My DIY indoor hothouse

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My DIY indoor hothouse

Postby Shanedudley » June 8th, 2018, 1:41 am

I thought it worth sharing my pictures of my latest diy project, being an indoor hothouse for my figs. Being based in Melbourne the figs go into hibernation mode over winter and I wanted to see how much growth could be achieved in a more controlled environment.

The hothouse which I keep in a spare bedroom was put together mostly from bits and pieces I had in my garage and is a cube of around 85cm high and wide. The walls are just scrap plywood, which I coated the inside with mylar for reflection and the outside with bubble wrap for insulation. The bottom of the hothouse is sealed/waterproofed using a couple of blue plastic sheets I picked up from Bunnings. I put a layer of small pebbles at the bottom of the hothouse to keep the plastic flat.

For lighting (and some heating) I was lucky to score a bank of four T5 fluorescent lights at a garage sale for $20 and added a couple of LED lights for the darker spots. The window is a just an old picture frame with a Perspex cover.

I have a small fan running off a USB connection for air circulation I bought from ebay for about $8. I also added a USB water mister that I also purchased from ebay for about $5, which I fill daily with a cup of water. Interestingly I never actually water the fig pots directly as they seem happy enough with just the mist. All the electrical items are on timers and I am running the lights from 9.00am to 11pm at night.

I have been running the indoor hothouse for about 3 weeks now and the figs love it. Heaps of new growth on all the plants and a couple of them are starting to throw out some aerial roots. I am also happy to report that there have been no water leaks to date.

The humidity in the hothouse is a constant 99% and the temp ranges from around 20c at night to 27c during the day.

It took me about 4 days on and off to build (I am only a weekend warrior handyman). I have made a few refinements and changes since I started. I still need to improve the air circulation and am looking at using a couple of old pc fans to address this. I would also like to see if I could raise the temp to about 35c and am toying with the idea of a heat bulb.

Next year I am looking at going high tech and building a more visually appealing unit by converting an old bar fridge.
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Re: My DIY indoor hothouse

Postby benbonsai » June 8th, 2018, 6:53 am

Do they get fresh air?
Slow and steady wins the race
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Re: My DIY indoor hothouse

Postby shibui » June 8th, 2018, 7:37 am

Not sure whether you have seen The Ficus Guy's post. Your new setup is remarkably similar to what he built to keep ficus indoors in Virginia USA. http://www.ausbonsai.com.au/forum/viewtopic.php?f=133&t=9569&hilit=indoor
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Re: My DIY indoor hothouse

Postby Matthew » June 8th, 2018, 7:42 am

Mine just go to sleep for 5 months. Exposed to temps -7 outside and minus -2 in the hothouse. My PJ and indian baynyan figs have adapted to this fine. My willowleafs. :whistle:
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Re: My DIY indoor hothouse

Postby Raging Bull » June 8th, 2018, 8:02 pm

Hi Shane,
Impressive little unit you've built there. When you build the next one have you thought of using a purple UV "grow light" as they don't see any sun? :cool:
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Re: My DIY indoor hothouse

Postby Muddy » June 8th, 2018, 9:52 pm

Nice little setup! I've wanted to play around with an automated greenhouse for a while.
Plants don't need UV light to photosynthesize. Cool White, Daylight or Full Spectrum fluorescent light is what you generally want unless you have flowering plants.
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Re: My DIY indoor hothouse

Postby MJL » June 9th, 2018, 9:06 am

Thanks for posting Shane - it constantly amazes me how our respective hobbies grab each of us enough to do stuff like this. It doesn't matter what the hobby - when it grabs you, it grabs you. I saw video of a model train enthusiast recently - he built an amazing model train layout under his kitchen! That is the only place he had available.

I would love a shade house or better a glass house outside, primarily for my orchids and also bonsai, but I am space restricted and I don't have the cash - something like this for example :tu: http://sproutwellgreenhouses.com.au/product/imperial-glass-4520-model/...

If I tried to build one inside I am pretty sure my beautiful wife of 23 years would walk out the door. Not ideal!
Tending bonsai teaches me patience.
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Re: My DIY indoor hothouse

Postby Shanedudley » June 10th, 2018, 6:30 pm

benbonsai wrote:Do they get fresh air?


At the moment the top is not fully sealed and i am running a small fan to circulate the air, so there is some access to fresh air but not enough so occasionally i open the top for an hour or so. I am waiting on the delivery of two small computer fans that run off USB's. I will cut a hole at the bottom of the hothouse and run an intake fan and them run an outtake fan at the top of the hothouse.
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Re: My DIY indoor hothouse

Postby Shanedudley » June 10th, 2018, 6:49 pm

Raging Bull wrote:Hi Shane,
Impressive little unit you've built there. When you build the next one have you thought of using a purple UV "grow light" as they don't see any sun? :cool:

For lighting i am running 4 x T5 Fluorescent grow lights and 2 x 28W Full Spectrum E27 led grow light bulbs that give out a purple light for the dark corners.
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