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Building a Greenhouse from the Ground Up

Building a Greenhouse from the Ground Up

Greenhouse Version 2 Greenhouse Version 2

Just like any large project, we embarked on our journey of greenhouse construction not realizing what we were getting ourselves into.  I had done all the research and did all the price shopping and thought we were making the most informed decision that I knew how.  I was in for a bit of a surprise.

Greenhouse Version 1

Our first greenhouse building project (yes, there's more than one) started out as a kit from a discount store.  It took one weekend to put the foundation together and a second weekend to build the actual greenhouse.

Unfortunately, the greenhouse did not last a week standing.

I made the mistake of not looking for/requesting a wind rating.

We live in a very rural area and windstorms are very common.  Five days after we completed the greenhouse, the wind sheared the roof off and the project was ruined.

Well, except for the foundation.

Greenhouse Version 2

With the desert heating up as summer approaches, work was slow and tough.  Thankfully, family and neighbors lent a helping hand and the greenhouse was completed in five weekends.

This time around, we opted to design our own greenhouse structure.  With the carnage of Greenhouse Version 1 still fresh in our minds, our goal was to create a greenhouse that would laugh at the wind!

Taking our cues from solar greenhouse design, the north wall is solid and insulated, with glazing on the south wall, roof and half of the east/west walls.

Instead of the typical "A" framed roof line, we chose a lean-to, asymmetrical roof line to capture more of the sun's heat in the winter.

The walls are insulated with polystyrene and we wired in electrical for a ventilation fan and a small light.

After closing in the insulated wall, the polycarbonate went up.  After chasing polycarbonate around an acre lot and fishing them out of the neighbors' yard with Greenhouse Version 1, it was extremely important to me that the polycarbonate be VERY secure.  With Greenhouse Version 2, not a single glazing clip was used.  Every sheet of polycarbonate was secured by sandwiching it between the greenhouse frame and another wood frame, which was screwed in.

Greenhouse Version 1 had sliding doors, which blew open with the wind.  This time around, we chose a storm door.  It was surprisingly inexpensive and has proven to be very durable.

Next, the interior began to take shape, with the plumbing going in.  A hose bib (water spigot) was installed along with a misting system.  A hanger bar also went up along the rafters. 

After the shade cloth when up, it was time to move the plants in! 

We built a pergola on the north side of the greenhouse which will serve as a seating area as well as a place to allow plants to acclimate to the outdoors for the landscaping plants.  After painting the exterior, the it has a lot more aesthetic appeal.

The interior was also painted for better aesthetics, protection of the wood from moisture, and also the light color reflects more light into the growing area of the greenhouse. 

Greenhouse Version 2 has proven itself in a 60 mph windstorm, with not a scratch on her!

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