Building the Ultimate Greenhouse

Congratulations on purchasing your new One Stop Gardens 10’ x 12’ Greenhouse!  Growing vegetables, cultivating flowers or starting your botany experiment is now close at hand but did you know that you can get even more out of your greenhouse with some extra time, materials and patience?  I recently came across a great article that highlights a few ways to expand your greenhouse in ways that you might not otherwise think of at http://hfgh10x12.blogspot.com/2007/08/this-is-greenhouse-we-bought-link-it.html.  Let’s take a look at how you can take your greenhouse to the next level with just a few adjustments.

The greenhouse kit comes with a steel base that you would generally just place on the ground.  The author of this article explains how to add some extra stability to your greenhouse in order to resist any weather conditions you may encounter like strong winds and heavy rain.  “The popular solution is to build a wooden foundation, anchor it into the ground somehow, and mount the steel base on top,” she says.  “Everyone finds their own way to do this, but most use at least 4 x 4 sized timbers for the base.”

 

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You’ll also want to add a couple of diagonal beams at each corner before mounting the greenhouse base itself.  With your greenhouse secured to a foundation, you can keep the base square and tight for years to come.  And once you’ve got the steel base mounted to the wooden foundation, just apply some clear silicone caulk between the wood and the base to keep rain water from seeping in.  In order to maintain the integrity of you greenhouse, you’ll need to plan for all types of unforeseen weather and environmental conditions.  You can choose from a few different caulks on Harbor Freight’s website too, from Painter’s Acrylic Latex Caulk to Acrylic Latex Caulk plus Silicone.

Now you’re ready to start putting up the walls of your greenhouse.  The article has a little tip to keep your frame and posts straight during construction as well.  “As you put the corner posts up, temporarily attach the [included] diagonal braces for stability.”  You’ll have to remove them before moving on to the next step but this way you can work with a bit more peace of mind and keep the aluminum frame straight and accurate until you add the vertical wall studs.  It’s a good idea to check that the base is still square before moving on and make any necessary adjustments.  It’s much easier to make minor adjustments as you go rather than a big one later.

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Once you’ve got the greenhouse frame constructed, there are a few things you can do to upgrade it for stability in windier areas.  The article advises to add horizontal braces at the tops of the walls to prevent the side walls from pulling away from each other.  You can do the same for the front and back walls.  Just attach a solid piece of material all the way across each wall to reinforce the structure and keep the elements from potentially warping the frame.  The author explains how you can also keep the steel base from flexing:  “This can be done by bolting small plates of some type to the top and bottom lip of the base at regular intervals, or by covering the inside of the base entirely with wood that’s also attached to the top and bottom lip of the base.”

 

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It’s also easy at this point to add insulation to your frame, she continues.  “We used ¾” thick expanded polystyrene (styrofoam) insulation, cut into strips about 4 ¼” wide. We also stuffed some foam sill insulation in there first to remove as many air pockets as possible.”  You can protect that insulation and further reinforce the base by attaching boards with screws to the top and bottom lips of the base.  As the author says, “Now the base is insulated and stiffened by the attached board…and it looks a little dressier, too.”

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Well, at this point, you’ve got yourself an extra strong frame of a greenhouse and you’re ready to move on to inserting the panels.  The author of the article sealed the ends of each panel with aluminum tape to help keep dirt, condensation and bugs out.  “I bought one roll of 1 ½” wide aluminum tape (not duct tape) and cut it into thirds, so I only have a small taped rim visible on the panels.  On the bottom edge, it’s apparently good to have small holes in the tape to allow moisture to escape. You can buy special breathable tape from greenhouse supply websites for this purpose, but others have mentioned using a large pin to poke holes in the tape in each chamber on the bottom edge of each panel.”

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How about weather stripping?  Well, the author has a suggestion for that as well.  “Instead of caulk, I used 3/16” thick closed cell foam weather stripping in each panel opening. Closed cell foam is waterproof so rain can’t soak in.”  The larger gaps on the tops and bottoms of each panel are also mentioned.  “I found some packages of ¾” wide weather stripping.  I used that, cutting each strip in half with scissors, so it was 3/8” wide. It worked fine and turned out to be a soft gray color that was hardly visible under the panels after installation.”

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Okay!  So now that you’ve gotten your greenhouse constructed and ready to withstand those heavy winds, you’re ready to add even more awesomeness!  That’s right, there’s still more you can do to enhance the greenhouse to make it more attractive and convenient.  The author added long benches to each side of her greenhouse along with several peninsula-style benches.  “Each long side bench is supported by two pressure-treated 4x4s, buried 24″ deep and set in concrete.  [Then] two horizontal Douglas Fir 4×4’s were clamped to either side of the two pressure treated posts. The horizontal 4×4’s were attached by using a 12″ long 3/8″ drill bit to drill a hole through all three 4×4’s. A length of 3/8″ all-threads rod was inserted in the hole and capped on each end with a washer and nut.”  This addition will provide plenty of shelving space plus ample free space underneath for tools, equipment and supplies.

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If you want to get really fancy, the author even added a sink to her greenhouse and explains how it can be used for added benefit.  “The sink drain isn’t connected to our house plumbing. It drains into a gravel pit we dug in the floor, and the soil beneath the gravel is the coarse sand of our yard. Another option for the future would be to route the drain water through the wall of the greenhouse and outdoors to water a planting bed.”

