Greenhouse Project: A lesson in reuse, upcycling, and gardening in the northern zone

27 Jun

We mentioned a while back that we built a greenhouse this year.  We’ve had a blast this summer watching our hot-climate plants grow and flourish in the sun-filled, sweltering space beside our house, and we look forward to extending our growing season into the fall.  Here’s a little synopsis of how we built it and what we’ll be using it for.

DSCN1165-1We obtained the walls in the early spring (when the snow was still 2 feet deep) from our good friends who disassembled their screen porch as they prepared for an addition on their house.  We gladly took the walls and then waited impatiently for another month and a half before the snow finally disappeared from the land.  After that, it was pretty simple.  I formed a perimeter base from railroad ties and then set the walls onto the railroad ties.  We created a lean-to design by using the gable end of the former porch, split down the middle, so that each half of the gable wall could form the end-walls of the lean-to.  I secured the walls, nailed cross-braces, and built the roof rafters using lumber cut at another friend’s sawmill, deep in the woods along Pelican Lake.

DSCN1215I spent a little time researching options for greenhouse siding, weighing the benefits of plastic, corrugated plastic sheets, and glass.  I finally decided on high-quality greenhouse plastic ordered through Farm Tek Supply, and once it arrived I was able to attach it rather easily.  I won’t bore you with the details, but note that the front wall of plastic is fastened securely with construction staples, while the end walls are secured with removable clips so that I can roll up the plastic like drapes when I want breezes and fresh air to blow through the greenhouse.

DSCN1166-1The sign above the door is a beautiful cedar board cut by the sawmill, but its particular shape allowed the saw to leave a few natural edges and waves.  The painting is compliments of Grandma Barb working patiently alongside our two artistic girlies.  We love it!

DSCN1216The greenhouse sits on the south-facing wall of our garage, and its sun exposure is limited early in the day by that lovely oak tree perched beside it.  This is actually a benefit on hot days as the shade helps regulate the excessive heat, and in the fall, when the leaves fade, the greenhouse will be enjoying every drop of sun the day can give.  One of our aspirations for the greenhouse is that it extends our growing season into October.  Many of our plants will be in pots this summer with the hope that when the frost hits (and it hits quick here, usually early-mid September) we can pull the tomatoes and peppers into the greenhouse for a few more weeks of fresh produce.  We’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

2 Responses to “Greenhouse Project: A lesson in reuse, upcycling, and gardening in the northern zone”

  1. Paul Belcher June 27, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    I love how the girls call the green house “the White House”!

  2. Tonia (@IttyBittyImpact) July 11, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

    AWESOME, you guys!!!

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