My blogging hiatus continues due to all of my free time going towards our house addition. The addition was bricked a couple of weeks ago and it turns out that I ordered entirely too much brick. Apparently that is difficult to do, so I have a hidden talent. If you ever need someone to over estimate the number of bricks you need for a project, give me a call! Anyway, I had our brick layer come back this week and use some of the extra bricks, to brick the greenhouse. Check it out:
The above picture was taken just after finishing the greenhouse, in that brief moment before all the plants went running inside.
Pretty nice, huh? It’s just a little sad to see my nice cinder blocks covered up. But now the greenhouse perfectly matches the house and looks a little more official.
And here’s a photo of our addition, all finished on the outside. It’s getting close to being finished on the inside, as well.
Last year for Christmas my parents-in-law gave me an unusual gift: a mixing bowl. I feigned gratitude until I opened my next gift: a box of bolts. My mother-in-law was snickering, telling me that they went together. Okay…
Next gift? Directions for building a potting bench! Ah, now it makes sense. My father-in-law told me he had bought the lumber and would deliver it to my house shortly. They explained that the mixing bowl was for mixing my various soil ingredients and that I could cut a hole in the table top (if I wished) to hold the bowl recessed from the surface.
So, for the last 6 months or so I’ve had some really nice lumber piled up on the side of the house, and our picnic table has been covered in my plants so Christie hasn’t been able to enjoy her lunch breaks outside like she likes to do. I had a free weekend a couple of weeks ago, so I pulled out the circular saw and went to work. Just a couple of hours into it, I had something resembling the components of a bunk bed. Another day of work and I had a very nice looking potting bench!
It fits very nicely along the wall of my greenhouse, right next to the door. It also fits nicely under the eave of the house, where it gets a little more protection from the elements.
Now I have it loaded down with plants, leaving just enough room for repotting a plant or two on the work surface. The lower shelf holds my bags of potting soil and extra pots.
I plan to stain it soon to protect the wood from long-term weathering.
I actually moved the plants into the greenhouse nearly a week ago, but I am just now getting to posting pictures of the interior with the plants moved in.
I bought three wonderful shelving units from Aldi (discount grocery store) for a sale price that is less than half their normal going price. They come with 5 shelves each and I only need 3-4 shelves for each unit, since I have to allow room for the height of the plants. That left me with extra shelves, which I used to combine two units out of three kits! My remaining kit is on the opposite wall.
I configured the heights of the shelves to allow for special plants that have trellises attached or are taller and need more head room.
Then I spent a good deal of time on Friday and Saturday of last week, moving all my plants from the garage or inside the house into their new home in the greenhouse.
I still have quite a bit of rearranging to do and have not made the best use of my space. There are still some shelves that are empty, while there are a couple of plants sitting on the floor.
I’m sure I will be moving plants around quite a bit until I feel that everything is settled in place.
I also plan to hang a metal rod (which I have on hand) under the house eave, which will allow me to hang some hanging baskets in my greenhouse. I might also put some hooks on some of the rafters, to allow me to hang more plants over time. But we’ll just see what types of plants I end up acquiring in the future!
We are certainly feeling Fall here in Oklahoma. A couple of cool fronts have sweeped through over the last week, moving the overnight lows into the 40s.
After getting the greenhouse roof in place and the door hung, I moved all of my plants into the greenhouse on Saturday and they spent their first night in their new home Saturday night, with an overnight low of 40 F. My greenhouse stayed just below 60, with the heater kicking on and off during the night. The next day I adjusted the thermostat to keep the greenhouse a little warmer, and the following night the temperature dropped to just about 53 and the heater kept the greenhouse between 61 and 62 all night. Over the last two nights the heater has not had to come on and the greenhouse has stayed about 3 or 4 degrees warmer than the overnight low.
The plot above shows a sawtooth pattern when the heater is kicking on and off. You can see the night when my heater came on 12 different times over a 9 hour period. The following two nights the temperature gradually decreased, but never low enough to trigger the heater.
I should state, that I am still not finished with the greenhouse. The soffits are still open, so I have simply stuffed a couple towels in the gaping holes to keep air from leaking out of the eaves for the time being. I should get the soffits attached later this week.
Also, I just finished the trim around the door and put weather stripping in place on Monday, which probably helped the greenhouse stay warmer over the last two nights.
I still haven’t had a big test with a freeze outside, but I feel pretty confident now that with the soffits in place, my heater will keep the interior right around 60 degrees, which will make my plants very happy.
Stay tuned for pictures of my finishing touches and the plants in place!
The greenhouse is coming along. Unfortunately the cold weather came before I finished, so Christie and I spent about an hour last Friday night, hauling all of my plants into the garage.
The final component (besides the details) to the greenhouse construction is the fastening of the walls and roof. The material I have chosen to use is triple-wall polycarbonate panels. These panels come in 6′ by 24′ sheets. Yes, you read that right: twenty-four feet long. The double-wall polycarbonate comes in much more manageable sizes because it is more commonly used. The triple-wall is generally delivered in big trucks to the site of the greenhouse and assembled by a crew. It’s not commonly used for hobby greenhouses the size of mine. When we picked up the panels at the greenhouse supply store in Oklahoma City, we had to take a circular saw with us and cut the polycarbonate on site so that it would fit in our trailer.
Then I made the mistake of unloading the polycarbonate in the backyard and letting it sit in the rain for a week. The rain doesn’t hurt the polycarbonate, but I had not capped off the ends and prepared them for hanging, so the walls filled with water. The water is not easy to remove, let me add.
We had to use a combination of hair dryer, leaf blower, heater and dehumidifier to remove the moisture in the walls.
Next we had to do the normal preparation for hanging the panels. Before a panel is hung, you must first cap off the top of the panel with aluminum tape and then a u-shaped bracket of polycarbonate. The bottom of the panel is capped off with porous tape (to allow condensation draining) and then another u-shaped bracket.
After a couple of hours of work on both Saturday and Sunday, we had hung all of the walls and only had the roof left. By that time we were pretty proficient in terms of taping and capping the panels. The only difficulty with the roof was being able to reach over to screw the panels into the rafters.
There is still plenty of work to do in order for my greenhouse to be plant ready: caulking, finish the door installation, attach the soffits (which are currently open), stain any remaining unfinished wood.
In my next greenhouse update, I’ll take you inside to see the shelves that I have purchased!