|From In the Garden|
Building a greenhouse is something I never actually thought would come to fruition here but wonders of wonders-there it is! Mr. Fix-it and I happened upon a sales flier for Harbor Freight Tools and they had their 6x8 greenhouse marked down nearly by half. It was a super good Christmas present for me and one I sincerely thank Mr. Fix-it for purchasing and installing. I am thinking I may now be able to get my garage back for my car instead of plants. We shall see as time goes on and how hard it is to heat this greenhouse in the winter.
I am not going into detail on how we installed this greenhouse because if you are thinking of purchasing a greenhouse, any type, you would be wise to check out the blog titled Building Our Harbor Freight 10' x 12' Greenhouse. This blog provided me innumerable tips to building and operating a greenhouse. Many of the things you need to do to make a greenhouse efficient must be done prior to installing the greenhouse. Things like sealing the greenhouse and reinforcing the greenhouse.
One of the most important tips that I gleaned from this blog was to tape the polycarbonate panels. This plastic is like cardboard in that it is double layered and has air pockets between the layers that are divided. These help give the greenhouse its insulating and magnifying capacity. Well, one problem these panels have is that they tend to be a gathering place for little insects and dirt. These things work their way into the grooves and can discolor a greenhouse. This blog told me of a way to fix that problem. The openings are needed so that condensation can weep from the bottom of the panels, but in order to keep the insects out they must be sealed. Quandary right? Can't seal yet you don't want dirt and bugs in. Enter greenhouse supply stores that actually sell a special kind of tape just for this purpose. It is quite expensive but if it keeps the panels clean I'm all for it. The other three sides of the panel need to be taped too but since the moisture runs down they don't need the special tape on the sides or top (according to the HF Blog). This blog recommended sealing these edges with foil tape; which I did. I tell you Mr. Fix-it spent the whole day setting up the greenhouse and I spent the whole day taping the panels. It took LOTS of work.
I had actually built the base out of bricks I had received from a fellow Freecycler a few years ago. The base was set up for a plastic greenhouse with a bit of room left over. Thank goodness I had used foresight and built the base bigger than that small greenhouse or I might have had to build an entire new base. As it was, I did have to adjust the size to fit the size of the new greenhouse exactly. This meant taking off the pressure treated 4'x4's I had used and making the base a bit narrower and not as long. I switched the pressure treated 4x4s out for cedar that I had stained a dark green. The cedar 4x4s came off from our porch and were just hanging around the garden waiting for the right use. Cedar is better for aluminum frames than pressure treated (not as corrosive) so that is why I switched the 4 x4s out.I did some adjusting of the bricks and made sure everything was square. Square is VERY important for any structure you plan to build.
|From In the Garden|
Mr. Fix-it took over from this point. It took all day to set up the greenhouse then another few days to seal it properly and reinforce it. I must say we needed a few extra pair of hands to actually set up the greenhouse. The aluminum pieces tend to fall down quite easily. This is not a good thing when they are bolted together because the aluminum may bend. Once you have the entire frame together it is not so bad but be prepared to get some extra help.
There had been a lot of complaining on the Garden Web forums concerning the Harbor Freight Greenhouse instruction manual and quality of the greenhouse itself but other than a few very minor areas Mr. Fix-it put the greenhouse together fairly easily. The door and the vents confused him but once the greenhouse was up it all became clear. We did have to adjust a few things. The clips to hold the panels in place were not provided in a sufficient quantity. I did order some more of them. I also ordered an anchor kit for the foundation. Due to a greenhouse's light weight as compared to the mass they have a tendency to blow away so it is highly recommended you anchor your greenhouse, all greenhouses.
I have added a few other things to this greenhouse to seal it and make it more functional but for now this post is long enough. I'll save the rest of what I did for another day's post....
in the garden....
Happy Birthday to Brian!
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In the Garden