Building a GreenHouse – Part 1

I have wanted my own greenhouse for as long as I can recall. To me, greenhouses were places of peace and quiet and the bigger the better. At about age 14 or so I created a place in the basement crawlspace and raised plants on an old door under some lights. It was a truly wonderful but rather short experience. It was the start of my love of gardening, an addiction I have never recovered from. Every time I thought of getting myself my own greenhouse there was always something better and more urgent to spend the money on. So I made due with small portable greenhouses such as my pop up 6X6 tent (I found at a church bizaar for $5.00) and the little $40 four shelf one that fits so nicely on my deck.

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Spring was unusually cool though not record breaking. I used my greenhouses daytime but for many nights had to bring plants indoors for the nights. This picture was April 26, 2019 which shows how cold our spring often is.

This year I am finally doing it. A big wind came and knocked over my pop-up tent greenhouse and I lost some tomato plants. I was so upset. I reasoned, well, if I can’t get a real greenhouse when I am retired and no longer traveling, when am I ever going to get one? I started shopping. My dream come true one is made in British Columbia and is aluminum and polycarbonate. However, at a mere $4000 and arriving still needing to be put together, I decided I could do better trying something by myself.

After a lot of youtube video and pininterest research I had my plan. I started with this kit from Amazon. It is a basic 2X4 construction kit with end fitting thingies so you only need to cut straight edges. It looked like something I could manage myself. I then bought the lumber they said I would need. (The frame sits on treated wood which you can not see in the picture.) The frame will be covered by polycarbonate sheets that are no where near as strong as the plywood exterior the shed was designed for. To account for that, I am adding lots of extra screws. I am also planning extra cross pieces. I am going to build in my greenhouse shelving so the shelves add to the strength of the frame as well. (I got that idea from this video by Mike Montgomery of Modern Builds.) I made careful note of two major criticisms of Mike’s build in the comments. I have plans for ventilation and I used some two foot rebar spikes to avoid lack of ground anchoring. I even found polycarbonate sheets at 25% at our local Co-op home hardware. So far I have spent just under $800 for the supplies.

I also decided to leave the bottom open and not have a floor after seeing several videos where that ground space was used to grow cold hardy plants like carrots and lettuce in during early spring and late fall in places like Alaska. Since my home is way up near the 51st parallel and is as cold as Alaska, I’ll take whatever I can get in the way of season extensions.

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How is it going? The frame is taking shape and I am really pleased! It wasn’t hard so far and I have even been having fun! The directions on the kit are very clear and easy to follow and it works. I am measuring twice and cutting once . (So far.) This is what it looks like as of today. I am working at a slow pace doing an hour or two a day. It is my retirement hobby project after all and I don’t want to work too hard. I’ll keep updating as I go.

I added this picture of one my soft sided flower pots simply because I am so pleased with how pretty it looks. The pansies and marigolds I grew myself from seed. (Now off to get caught up on my weed whacking.)

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