• Jen

Building a Greenhouse Part 2: The Final Touches

If you will remember from my last post (Building a Greenhouse Part 1) we did not install the hoops for the greenhouse just yet. I wanted to move everything into the greenhouse that we needed prior to putting up the hoops and plastic. I figured it would be easier to access.

In addition to the underlay we used for each side of the greenhouse I also insisted on a piece of plastic down the centre of the greenhouse to control the grass growth between the raised beds. My hope is eventually that we will have some gravel between the beds.


So, the next step was building the beds. We used 2x12s to build the beds. The 12 feet ensured that there was a lot of depth in the bed for root growth. This was awfully expensive due to the cost of wood in our area. We were able to fit 7 beds in the greenhouse. 1 was 8x4 feet, 1 was 6x4 ft and the other 5 beds were 4x4 feet. These size beds left 3 feet down the centre isle and two feet between each bed. We built the raised beds by butting them together and Jon used a piece of scrap wood to drill them together (see picture below). He wanted a nice clean look.



Once the beds were in, we moved in an

old red retro table that has been collecting dust in the basement for years. This table is going to be my potting and seed starting table.


The next step was purchasing a load of soil for filling the beds. This was a little difficult, it seems topsoil is rather scarce in our area too. Everyone is gardening! I think it is because of COVID-19. We got a beautiful mix of black and red topsoil delivered by dump truck. I took me 3 days and countless wheelbarrow loads to fill the beds. Before you say anything, due to the greenhouse being in a low laying area it would have been too difficult to get a truck close to the structure to dump. I also filled an old garbage can with soil and put it near the potting table. It took about half the load to fill the greenhouse. During this past year, our soil compacted in our other raised bed, so we wanted to add extra to that garden as well as filling in some holes, and low-lying areas around our lawn.

Once the greenhouse was full, Jon installed and enforced the Pex pipe into position. He used a metal strapping to secure the pipe to the base and overhead beams.

Now, it was time for the plastic. DO NOT DO PLASTIC ON A WINDY DAY!! We lucked out on our plastic; Jon managed to secure some scrap plastic from his employer. The plastic is a little heavier duty at 10ml. Our intention was to buy a 6 mil, but we could not find any in any hardware stores anyway. We learned later to go to some construction specialty stores for these kinds of supplies. We are hoping that the 10 mil will be better able to withstand our harsh winters.

The plastic was one of the hardest parts of the project. We stapled the plastic every 3 inches at the base down each length of the greenhouse. The ends were the most difficult to secure and we ended up with some unsightly folds in the plastic to tie it down.

After the plastic was installed and the doors attached, we added on the door hardware. Given the crazy winds we got a secure latch for the doors to ensure that they stay closed when we wanted them closed. And then we were done!!

Or so we thought.

A few days later we noticed water collecting in the top of the greenhouse. The weight of the water was bending the pex pipe out of position. We had to do some editing. We added 4 more pex pipe hoops to the structure to support the existing pipes (this was exceedingly difficult with the plastic already on). We also added a large PVC pipe down the centre of the greenhouse, it rests on some boards across the overhead beams. The PVC pipe makes the centre of the plastic come to a slight point and helps the water roll off. We have seen a vast improvement since adding this PVC pipe.

We love our greenhouse and we already have garlic and onions planted in it and growing. We have had frost for several weeks now but the peppermint plant I have potted in the greenhouse just got bit by frost last week.

Challenges:

Installing the Plastic: Upon looking at other greenhouses we determined that there may have been a better way to install the plastic. We may have been better off doing each end of the greenhouse separate from the hoop part of the greenhouse. This would have made more seamless lines, but we would have had to somehow create wood ends rather than just hoops ends in order to secure the plastic to the structure.

The collecting water was a challenge but one that was quite easily fixed, and it was cheaper because we had PVC pipe around the yard, we were able to stick together and use.


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