Building a Greenhouse

This time last year I happily received my greenhouse.  It’s the first one I have every owned and I hoped it would make considerable improvements to my produce by extending the seasons and offering protection to plants all year round.

I have a good sized garden but I did not want to have it dominated by the greenhouse and my wife wasn’t keen on my veg plot taking over anymore space (that’s one of the main reason I picked up an allotment this year).  So I decided to by a 6′ by 8′ greenhouse with high eaves.  The high eaves would prevent the greenhouse from feeling small and give me more vertical growing space, good for tomatoes and other climbing plants like gherkins.

I researched different greenhouses, visited many shops, and finally landed on the Elite range.  I normally like to buy local but the on-line deals were too good to miss and the local garden centre would not match the price.  So I ordered from Greenhouse Direct.  It was a simple process and arrived quickly and safely.  I opted for safety glass because I have a dog and 2 children.  Having worked in accident and emergency, I have seen the injuries horticultural glass can cause if you are not careful.  One of the other reasons I chose the Elite high eave was the low threshold which removed the trip hazard most other greenhouses have in their doorway.

The Greenhouse itself cost around £800 but the there were other costs to consider.  I needed to provide it with a stable base and decided to use thin concrete slabs as its foundation.  Concrete and sand added to the cost as well as the slate I used to provide the flooring within the greenhouse.  This was a much cheaper option than laying slabs.20150208_155220

The first task in getting the greenhouse up was to clear the ground where it was going to be erected.  A rotovator and 2 hours later, that job was done.  I then put the base of the frame together to act as a guide for the foundation trench.  Once the base was put together I dug a trench a spades depth and 2 spades widths wide.  Building has never been a strength of mine so I drafted in my dad along with all the tools he has accumulated over his life for the cost of regular cups of tea.

With the trench sorted it was time to start laying the slabs which would act as the foundations of the greenhouse.  Getting this bit right was the most important.  We measured and re-measured until the length, width and angles were all correct and then placed and cut the slabs into position.  P6278068.jpgP6288146.jpgP6288136.jpg

We let the foundations set for the next week and started working on the rest of the greenhouse frame.  The frame went together reasonably easily but the cold weather made it a miserable task.  Luckily my wife had bought me a few pairs of thick gardening socks so at least my feet were warm.   Unfortunately, the nuts and bolts were fiddly and gloves were out of the question.  The weather slowed progress and it took a few weekends to get the frame together.  Once it was up it was a simple task to move it into location and place in the glass.  I had chosen the large panels which made the whole process of putting in the glass much easier.  Once the glass was in it was a matter of just easing it into position and securing it to the foundations with bolts and spreading out the slate to act as the interior floor.

The greenhouse was ready for use in 2015’s growing season.  It helped me start my growing season in Feb and it has only just ended at the end of November.  It has produced a great crop of gherkins, now soaking in vinegar, protected some of my tomato plants from blight and gave a heavy crop of cucumbers and chilli peppers.

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It was definitely worth the effort and cold fingers. So I would encourage anything thinking of getting a greenhouse to do so.  I am now

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