Last fall we took down the greenhouse roof we hat made in the garden. Since it only was a roof, the wind blew trough it and the cold night air could come in, so it did not bring much advantage for pre-cultivating and extending the season. The foil on top was damaged also, so we decided to take it down. Our growing season goes from May to a little in October (when we are lucky), so a real greenhouse for pre-cultivation followed by a tomato and pepper crop is necessary to bring a useful yield in our region. Last year we lost our tomato plants early to blight and the peppers did not do anything at all. Only the chili peppers did ok, but most stayed green and we do like the peppers to ripen and turn red.
The metal frame
Last year the play tent of our children was damaged by a storm. The cover was torn and we trough that away. Some of the metal tubes where bend and snapped. We where able to fix these by putting a peace of wood in the tube and push the metal against each other. Obviously that leaves very sharp edges where we put some duct tape around.
After putting the metal frame together we made a wooden frame in the front and back for doors. We secured the battens with perforated metal strips around the metal frame. Obviously this also gives sharp edges (dangerous for the foil) and we also taped over these with duct tape.
Putting up the greenhouse foil
We bought a tear resistant greenhouse foil with 0.19mm thickness. The foil is nice and firm and we hat no problems handling it in means of, the foil did not tear. First we cut off the length we needed and rolled the greenhouse foil back up. To get the greenhouse foil over the frame, we did get some one to help us and of course the kid’s helped also. It is nice that we have a work platform for the front end loader of our tractor. This made getting the greenhouse foil over the roof a lot easier and safer. A big piece of foil like that is hard to handle, but somehow we managed to get the greenhouse foil over the frame. The wind made it a bit difficult, but we always have wind here, so it made no sense to wait for a better day to do this. With the kid’s helping to hold the greenhouse foil down we managed to pull the foil in place and staple it to the wooden doorframe. Above the doorframe we folded the greenhouse foil and also stabled it down. In the corners of the doorframe we hat to cut off some of the foil, folded it and also stabled it down.
To secure the greenhouse foil to the metal frame around the bottom I had purchased some metal clips. These clips are a little bit bigger as the metal tubes of the frame. To protect the foil for the metal clips we put some fabric in between and the clips worked wonderful. They snapped on and the foil stays where it is.
We folded the foil underneath the frame to the inside.
To hold the foil down when there is wind we also put some rope over cross over each segment of the fame, attaching the rope to a shackle and the shackle to a hole in the feet of the metal frame. Obviously we had to puncture the foil here, but I don’t think that will be a problem.
Putting up doors on the greenhouse
The battens we attached the foil to seem a bit small to attach such large doors to, so we upgraded the wooden frame, while securing the foil even more. We used boards to reinforce the doorframes, which my husband gave a nice decorative touch.
The doors are kept simple, with a rectangle frame out of battens with one cross batten and bracings in each corner. Then covered with foil, which we also stabled down.
To close the doors we used what we had. Some wood bocks that can turn for the secondary door, a metal pin to push in the ground and a padlock bracket with a snap ring for the primary door.
DIY greenhouse finished, more or less
For now the greenhouse is finished and I can start using it, but before fall comes we will have to do something about the different openings the greenhouse has. There is a big slit above the doors we will have to do something about. Also the ground was not evenly, so there are several slits between the ground and the greenhouse as well. For now we put some logs before them, to keep the cats out of the greenhouse, but we will have to fill these with sand to keep the warmth in when it gets colder again.
At the moment I am just so happy we finally made a real greenhouse. The kid’s and I immediately started with pre-cultivating a lot of vegetables, herbs and flowers for the coming season.
Even some lettuce has already sprouted.
During the day, when the sun is shining, the temperature rises up to 30°C and we open the doors to keep the heat down a little. At night the temperature still drops to about 2°C, so I am afraid to put my tomato and pepper plantlets in the greenhouse. I am worried that 2°C is to cold for them and I will kill the plantlets, so they will just stay in the caravan for now.
Since I have rhizomes’ grass growing everywhere I am not making raised beds in the greenhouse, but I am going to plant my tomatoes & peppers in mortar tubs and wooden made planters, but more too that after I planted my tomatoes & peppers in my new DIY greenhouse.