In March I wrote a little about our greenhouse, and how much we appreciated having it through the winter. We have really appreciated having it in the springtime too! Jeff has planted many seeds this spring, and having a greenhouse has been so helpful for that. He hooked up electricity to the greenhouse when he was building it, and having lights was amazing for growing microgreens throughout the winter months, and now in the spring has given the plant starts an extra boost. And it’s so warm in there. On cold, rainy days it felt like a warm retreat, and now on sunny days as the weather warms up it gets so hot in there- even with windows and doors open- it’s gotten up to 120 degrees!
See that solar panel to the left of the greenhouse in the pictures above? That’s one of our next projects- to get that solar panel hooked up to run a fan inside. A friend gave it to us years back, he no longer wanted it. The technology has changed a lot since it’s making- the solar panels now are much more lightweight and energy efficient, but that one will more than meet our needs for what we’re wanting it for. We’d like to run more than a fan off it eventually too.
My mom visited in the fall when we were beginning the process of building it, so she has been asking me to send her some pictures of the finished greenhouse. As you know, it takes me awhile to sort pictures in the midst of busy life, so you can thank her for giving me the push to finally get these posted. 🙂 I snapped some pictures of the greenhouse while the lilacs were in bloom, I thought it was such a beautiful sight.
Jeff and I decided to use cattle panels in the construction. (We are really loving cattle panels for projects! I already shared about the Cattle Panel Trellis we put up in the garden last year, and I have more projects to show you in future posts.) When looking at the front of the greenhouse, the roof and the right side wall are cattle panels covered in greenhouse plastic. The cattle panels on that side go all the way to the ground. On the left side wall of the greenhouse, along with the front and the back, there are reclaimed windows as well as greenhouse plastic and cedar fencing. We purchased the greenhouse plastic from FarmTek, in case you are interested.
There are so many things I love about the greenhouse. I’ll mention a few little details shown in the pictures. On the front left there is a wooden face Jeff carved, along with a windchime a friend made with silverware. The colorful window in the front is another favorite thing. Jeff visualized a stained glass window when he was constructing the front. An actual stained glass window would have been awesome, but cost prohibitive, so he found an alternative- one that stuck to a regular window making it look like stained glass. I thought it was a pretty creative idea, and it’s so beautiful when the light shines through. I also love the birdhouse Jeff made, attached to the right corner post, and the little bit of cattle panel sticking out on that side (purposely) so we can use it for a trellis.
Jeff and I built a few raised beds in front of the greenhouse. They’ve been planted with lettuce, lupines, marigolds, columbines, red mustard, wasabina, and carrots. Everything has grown so much since I took these pictures. The valerian plant that is pictured in the pot between the two beds is taller than me now and covered in fragrant flowers. The two bamboo stakes in front of the left bed are for draping shade cloth over during the daytime because everything was getting too hot. Oh, one more thing I should mention from the pictures- next to the lights inside is a brown looking ball hanging- that is a praying mantis egg sack (ootheca.) We’ve had several hatch so far and we have little praying mantises all over the greenhouse. B is quite delighted about that.
I still smile remembering and thinking of the space being cleared for the greenhouse, the posts being set in concrete, the cattle panels being set in place (with the help of my dad visiting that day), each window that got put up, and the evening when the three of us draped the greenhouse plastic over the top and worked to get it secured before it got too dark to see. So many times I headed outside from the kitchen to visit Jeff in the garden and admire the next thing he got done on it, or lend him an extra hand for a minute before continuing onto my other tasks. The whole thing was truly a labor of love, and I’m so grateful to Jeff for all he put into building it because it’s been such a blessing for our family. It’s also made it so he could start a lot more plants to share with our friends for their gardens.
This is not the first greenhouse Jeff has built here, he has lived on this land for over 35 years, and has built a handful of greenhouses in that time. (The others are no longer, though one is still in the process of being taken apart to salvage any reclaimable pieces.) This one, though, is by far the favorite. We all really love it.