Building a Greenhouse

As per a reader request, I am sharing with you the cliffs notes version of how my greenhouse came together (and by cliffs notes, I mean the longest post, ever!).

I can’t take the credit, the wonderful man in my life cooked up this idea and put the thing in the air. BUT – I helped (when he allowed me) and can share some details of the project…to the best of my memory.

Here’s a rough list of what we used:
2 x 4’s
Chicken wire
Reinforced Plastic
Tools (drill, hammer, etc.)

What we did was simple (in theory). Build 4 walls that connect together with screws, and a lid.

The walls were built just the same as one would frame walls for a house. I’m not sure of all the logistics of this piece but there are LOTS of videos on You Tube on this process.

Don’t forget to include a door on one of your walls. Otherwise, you will have to crawl in through the top and that can only prove dangerous.

After each wall was built it was then wrapped (literally, wrapped. The edges of the plastic are attached inside the greenhouse) with reinforced plastic. Here’s an up close view of the plastic:

This piece is important if you live in an area where hail happens, which I do. If hail isn’t a concern of yours you should 1) consider yourself very lucky and 2) opt for a plastic that is thick but not necessarily reinforced with thread.

After each of the walls were built, and the plastic was attached (with staples…lots, and lots of staples) they were screwed all together. We also stuck a billion staples along the studs of the walls, on the outside of the GH.

Because I also live in an area where 70 mph winds aren’t uncommon, each of the walls is secured to the ground with at least 2 pieces of Rebar per wall. Pounded into the ground (through the bottom of the wall frame – obviously we pre-drilled the holes) and bent over at the top. Each piece of rebar is about 3 feet long.

Next, the top (I call it ‘Lid’) was made. Follow the same idea as framing the walls, except this time make 2 ‘walls’. About a third of my lid can be opened (that would be your small wall), attached to the other 3/4 with hinges (your larger wall).

Attach chicken wire to the entire lid first, followed by the plastic (same as was done on the walls).

If you live in an area void of hail you can skip the chicken wire part. Last year this proved to be an extremely important feature of the GH as we had a late hail storm in August and I ended up one of the very few people in town with tomatoes that summer.

In this picture you can see how a portion of the lid can be propped open:

Being able to vent the GH is vital as it tends to get very hot in there during the day, while it’s still freezing at night time.

Once you pass the ‘magic date’ for your area, when frost at night is no longer a threat, you can (and should) remove the plastic from the lid of the GH.

Removal of the plastic lid is necessary for two reasons. 1) it gets WAAYYY too hot in there during the summer with the plastic on, and 2) you need the bugs to get in there and do their thing pollinating your plants. No pollination = no veggies.

I leave the plastic around the walls all summer long.

When fall approaches you can then put your plastic back on the top, stick a heater inside the GH, and extend your growing season by a month or so (maybe longer, depending on where you live).

That’s basically it.

Some optional features would include:
-The gutter which feeds into the barrel inside the GH (you can see this in the above picture). Once the plastic comes off the top the gutter is irrelevant.

-Shelves inside. I have just this one small shelf in mine:

And, apparently a crowbar is a gardening tool now?? Were you aware of this? I wasn’t! Guess we’ve both learned something in this post!

Here are some other pictures of the GH, inside and out, to give a few more visuals:

You might have noticed each wall has a diagonal 2 x 4. Again, think 70 mph winds. I worried this thing wouldn’t stand up to the crazy weather we have around here and much to my surprise, it’s a rock! I couldn’t be more impressed with how well it has weathered the storms.

Obviously, you should build to your weather patterns. Some of what I had to do might be unnecessary in your area. (Dang that wind and hail!).

What I can promise you, though, is that if done right a greenhouse can extend your growing season. It can protect your plants from some of Mother Nature’s nastiest times AND people will drool over how magnificent your garden is.

I’m so proud of mine that I show it off every chance I get. And blog about it every opportunity that presents itself. AND  I will always find excitement and enjoyment in the miracles that happen in there.

Sometimes it’s the little things in life that make life worth living.

Happy Gardening!


One response to “Building a Greenhouse

  • Marian Tomberlin

    Thank you so much for the info and all the great photos! That’s a genius plan so kudos to your man. We greatly appreciate the information and hopefully will put it to good use.

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