Tuesday, August 28, 2012

DIY Greenhouse

Now that I have successfully made my own compost, and have determined I have some gardening aptitude, it's time for a greenhouse.

A word about my compost.  It's freaking fabulous!  I can't wait to use it next year.  Who knew, taking something 'free' (grass clippings and woody debris, including shredded paper), would turn into a rich, beautiful soil, teaming with all things good.  I can hardly wait to use it next year in my vegetable starts!  I will definitely be making more next year...a LOT more!

Back to my greenhouse...

A cursory search for greenhouses and kits returned some rather costly options, making it less viable for us.  Several less expensive options were also available ($200-$300), but very flimsy.  The reviews weren't all that great, either, and who am I kidding, that's still a LOT of money.  Perhaps in another life, when money flowed more freely through our economy, I might feel differently, but every penny is precious around here.  We don't spend them lightly.

Aside from the joy of growing one's own food, this project has a cost savings purpose.  By growing our own produce, and canning what we don't eat in the summer, for use in the winter, we will be taking a pretty big chunk out of our grocery bill.  We already feed the occupants of this house for about $30/week, but this will help even more, and while I have discovered a love of gardening, this project is more about cost savings, than anything else.  The more we can extend the growing season, the more we can produce.  The greenhouse will enable that!

We live where snow is a part of life.  Any structure would need to take a bit of a snow load, and anything without a rigid roof won't cut it.  Most less expensive options didn't look as though they would take rain, much less snow.

Sunday, while we were doing errands, we talked about building our own greenhouse, from the ground up, but a full blown building project wasn't really something we wanted to commit to.  Surely there was a way to re-purpose something, and do so on the cheap.  We also wanted something we could disassemble, and move, if the need ever arose.

I stumbled upon a Google link with photos of a dog run that someone had wrapped with plastic sheeting, and reported good success using as a make shift greenhouse.  The dog run they had used was just 4' tall, which wouldn't work for us, but it sparked an idea.  I figured if I scoured CL ads, I might find something we could use (just the framework, provided it had roof supports), and I was right.  We found a 6'H x 8'L x 5'W kennel.  As luck would have it, the chain link up front was pretty damaged, which made for a great negotiating point.  We would be taking it off, anyway, so damaged wasn't a problem, and if it helped us get it cheaper, all the better.  The seller also just wanted it gone.  Such a great combination when searching CL for a deal!  The result?  CHEAP!

Oh, and the seller's measurements were a little off, too, as I just discovered.  It's actually 10' long vs. 8', so another two feet to work with.  So cool!

Cliff removed the damaged chain link yesterday afternoon, and we are left with the framework, which was what we wanted.  What a deal!  We will be adding the fiberglass panels next week.  I will be scouring CL for shelving supplies in the coming weeks.  We just need to be ready to go come February/March, so I have plenty of time to scavenge the 'free stuff' on CL and the Nickel Ads.  Here's hoping I can find everything else for free, or pretty close to it!

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