Creating a Life of Plenty

Evolution of a Garden: Adding a Greenhouse

The garden bed directly south of my kitchen has gone through several revisions.  When I bought the house, it was the rear entrance to the house with a concrete stoop, door and flower bed filled with purely ornamental plants leftover from the previous owner.

When I remodeled my kitchen, I removed that back entrance to change the orientation of a powder room to add more space to the kitchen.  That left the removal of the concrete stoop and the addition of some other ornamental plantings.

As I needed more growing space for vegetables and herbs and the potager expanded, I cleared this bed to grow annual and perennial herbs.  This was moderately successful, only hindered by the bishop’s weed nightmare left by the previous owner’s “professional” landscaping.

Now, the bed is going through another evolution with the addition of a small greenhouse.  Up until a couple of years ago, I primarily relied on nursery starts for my vegetables and flowers since I had little knowledge and no means or equipment to start many of my own seeds (early experiments were abject failures).  But as my knowledge grew, my garden began being populated by seedlings of my own.  We rigged my dining room with a rack, grow lights and many seed starting trappings.  This worked well, but it does take a toll on both my dining room and my energy bills.

Early last season, I bought a greenhouse kit with every intention of setting it up and using it, but I was sidelined by escalating chronic pain; this year’s garden blog suffered along with my greenhouse.  However, the pain is now under control and I have my partner living with me now so we decided to take advantage of the very mild winter we are having in the mid-west and get the greenhouse built so we can use it in the spring to start our seeds, it can then be used throughout the growing season to start fall and winter garden items, seedlings for our community garden plot and then next year it can be used for winter storage of herbs and more tender plants.

The Palram Harmony 6 ft. x 4 ft. Polycarbonate Greenhouse was the best choice for our space and our budget.  We have used much of our backyard space for growing and creating a bee, bird and wildlife haven so we needed to have a space conscious design.  In addition, I wanted something relatively affordable.  The greenhouse comes in around $500-600, making it a great entry level structural greenhouse.  The kit comes unassembled so the first step is sorting through the parts to ensure that we have the right parts in the right quantities so while Will reviewed the parts, I prepared the space.

Greenhouse 1

Days before we dug all of the plants out of that bed and began leveling the ground, I completed that work and added landscaping fabric to provide a base for pea gravel as well as leveling sand for inside the greenhouse.  Once the space was prepared, we began to assemble the base and the vertical supports.

Greenhouse 2 Next we added horizontal supports that caps the vertical and acts as a base for the angled roof. Once these are in place, we added the durable polycarbonate panels to the lower level before proceeding to the diagonal roof supports.

Greenhouse 3

The greenhouse comes with a ventilation window in the roof, that was the next piece to assemble and apply, then came the rest of the polycarbonate panels and their support hardware.

Greenhouse 4

Finally, we assembled and applied the door and downspouts.  Over the next few weeks (as long as the weather holds) we will finish the bed around the greenhouse with additional landscape edging and pea gravel.  We haven’t settled on flooring material yet, but that will need to be done before adding any racking inside the greenhouse.

The Palram company offers an accessory kit, but I am not really impressed by it so for the first year we are going to use a mix of metro shelving we already own until I can find a suitable set up that I like and can be used year after year.

I am really excited about this new addition to what is becoming quite a fine little homestead; it will really step up our use of seeds for growing vegetables, herbs, fruit and flowers!

Happy Gardening!

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