I love my greenhouse, but there are a few things that need improvement. Before I get into that, I am going to share some pictures from last March 2, 2015. Below are some pictures at various stages of construction. I thought it would be done easily in a day, but it took the better part of two days to do it. It is an 8 ft x 12 ft greenhouse, purchased from Costco, and I built it on a base of 4 x 4 pressure treated wood. The wood is secured to the ground with 1 ft, 1/2 inch rebar.
Last March was bit more chilly, and you can see the snow on the ground in the background.
Obviously it did not come with any benches or tables. My first tables were just plastic racks I also got from Costco. They worked fine at the time because of the angle of the sun in winter – it is slanted to the right of the picture, to the south. In the summer, the sun is directly overhead and therefore all the shelves are in shadows. These racks have found their proper place in my garage and cellar. You can see all the plants I had prepared on April 1, 2015. I was in such a rush prepping, building and learning, I had done nothing with the floor! It is still grass!
Last fall I finally built a proper bench, the one pictured below on the left wall. So far, so good with that one. And I put down mulch on the floor to kill the grass/weeds.
One issue with this particular model of greenhouse is it gets really hot. I know, it is supposed to, but it is not great when it gets over 100 deg F in there! Even with the doors open and the roof vents open, it is simply too hot in the summer. But even on warm days in Spring and Fall, it can get into the 90’s+, so I needed a fan to move the air and cool it down. I also needed a door/gate to keep my dog out (maybe critters, too). Last week I finally solved this problem with a gate and old fan from the house. I have it plugged into a controller that will turn it on when it goes a set temperature and turn it off when it isn’t. It works pretty well! For electricity, I just have a heavy-duty cord running from the hose plugged into a three-way splitter that also has a GFCI circuit. Maybe I will trench some steel and cable out some day, but not today. The greenhouse does not have a window/vent on the wall across from the opening, so I may look into creating one there if it is still getting too hot.
I also worked building another table for the greenhouse. It is ~3.5 ft x 2.5 ft x 2 ft tall, and can fit 8 of the standard 10×20 seed trays. The ground is not exactly level, but I worked it out. 🙂 That is what scrap wood is for.
This weekend I will building another one just like it. I will need some more space for the tomatoes, displayed at the end of the bench below. They will need to be transplanted from their 2 inch soil blocks into 6 inch square pots soon. That will take up more space, and my peppers and eggplant will need more root space soon, too.
If you closely, you will see the final addition – a heating mat for seedlings. It is black and is under the first four trays. It heats the roots of the plants 10-20 deg F above the ambient temperature, and will protect them if the evenings get too cool. Right now, it is not even plugged in as temperatures at night are in the 50’s. I also have a temperature controller to turn this off above a certain temperature. This was really key in getting the seedlings out of the house and into the natural light, but also protect those that are sensitive to cold (like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant).
In conclusion, I am pretty happy with what I have built and the equipment put in place to protect my young plants from the extremes of heat and cold!