A Greenhouse for Regular Gardeners
Last year I tried a greenhouse for the first time, to get my seeds started early. My dad and I built it out of pvc pipe, rolls of plastic, and Gorilla Tape. It was 6'x6' with a peaked roof, and I ran a space heater and grow lights into it. I built a shelf unit with the shelves lipped and lined with plastic so that the hundred or so seed pots (10 oz red Solo cups with a hole drilled in the bottom) could self water from the trough. It worked ok, but it was really bigger than I need for my garden, and by the time spring was going good, it was starting to collapse from the tape losing adhesive.
This year, my wife bought me the Grow It Wooden Growhouse from Amazon.
It's 3'7" high, 2'6" wide, and 1'10" deep with two slatted wood shelves, and polycarbonate sides, back, doors and top. The top is hinged and has braces to keep it open, and the two doors swing open. It was VERY easy to put together, taking me just under an hour (it would have been even quicker if I followed the directions from the get go). My only tool was a phillips head screw driver in my drill. It seems pretty sturdy, but is lightweight enough for one person to easily move around. It is plenty big for my needs, and if my garden gets bigger next year, I can always get a second one for more capacity. It's pretty attractive, and would be fine in a hoity-toity subdivision, or out here on the homestead.
The wood is stained to look like redwood, but I'm sure is a light pine or poplar or something. That is probably about the only negative I see. I don't think it will hold up to the elements for year after year. I plan to hit it with a weather-repellent coating of Minwax or something like that, and it will come in the shed after seed starting season. With those two small efforts, it ought to last for years.
I also am making a couple of adjustments to it to fit my particular needs. I'm going to have it against a chain link fence, so I'm screwing in a couple of hooks on the top rear corners so I can secure it to the fence and it won't blow over. The doors have swiveled pieces at the top and middle to keep them closed. I'm adding one to the bottom to keep it from gaping there. Finally, I'm going to take a piece of canvas the size of the lid. I'll staple one edge to the rear of the lid frame, and the other edge to a dowel rod so it can be easily rolled up and out. It will be used to cover the top when it is a cold, clear night. Listening to Paul Wheaten one time on The Survival Podcast, he spoke about the need to cover a greenhouse under those conditions. You figure that the upper atmosphere is bitterly cold, and if there is no cloud cover to insulate the ground, then any head built up in the grow house during the day will rapidly escape. I'm also going to paint a couple of cinder blocks black and put them in the bottom to serve as a heat sink.
Next weekend, it will be time to get my seeds started for the season.