My wife and I literally worked all weekend to get our new greenhouse built.
It was much more involved than I thought it would be. There is still a little more work to do but we are very excited to have the plastic completely covering it now. It is 14 feet wide and 12 feet long, but next year we will expand it to 24 feet long. I am calling it a greenhouse because the book that I got the idea from calls it that. Also, the plastic covering is called "greenhouse plastic". This kind of structure could also call this a poly tunnel or maybe even a hoop house.
Instead of explaining the whole construction process here, why don't I just show some quick pictures? Later I will write a more comprehensive "how to" post if anyone is interested.
I think from the previous post, I left you here, with the PVC pipes being put in place:
Even before that phase, we first had to make a spot to put the green house. We wanted to put it in front of the garden by the fence where the early tomatoes were last year, and the kid's garden was the year before that. This spot was too narrow so my wife had a great idea to build a retaining wall to extend the space out another 6 to 8 feet! We had to move a lot of dirt to back fill the wall, but it worked out well. Later we will finish the other half of the wall and fill it too.
This wall created the perfect footprint for our new structure.
We had to drive metal stakes in the ground at each corner and every 4 feet in the middle and then cut them to the right height.
Is that straight? After the metal pipes were secured, I put the big PVC pipes over them.
Here's a picture of my wife consulting the book at this point to see what the next step would be. We got this particular style greenhouse idea from a great book by Jeff Ashton, called The 12-Month Gardener: Simple Strategies for Extending Your Growing Season. I plan to buy a copy because it also has a lot of great cold frame and cloche ideas. More on the book later.
After the PVC pipes were secure, we had to frame up the ends with 2x4s and add pipe supports to the wood and the PVC hoops. In the above picture, I am putting tape over the wire used to tie everything together in order to protect the plastic sheeting.
My daughters came out to check on the progress and decided to come on in. After the walls were finished and everything secured, we stretched and stapled the plastic on the end walls.
After the end walls were done, it was time to tackle the top plastic sheeting.
My wife and one daughter lifted it up to me while my other daughter took the pictures.
We got it put in place, used about 1,000 staples connecting it to the framework, and trimmed off the excess.
We finished just before the sun went down. At this point, the outside temperature was about 65 degrees. Inside the greenhouse it rose to 100 degrees! I still need to install an exhaust fan and get vent windows put together to control the inside temperature but I am encouraged by the fast temperature rise. I built insulated raised beds in half of this polytunnel and we plan to grow salad crops in there all Fall and Winter and then start many early plants in the Spring.
We have more to learn about how to care for plants inside a greenhouse, so any advice is welcome.
Happy Fall Gardening!