Still want more enhancements to your bodacious greenhouse?  The author of this article really decked hers out to include some pretty cool additions to improve functionality.  She added electrical outlets with plastic covers to keep out moisture, Aluminet shade cloth screen panels to keep temperatures down and even an exhaust fan as a way to let air out.  These are obviously more advanced enhancements but the possibilities are there for those willing to put in some extra work.  And for those hoping to use their greenhouse continuously, they can be a real help, as the author states, “Without this fan I wouldn’t be able to keep plants in the greenhouse year round…our summers would be far too hot. With this fan in place, as well as some additional small fans for HAF (Horizontal Air Flow) and generous amounts of shade cloth, I’ll have a fighting chance.”

As you can see, getting your Harbor Freight greenhouse built is only the beginning of your journey and you’re limited only by your imagination!  I don’t know about you but I would love to have benches, a sink, air conditioning and weather stripping in my little home garden.  For anyone who wants to get serious about their plants and flowers without spending serious money, this is the way to do it.

Start Seeding In Your Greenhouse!

Ah, Spring– I love it! It means I get to stoke up the barbecue, tinker outside, go to the range, wear my camo cargo shorts on weekends. The wife loves it ’cause she can get me to shovel bull manure (I wish that was a metaphor, folks).

Seriously, she loves her gardening, so that’s why I’m getting her a One Stop Gardens 10′ x 12′ Greenhouse for her birthday. At first I didn’t see the point of  a greenhouse. I mean, we live in California, right? Swimming pools, movie stars, oranges the size of heads. But then she (kinda) patiently explained it to me, and I, of course (kinda) patiently listened… the greenhouse is an awesome addition to the home for a number of reasons:

  1. Germination – The greenhouse absorbs the sun and has a warmer environment. You can control the temperature during cold weather months and start seeding herbs, veggies, fruit, etc., much earlier. And, when it gets hot outside, put a tarp over it to keep the temp down.
  2. Control bugs, birds, etc. – The bugs start coming out in March, and they go right for the seeds. So do the birds. Greenfly, whitefly and red spider mites are particularly pesty. With a greenhouse, you can keep them out.
  3. Extending your growing season – Whatever part of the country you’re in, you can squeeze out at least a few more months of gardening with your greenhouse– and in some parts (like California) you can do it year-round! Also, during mild and warmer months, your plant life will grow faster in the controlled environment.
  4. Grow plants and foods you otherwise can’t – With your own greenhouse, growing bananas or other tropical plants and fruits is suddenly an option!
  5. Hours of additional “green thumb therapy” – For those who find joy and peace dwelling in the dirt.

So, I guess having a greenhouse makes sense.  And if I get it before the end of March, I can have it for the low price of $549.99 online with this coupon! Just click on the image and, at the checkout, punch in code “40956090” for this great price!

Click Here

The wife also told me to pick up the…

Drip Irrigation Kit

Watering Cones

 

and 2-Gallon Tank Sprayer.

You ask me, she’s pushing it. Oh, OK… I’m turning it over to the missus now ’cause she has some Spring gardening tips to add and apparently I’m incapable of doing it myself:

Hello, everyone, and Happy Spring! March is the beginning of spring gardening, so this is the perfect time to get moving. Most bedding and potted plants grow pretty well in the One Stop Gardens 10′ x 12′ Greenhouse. Some seeds like tomato, melon, and cucumber need extra warmth, while others such as antirrhinum, lobelia, and petunia don’t. If you have seedlings from last year, now is the time to transplant them into to bigger pots, and established plants will start growing faster, so watering’s going to be needed on a more regular basis. Start feeding the growing plants liquid fertilizer (don’t overfeed young plants), preferably with a higher percentage of nitrogen to phosphate, and potash for leaf growth. Flowering plants also need a fertilizer that’s high in potash. This will increase flowering as opposed to leaf growth.

STARTING YOUR SEEDS

1. Do not open the seed packet until you are ready to plant.
2. Use a container with drainage. Avoid wooden trays as they accommodate disease organisms. Plastic is your best option.
3. Fill your container with compost or place directly in growing medium. The surface should be about 1″ below the top of the container. The surface should be moist but not wet; sprinkle it with water the day before sowing. Scatter the seeds thinly over the surface (or larger seeds can be planted in rows).
4. Seeds should be covered with planting material according to the directions on your seed packet (usually you will leave the finer seeds uncovered). Gently firm the soil surface. Most, but not all, seeds need darkness to germinate. Cover your seeds with either a black plastic bag or a brown paper bag and place in your greenhouse for warmth. This excludes the seeds that need light to germinate such as Begonia, Mimulus and Alyssum.
5. Most seeds need to maintain a temperature between 65-70F degrees, but you should germinate the seed at a temperature 10 degrees higher than the recommended temperature for growing the plant.
6. Once the seedlings break through the surface, remove the brown paper bag or black plastic, but then you may want to cover it with a piece of clear plastic for extra warmth and moisture. Never let the compost or planting medium dry out; use a fine mist to keep it watered.
7. Once the first set of true leaves has opened, transplant the seedlings to trays or small pots with multipurpose compost (set the seedlings so the leaves are just above the soil surface). Handle the plants by the leaves, never the stems. Set the seedlings 1-1 1/2″ apart and water as necessary, keeping the temperatures between 50-55F degrees.
8. Seedlings that will be going outside must be hardened off to prepare them for the garden. You should move them to the coldest part of the greenhouse and then to a cold frame. Also, set the plants outside during the day for a few days before planting them in the garden.

For more great deals on Gardening Supplies, visit Harbor Freight Tools today!