Gardening

Raising the Greenhouse

Spring is coming, even if most think of January as the depth of winter.

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Here in the PNW, even with a “modified Artic blast” freezing us periodically over the past month (it has flipped between chilly and blue skies/to rain and fog to blue skies and warm), the trees and shrubs are showing signs of coming alive. All my trees and shrubs have buds on them.

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And my seed orders trickle in, this one is from Baker Creek Seeds, and yes, white and yellow strawberries are going in. And Quinoa 😉 Go big, or don’t garden!

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It isn’t often I flip through a magazine, see an ad for a book and run to Amazon to order it. This one I did….as soon as I saw the current issue of Urban Farm Magazine, I saw an ad for Urban Farm Projects: Making the Most of Your Money, Space and Stuff, published by the magazine.

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New toys awaiting Spring, to be hung: A Ladybug House, a Mason Bee House, and a Bat Shelter.

So in all these projects, in the back of my mind, the greenhouse awaited. In a few years I would like a permanent building, one that I can be proud of. But knowing that I only have so much time and resources, I opted for a cheap(er) alternative to get through, while I put my gardening money into more raised beds – and getting a shed built (which is way more important! Kirk would like his garage back at some point….). And my Mother In-Law even bought me the Gardman 7622 Walk-In Greenhouse with Shelving for a holiday gift! How nice!

Finally, after a long dig, we got the majority of an old evergreen tree stump out. There was a bit left, but it was below the level, so I just covered it up. I packed the soil down firmly, and let it sit for a few days, to ensure it was truly packed down.

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Then a layer of yard fabric. Once to ensure no weeds, but also to prevent a mud pit from happening.

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Working on the frame of the greenhouse. To ensure it was reasonably straight/level, I constructed it on our deck. And yes, it was very foggy that day!

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Once I had the frame I moved it to the site. The frame itself is very light and easy to move (though having a helper makes it quicker!) I had spare 16×16″ paver stones, so I put 3 inside for steps to stand on, and 3 in front. I used the included stakes this house has, to “hold”  it down (staking). Personally, they don’t do a lot, but I figured I might as well use them.

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I picked up 10 .5 cf bags of river rock in 3/8″ size. I filled in and around the greenhouse with it. Something I had pondered after reading reviews was how light the greenhouse is. Which I knew going into, and so I over engineered it. I figure this will be a permanent spot, so I wanted it to look nice – but also the gravel has two other jobs: One is for drainage, but the other is to weight it down. The paver stones are 2″ high, so I filled the rock that high. This ensured the bottom frame of the house was buried. I tamped the rocks down, smoothing them. Be sure to check a day later for any more smoothing out, it will shift a bit. Then I raked back in the bark mulch, that had been there, to make it look nice.

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With portable greenhouses, the shelves are not of the highest quality. They are slightly bent, and rest on the shelves. If you put too much weight on them, you risk them going “Oopsies” and everything falls off. So use zip ties. Then your shelves will be on securely. I trimmed the ends after I took the photo.

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After finishing my river rock, and making sure it all looked good, I let it sit for a day. Then I came and put the cover over it, taking my time. Be sure to use any included cords for staking out properly. The greenhouse is light, you don’t want it to blow away! And having said that, the real issue with wind is with the cover, not the frame – think of it like an umbrella. So stake it taught and keep the door closed in bad weather. PS: I also added later 4 large rocks to each of the long sides. Again, never hurts to make sure it won’t suffer wind.

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Since my greenhouse has only set of shelving (some have rows on both sides), I needed work space to work on. I saw a potting station at a local chain, Fred Meyer, that was $37. Which for this was a bargain. I didn’t need a huge area!

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It quickly assembled and fit in perfectly. I could even fit in a second one if I wanted to……

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Not missing a chance to stabilize the greenhouse frame, I zip tied the legs of the potting table to it as well.

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I am 5’4″-ish and it comes to my waist. The top is galvanized steel. A place to pot, storage space under it!

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Open for business!

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I put a thermometer inside to watch the temps. It was 78* at 1 pm on Tuesday. 80* on Monday! Hot and humid to say the least…..

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Which then led me to move my other mini house, to be closer. It had been in an awkward spot, that didn’t make it convenient for me to use it. It is lashed to the fence with D rings that are on the back. It has survived some really good winter storms, and still looks great. I have a feeling it will hold many of my starter seeds this spring. And as well, another new garden bed is in front. It was a productive week!

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And for those dreaming of a greenhouse?

Click to Enlarge Image

Greenhouse Dreams

Greenhouse Dreams
Infographic by CustomMade

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