Building A Greenhouse

building a greenhouse

The pressure treated base, with two of the walls built and held temporarily by 2 angled boards.

The greenhouse is finally finished, and we are delighted with how it turned out! It all began a couple of months ago when Wes placed an order for a greenhouse kit, thinking this time around we’d “cheat” making it a little easier to build. Then after waiting for quite sometime and not hearing anything from the company, we inquired about the possible arrival date for the shipment. They emailed back saying they had canceled the order, stating they were sold out.

So we did what we’ve always done before, and built it ourselves from scratch. Wes drew up plans for it, we purchased the needed wood and after a bit of research, he decided to go with twin wall polycarbonate panels, since they last a long time, are very sturdy, and according to reviews, work great! Once they arrived, we began the project, starting with digging out the footers for it, and filling them with gravel. Atop that we used pressure treated 4×6’s as the base that were treated with log oil that prevents termites.  They say it’s okay for greenhouses, but we won’t be planting in the dirt just to be safe, plus it’s more convenient to use containers.

building a greenhouse2

All walls and roof trusses are now built and we’re installing the panels on the roof

The base is 12’ long and 7 ½’ wide and about 7′ tall at the peak.  We used the same panels on the sides and roof and they are mounted to the outside of the 2×4’s which aren’t pressure treated, using roofing screws with washers. Only the wood on the base and base plate was pressure treated, the rest of the wood isn’t.

building a greenhouse3

Then it was time to put the panels onto the sides

And before we knew it, they were all up! The next thing on the agenda was building a door, which we did using mainly 2×4’s and the polycarbonate panels. The bottom of all the panels were then buried so most of the time the sections stay steamed up. Thus far, we’ve noticed zero moisture inside on the wood, even with rain.  It does have condensation that drips when we open and close the tight fitting door. We consider this a “pre-planned, perfectly designed self-watering system” vs. a happy accident . . . Ha! It’s really not enough to water anything and we intend to install an air intake and fan next spring.

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All panels have been added and we built and installed a door using the same panels and mostly 2x4s

We added a roof vent, that works really great! It operates using a hinged opener that has an oil piston it, which opens and closes automatically as the temperature changes inside the greenhouse. As it gets warm inside and the oil heats up, thus expanding, which in turn opens the vent. Then as it cools down inside, it closes. It’s kinda fun to be peering out at the greenhouse at just the right time, when all of a sudden like magic, the roof vent slowly opens up!

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I love that it works without any electric!

Then we could finally move our remaining garden plants inside, since the temperatures were getting very cold at night. At this point however, we still had to dig out the floor inside. 

building a greenhouse4

Happy plants!

After researching geothermal properties, Wes decided it would be good to dig the dirt out, thus dropping the floor level about two foot inside. It was a lot of work and it felt like we were digging for days, but I must admit I really enjoyed working inside of there, where it was nice and toasty!

building a greenhouse6

Making progress!

I also love our earthen step just inside the door! It reminds me a little of the amazing cliff dwellings that I hope to see in person someday. Plus it was free, which makes it even better!

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The two garbage cans are buried even deeper and have water in them, creating natural warming inside

Finally a couple of days ago, we got the last shovel full of dirt removed from the inside! The sides were lined with food grade plastic bins and filled with dirt from a wonderful pile of composted chipped wood located beside the top of our driveway. Wes drove the van up there (since it’s a fairly long distance) loaded washtubs and buckets with the free black gold, drove it back and we unloaded and filled the planting bins with it. Then the veggies, herbs and flowers were planted into the divine dirt, and appear to be very happy in their lovely winter resort!

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The happy farmer

For the past few weeks, we have been raking and mulching leaves and using them to fill the container, on the left of the greenhouse, which was constructed out of old chicken wire. This, along with dirt mounded up at the bottom on all sides, adds a tremendous amount of insulation to it, and you can see the wonderful condensation from steam built up on the inside of the walls in the photo below. Wes even figured out the correct positioning and placement for the greenhouse, to absorb as much sunlight as possible throughout the day. So, I must admit that we’re both quite pleased with our new little greenhouse and have enjoyed eating ice cream inside of it in the afternoons, when it’s nice and toasty inside and like an escape to a Caribbean island!

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The leaf compost is almost as tall as Wes!

See our miniatures in person this week

Society of Animal Artists 2021 Exhibition
Wes and I each have a painting in this exhibition currently at the  The Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, located in Oradell, NJ, November 20, 2021 – January 16, 2022

 Exquisite Miniatures 

is currently at the beautiful Elliott Museum located in Stuart, FL, where it will be on display until December 15th.

Society of Animal Artists The Kingdom Show
November 26, 2021 – January 16, 2022 at  The Midland Center for the Arts, located in Midland, MI. Wes and I each have a painting in this exhibition

To see our available miniature paintings, visit our WEBSITE

Contact us by EMAIL here:

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

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