Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Hi ARG, I've tried all the irigation methods out there.  The best results by far for me (australian climate - water supply restricted, very hot summers) have come from flood and drain.  I use a very simple control system made from an ornamental pond pump and a digital timer.  The pump turns on and fills the grow beds to the level of an overflow.  Then after 30 minutes or whatever the pump turns off and the water drains back out through the pump.  Very cheap and very robust.

If you keep fish in your supply tank you get free symbiotic water cleaning and plant fertilization too.

With sufficient water you can even out day-night temperature swings to avoid heating and cooling.  You can heat the water rather than the air in the greenhouse and thus reduce losses from the glazing (because you keep the roots warm but let the leaves cool down).  watering the roots rather than top watering of course reduces fungal problems.

Then I have a simple wax piston type vent opener for super hot days.

This system has been running almost maintenance free for 5 years (the inlet occasionally gets roots in it).

Spending more on glazing insulation (adding an extra layer of plastic film on the inside, or using triple rather than double wall PC) is typically better value than spending more on the control system.

by njh on Thu Mar 8th, 2012 at 09:31:37 AM EST
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