Summer Greenhouse

Everything about planning, building, and maintaining a greenhouse in the North.

Greenhouse Building – Part 4 – Raised Beds

Once the main structure was done, I needed space to grow things.  Although many greenhouses grow everything in pots and flats on top of raised tables, my intention is to use raised beds that can directly benefit from the heatsink below, and also give plenty of uninhibited root space to things like broccoli.  I’m hoping it will also give me a much larger planting space, and make the greenhouse tending easier overall.

The design considerations were not huge for the raised beds, but if you are building some in your greenhouse there are a few things to think about.  I’ll discuss what I did and why, and hopefully touch on things that you may want to include in your planning process.

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Greenhouse Building – Part 3 – Installing Triple-wall Polycarbonate (plus tips)

As tempting as it would be to insulate every portion of the winter greenhouse to make sure the plants stay as warm as possible, they also need light to reach them.  And that means choosing a proper glazing material.

Unlike a summer greenhouse that has glazing on all areas, northern winter sun only comes from a limited south-facing zone.  Which means – “glazing goes here, but not everywhere”.  I see this as a WIN.  More insulation for the rest of the walls where glazing would not only be useless, but also a heat-losing thorn.

But I digress – this is a post about how to install the polycarbonate, NOT about insulation.

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Greenhouse Building – Part 2 – Foundation and Heatsink

Like all buildings, the first portion of the project once I knew what I was going to be building was to get the foundation going.

Without getting into details, getting the building permit for the greenhouse from the city, and pouring the foundation took…….considerably longer than I imagined.

Demolition of the old garage (yes, THAT poor garage-facsimile) was late April 2013, with snow still on the ground.  I was excited, and optimistic, ready to spend the entire summer slowly putting it all together.  It wasn’t until the end of August by the time I had a permit, and October 16 by the time the slab was poured.  Which meant – “Rush-like-crazy-cross your-fingers-and-hope-the-snow-waits”.  Continue reading

Greenhouse Building – Part 1 – Planning

I’d be lying if I said that planning the greenhouse was a snap.  It took a good bit of sitting, reading, thinking, coffee, chocolate, wine, scribble paper, scribble paper tossed for the cats, patience, and plain logic consideration for how it all needed to go together.

Being in an urban space, I’m limited.  Limited in how large I can make things, the codes I need to follow, and how easily machinery can get into the space to name a few.  The same issue I’m sure many urban dwellers face.  Having limited space also meant I had to plan carefully how to maximize every bit of space I had.  I did not want to have an “ugly” but functional end product.  I wanted to have something functional in summer, winter, spring, fall, and something that made the most of the sun, and the shade, and also gave me a pleasant space to socialize or just relax. Continue reading

Winter Greenhouse – The Inspiration

I have always had an interest in sustainability.  But if I’m honest with myself I suppose the root of my inspiration was very, very simple.

– Lettuce I was buying at the store tasted like water, and it got even worse in winter.
(We’re going to completely ignore the idea of pesticides and chemical residue at this point, it’s not really relevant to the post)

From this simple bit the inspiration grew until I HAD to have better.

Let’s go back a little further: Continue reading