Greenhouse vs Shed

khaiqha

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Hello everyone. I live in north Texas and I decided to build a permanent all year enclosure for my red foot tortoise. I tried housing indoors for winter and it's just not working out.

Do you guys think an insulated shed or greenhouse is better? I'm needing to maintain temp with winter nights that drop into the 30s, and keep a high humidity.
 

Yossarian

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Also bare in mind that glass greenhouses block UV light unless you pay a lot for Quartz glass. Greenhouse plastic isnt great either for UV but you can get some that are designed to allow UV through without too much extra cost.
 

Canadian Mojo

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A greenhouse is just as cold inside as it is outside. A shed can be insulated and is much easier and cheaper to heat.
At night.

During the day it will heat up and can be considerably warmer if it is sunny out. They lack any thermal inertia so if you want a nice even temperature you are constantly venting or heating. A well insulated shed is a much easier way to go.

An inflated double poly greenhouse might not be too bad to heat in Texas and venting can be an automated passive system (it automatically opens the window for you), but that's not going to be cheap.
 

khaiqha

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Thanks guys. I figured a shed would easier. My only concern is I would want to grow plants inside the shelter, I would feel bad if for 4 months he didn't have any growing plants.

Should I just do potted plants? UV bulbs or have a window for light? Most days are warm enough to let out for a little light.
 

Canadian Mojo

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UV doesn't go through glass. Plants use visible spectrum which is why you can grow things in a window. If your tort can get outside for a while it won't need a UV light -- especially since he is a RF which are adapted to lower light levels.

No windows means grow lights if you want plants. There are plenty of choices for those available as LEDS so they are cheap to operate, but they still cost money. OTOH a window costs money because you need to heat extra. It probably comes down to how much, and what, you want to grow. Low light tolerant plants will probably be fine sitting next a south facing window. Beyond that and you're probably going to want artificial lights for them.
 

jaizei

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A shed may be better for for places with seriously cold, snow heavy winters but I think you could make a greenhouse work well in North Texas. Look into GAHT/SHCS/climate batteries. It would be more upfront cost and work, but longer term it would have greater benefits and lower cost to operate. Tortoises being terrestrial, all the space above would be available for growing.

For greenhouses, the dropdead temp is around freezing so it'd have to be modified for tortoises to stay a bit warmer than that, but I don't think that's a problem in Texas.


 

Yvonne G

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A shed may be better for for places with seriously cold, snow heavy winters but I think you could make a greenhouse work well in North Texas. Look into GAHT/SHCS/climate batteries. It would be more upfront cost and work, but longer term it would have greater benefits and lower cost to operate. Tortoises being terrestrial, all the space above would be available for growing.

For greenhouses, the dropdead temp is around freezing so it'd have to be modified for tortoises to stay a bit warmer than that, but I don't think that's a problem in Texas.


Wow! I love that! If I had known about that before I built my greenhouses I would have done that.
 

khaiqha

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I took a quick look at their site. Single pane windows, corrugated plastic roof, and uninsulated walls. It will lose heat like a bastard the moment the sun goes down. Not a good choice if you're looking for energy efficiency.

Thanks! I know so little about carpentry, etc. I thought I was ready for a tortoise but since getting one I'm like man, I shoulda studied gardening and construction too.
 

Canadian Mojo

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Thanks! I know so little about carpentry, etc. I thought I was ready for a tortoise but since getting one I'm like man, I shoulda studied gardening and construction too.
Gardening is pretty easy -- green side up and you're good to go.

Seriously though, if you can research gardening can be pretty easy. You simply figure out what plants are adapted to your local conditions (and are tortoise safe in this case). Then you pull out all the problem children that will require way too much attention because they are too aggressive, prone to bugs, thorny, or whatever. From there you decide what you want in the garden.

I would suggest that maybe you should see if you can find a backyard gardening and greenhouse forum with a good contingent of Texan members and ask them what they think. At the end of the day you just want to keep the thing at about 85F year round (summer means keeping it cool) and they should be able to tell you what that would require. Growing a tortoise instead of tomatoes really doesn't enter into that part of the equation. If it seems like you're not going to get around the cold nights problem, maybe a heated night box is the answer if you can reasonably expect to let him out every day.
 
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