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Building in Mud
New projects could face challenges
Building a greenhouse in Autumn will be tricky for both the grower and greenhouse builders. (Unless by some minor miracle), a build at this time of the year will possibly run into issues with the weather during the construction and invariably mud. I have been part of a build that had issues with mud in the months of May and June. The mud was deep enough to lose sight of your boots every 10 to 20 steps you took. The slowdown in productivity is huge and may add large amounts of costs and stress for growers. Unfortunately, greenhouse builders cannot be everywhere at once, so building during ‘ideal’ periods of the year is not always possible.
For the builders themselves, they have to be extra careful when constructing a greenhouse in poor weather conditions. The potential increase risk of accidents will naturally mean the builders will have to be vigilant to ensure their own safety and to protect the greenhouse from damage.
Once the builders have completed the task of building the greenhouse the internal fit out will begin. When dried, which may take a long period of time in the winter, the ground may need to be re-levelled. When mud or clay dries it is not easy to get the soil to a fine, sand like, particle size, you end up with lumps and bumps that somehow need to be broken up. Depending on what type of system you have, for example hanging gutters, some growers might not think it is important to have perfectly level floors. Most greenhouses will have internal drainage systems in the ground between each bay, so it is still important and should be as accurate as possible to remove any potential ponding areas. A dry greenhouse is a happy greenhouse.
Time equals money and this is when corners can be cut on the internal layout. It is good to have a dead line for when the crop needs to be planted as this is motivation but there are more chance of mistakes and imperfections when deadlines are set in concrete. Crop cycles are very important and therefore planting dates. However, I would consider talking with your nursery, check availability and only confirm your order when you are confident you will be ready for planting. This can really take the pressure off.
The internal layout of the greenhouse is just as important as the structure. You only have one first chance to get it right, fixing and retrofitting are an option but would incur unnecessary costs in the future.
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Article Written by Stefan Vogrincic, Consultant, Grower2Grower
Article Edited by Marie Vogrincic, Editor, Grower2Grower