for my extended greenhouse last fall. They definitely do not make the building process easy. The manual is obscure and foreign for the typical Ikea customer home builder. In addition, all aluminum parts (the entire structure is made from this) are thickly and annoying wrapped layer after layer in plastic wrap. Also, the parts are damaged, some are hard to distinguish because the labels are missing or the part is mislabeled. The aluminum parts themselves are very weak and easily bendable. In the end, I built the entire structure, with the plastic “window” panels, staked it the ground but it was still very flimsy. The panels flew off with a few wind storms and ended up damaging all my furniture (YouTube).

The greenhouse also doesn’t seal well. I added silicone several times to seal all the gaps but unfortunately, water kept dripping. Also the gap between the panels and aluminum had to be sealed with tape. Of course, this made it even more difficult to insulate, which I tried with bubble wrap without prevail. In addition, the humidity has been at 99% due to the high amount of condensation, made worse by the hollow panels (see picture below). The material is simply to thin, flimsy, poor quality and design that seems only practical as a concept.

On the good side, I have been speaking with a friend about building a greenhouse or shed from scratch as he has experience with various designs. Unfortunately, this needs more time for us to plan the right design together. Therefore, I will also research a few prefab structure designs and compare the pros and cons in due time.

I am still eager to make the new site at the new EYM Base Camp a reality. My plan is to combine both the electricity I need to grow microgreens within an indoor area (currently temperatures are below 0C). This needs a bit of better planning, improved materials, and time. I will also display the plans for the solar array that I have been using. In addition, the front will have several grow beds to grow some of the microgreens to their mature counterparts. I think this will be an amazing success in the coming months, which I hope to share with the community.

I wish this could all be done sooner but just like in life, we must confront what is in front of us first. Having a long-term location that is affordable and complementary to the sustainability of the food chain is very difficult in this part of the world (i.e. Noord Holland, The Netherlands). There, of course, needs to be a global awareness, funding and aiding to continue shifting our food supply towards a better balance between us and nature.

Tom

Tom

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