Oh, boy! I’m excited!
We have finally built that greenhouse, on the concrete pad that was poured ‘way back here.
We were gifted 25 plates of tempered glass from a condo balcony remodel that was headed for the landfill. Some of them were used in our balcony railings and one was broken.
Sixteen odd-sized pieces remain. WWOOFer Tim re-measured them, and we finally had the good sense to write the measurements right on the glass.
Then we designed the greenhouse to fit the available glass.
I found a solid wood door at the landfill or curbside, I don’t remember which. It had a 16″ saw-cut down one side and was missing its window glass. We patched the saw-cut
and got 13 pieces of glass cut. Painted it in our house’s accent colour (“anthracite”, custom-mixed to match our window frames.)
(D was concerned that the greenhouse might end up looking like a hippy hobbit house. Scroll down to see if it does!)
Here’s a quickie photo-essay of the stages:
Framing first wall:
Raising first wall:
Sheathing inside wall with plywood to strengthen and stabilize. We get a lot of wind here, almost every day.
Rafters and skylight frames built.
Ela and Francois and I painted all the parts visible from inside:
We ordered a steel peak cap in the same colour as the roof on This Green House.
D installed the skylights on frames he built atop the rafters. It was a job that required an assistant.
In an effort to prevent leaks and movement, D used exterior silicone between the glass and the frame. It’s white in this picture, before it cured.
Interestingly, when the sun shone down in the heat of the summer, one plate of glass started sliding down with the softened silicone, so D nailed little blocks of cedar below the glass to provide stops.
Next, wall shingles to match the house. Because we were doing so few, compared with the 12,000 or so we painted for the house (our technique, here), we took turns hand-staining them.
The rest of the glass was installed in fussy-to-figure-and-build window frames. D installed three automatic window openers I purchased from Lee Valley Tools. They work hydraulically based on temperature – when the temperature gets too hot, they open to provide cooling/air.
The door installed:
D applied a scratch coat around the bottom 36″ of the building.
I applied stone, leftovers from the house construction (how-to’s here):
And we applied the “pointing” (or grouting, how-to’s here):
D built interior shelves to my specs, using scrap cedar we had lying around:
I planted seedlings,tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, basil:
I was disappointed in the harvest – it just seemed that my pampered plants should have done much better in their special greenhouse. There were plenty of pests that got in (including tomato hornworm), and my special organic soil mix lacked calcium, I think, so the tomatoes suffered from Blossom End Rot. It sure is a learning experience!
Next year, I plan to use beds instead of pots. Will let you know on This Green Life (this blog’s daughter blog) how my continuing experiments pan out.
On the advice of a gardener friend, I have also planted lilacs, which will leaf out in the hot summer to shade the greenhouse, but allow the full sun to heat the GH in the winter when the leaves are gone.
So this is how my little (8 x 10) greenhouse looks today:
Cost breakdown (estimated):
Concrete pad – $400
Lumber – $150
Shingles – $75
Roof cap – $70
Paint – $100
Total: ~ $800
For all the scavenged and cheap materials and labour, I don’t think it looks at all like a hippy hobbit house. What do you think?
Savvy Southern Style, DIY By Design, Stone Cottage Adventures, Lamberts Lately