Sunday, September 21, 2014

that little greenhouse project

I did promise pictures of my side endeavor ages ago, didn't I?  I'm trying to make good on my word in several areas lately, so let's get after it, shall we?

Walking from our driveway to the GINORMOUS MAN CAVE, you see a sidewalk leading to the edge of the building. 

Behold!  That, friends, is the perfectly situated location for my Barbie Dream Greenhouse (TM).  It's in full sun all day long in a grassy area and the metal building provides a break from the wind and reflects the sun's heat, too.  

You may recall that a greenhouse was my perk in the whole GINORMOUS MAN CAVE deal.  I've wanted one for quite some time.  After months of research, I settled on the RIGA IV, a German-designed 9X17 greenhouse constructed less for beauty and more for endurance in harsh weather.  It's also among the more affordable greenhouses. 

I ordered my kit last summer and it arrived only to sit in the shed's garage for the entire winter because last fall turned ugly fast and by the time I had help rounded up to put it together, snow covered the ground.  I had to wait ALL WINTER LONG, people, and look at my dream greenhouse in boxes.

The next issue I faced, once this thing got put together, was the raised beds.  I went round and round on this, because my greenhouse is on a concrete slab.  Wood would rot, you see.  Finally I settled on the affordable choice of stock tanks purchased from Fleet Farm.  I could fit 2 of these babies at a time in the back of the Momvan.  A few trips later, I had 5 tanks (2 feet deep by 2 feet wide and 5 feet long).  I bought some styrofoam insulation to rest them on and filled them with 6 inches of clean crushed gravel topped off with 18 inches of good composted soil from my favorite landscaping guy, Kirk.  These steel tanks are durable, rot-proof and will help retain the sun's heat in the winter.

Seed selection was my next hurdle.  Johnny's Selected Seeds has a nice variety of greenhouse seeds, so I placed an order.  Above you can see how my romaine lettuce has started well.  Also planted:  bibb lettuce, mixed greens, arugula, cucumbers, beets, carrots, onions and cherry tomatoes.

That there is the first cuke shoot.  Pretty cute, isn't it?

The day I planted I started a daily journal documenting what got planted when and how well it grows.  Ideally we'll be munching on freshly grown veggies year-round here.  If things go as well as I hope, we'll be able to sell some, too.  All the seeds are organic, heritage types and I'll have to study how quickly they grow to begin estimating the greenhouse's production capacity.  This is my first season, so I started conservatively.  Already I see I have room to plant more, it's a question of what and how.

I most definitely have room to plant starter seeds for summer gardening.  I love the built-in shelves running the length of the one side.  They're the perfect height for working and I haven't yet dragged over the rest of my garden tools and pots and such.  I also need to find a stool for sitting on and a heater for an auxiliary source in case the temps dip really low like they did last winter. 

Also cool: the self-opening vents in the roof.  On a hot day, they open all the way.  I have no idea how they work, but between them and the back window, which can lock in any position, things won't scorch. 
 In other garden news, things are mostly yellow and purple around here.

I've gotten behind in some parts of the yard work.  In another week or two I'll have to clean up this mess.  Meanwhile I just pick things when I feel like eating them.  As usual, there are too many damn tomatoes ripe exactly when school starts.

Now the cricket chirping gets punctuated by geese honking as they fly overhead.  Today was a bright, balmy day.  You have to cherish those in the fall because you never know if it will be the last.  Mr. T and I enjoyed a walk through the woods with Jax.  Already leaves cover parts of our trail and a bad storm the night before left some obstacles of fallen branches and puddles.

Mr. G buzzed by on the little four-wheeler, disrupting our peaceful stroll with his racket. 

That's the sum of things today outside.  I felt grateful for all of it--the flowers, the woods, the quiet and the noise.  Most especially I appreciated the space to escape into after spending most of my week inside Room 212 without a window.   I do miss the outdoors.  And not having to wear shoes all day.

Spill it, reader.  What made you grateful this weekend?


  1. Holy cow, your greenhouse is brilliant! Am I right that it will be mostly bug free? Another major advantage! This weekend, I am grateful for my children, while I pray for the safe return of Hannah Graham.

  2. I LOVE your greenhouse! Wow!

    This weekend I am grateful that I only got the 48 hour version of the stomach bug that my daughter brought home from her little germ-infested students. She had the 5 day version.

  3. My heart is bleeding purple KoolAid for you in regard to all those tomatoes. My plants are still alive, however, fruitless as ever. I"m jealous of your greenhouse. I love that those troughs came from Fleet Farm. That is where my brother in Sheboygan buys everything he owns. It is where he buys my birthday and Christmas gifts.

    Anyway, most happy for your greenhouse. Will love to see the greens as they progress. I'm thinking this must be a place of solace for you - to go to the greenhouse and forget the needs of your classrooms, your children, husband and home. Do you have a still in there?


  4. Dat ziet er heel mooi uit ,gefeliciteerd met deze prachtige aanwinst hier ga je veel plezier van hebben.

  5. WOW! That is fantastic. I just love it. What a perfect retreat. I can't wait to see all the goodies you grow next spring :-)

  6. A wonderful post for me to read on this the first day of fall. That greenhouse is a thing of beauty indeed. I am picturing it as a toasty, calm haven when fall winds blow.

    What made me grateful this weekend? Too many to list, but I will list this one: I was grateful for a quiet, restful weekend.

  7. Fabulous update. I love seeing your finished project.

    I've been thinking for years that those stock tanks would be great for planting, so I'm delighted to see them in action. Did you drill drainage holes in the bottoms?

  8. Oh! This is wonderful! I wish we were neighbors for so many reasons, not the least of which is to watch your garden grow.

    I was very grateful to go to a Padres game this weekend. The weather was fabulous and we were given really good seats at the last minute. I ate peanuts and drank Perrier! Being outside in the crowd, with my family sitting next to me, watching and participating in traditions rich with joy, was just heavenly.


  9. That is a gorgeous greenhouse! And the way those windows operate sounds wonderful. I'll be looking for pictures of glorious green veggies growing when we're both knee-deep in snow and the deep freeze :-)

    I am very grateful for swimming! I am finding swimming laps to be such a peaceful and introspective way to spend a half hour of my afternoon.

  10. awesome for the greenhouse and they say that Fleet Farm is the guy's mall, it works for girls too.

  11. Hurray! Your Barbie Dream Greenhouse kicks serious ass. I am so excited that it's up, and can't wait to hear more about your greenhouse adventures. YAY!

  12. Wow, just wow! What a wonderful space.

  13. Green Girl, I am green with envy! This is beautiful! You will find many evenings of relaxation playing in the dirt.

  14. I've always admired you, but perhaps never moreso than now. That greenhouse is a living dream. To be able to extend your growing season--year 'round?--has me green. Like your thumb.

  15. The greenhouse is amazing, I have been thinking about one myself (a very very tiny one) but I'm just not sure - my gardening is probably a phase! The tubs are perfect what an inspired idea. I hope the winter doesn't arrive too suddenly!

  16. WOW! I just got done saying I had Autumn Envy on your most recent post so you can just add a big old helping of Greenhouse Envy to that order. Can't wait to see how this progresses.

  17. Your greenhouse is amazing! I hope you do get fresh veggies all winter long. (And I'll have zucchini envy because ours did not do well this year for some reason. It was a poor summer here for zukes and yellow summer squash.)
    I was grateful for a restful weekend that has partially morphed into a restful Monday as well. Obviously I am less industrious, but even I recognize that stock tanks were a brilliant idea!


Spill it, reader.