Greenhouse #2: fait accompli


Whew!  We got the plastic on the second greenhouse Saturday.  Finally, the weather cooperated.

Imagine putting a stocking on a 28′ long, 26′ wide leg, and that’s the challenge we faced.  For once there was only a tiny bit of wind, no rain, and decent temperatures, all on the day we planned to finish the project.

We have two roll-up sides but I won’t be installing those until next spring, so I buried the plastic on one side and held it down on the other.  I also laid woodchips on the paths of this and the old greenhouse.  The electric company came by for their quadrennial tree-butchering session this week:  this year they removed one entire tree and only hacked up 6 more in our front yard.  I persuaded them to at least give us the chipped wood and logs.  The timing was pretty good as far as the greenhouse is concerned but the house looks nowhere near as hidden as it did before from the road.  Sigh.

Anyway, I am a bit sore but really gratified.  Let it snow!  We’ll be rich in greenery.

9 responses to “Greenhouse #2: fait accompli

  1. Is the photo the new greenhouse?

    Do you know, BTW, what the temperature was in the greenhouse last year on the coldest day of winter? And was it sunny or overcast?

    Just wondering about the difference in thermal mass between your much larger greenhouse and my smaller hoophouse. It has been cold in there, below freezing although the ground is still considerably warmer.

    Ali in Maine

  2. Hiya Ali. Yep, that’s the new greenhouse.

    The coldest day of the year here was a cold one for us at -3*F overnight. My low/high thermometer said it got to be +18*F at 4′ above ground, which means under the cover of the agricultural cloth was probably in the low 20s. Frankly I am not sure how much a large space helps over a small one. Too much space will never warm up, too little loses heat too quickly. Either way never harvest anything in the morning as things are still frozen, but by afternoon things are quite perky!

  3. Very nice and it makes me jealous because I haven’t put on the outer skin of my smaller than your polytunnel.

  4. those hydro ppl got a few of ours too. next time i’ll have to intercept and ask for the chips/logs. it’s precious stuff! we have a few nice maples marked with a spray painted orange ‘H’… impending doom. boo!

  5. I love how you already have a chair in there!
    Thanks, El, for the data. Last winter we had a cold snap and 2 really cold days where it got down to -9°F and -10°F. I will be watching to see what the greenhouse temp gets to be!


  6. Hi El,
    I just wanted to thank you for all of your posts concerning your greenhouses. I received one from a neighbor this summer (too many pieces for her to assemble) and wasn’t really sure what I could do with it.
    I have read through all of your older posts on greenhouse growing and I have learned so much.
    I am in zone 7 and waited until just recently to plant in there, because it was still getting so hot inside of it. I hope I am not too late.
    I ordered some fabric cover, so that should put me at zone 10, correct?
    Thanks so much.

  7. OG: Well, this week was in the 70s every day so dang those little plants in the new greenhouse were cooking! So maybe it’s not such a bad thing the plastic isn’t on? Although it’s supposed to snow here next week so I guess I am glad the babies are indoors 🙂

    Heidi: Do catch them. That way they don’t have to stop what they’re doing and drive to their selected dumpsite; they can just dump stuff right on your property. I need to schlep the rest of the stuff to spread it on the garden paths too. If it doesn’t snow this weekend it’s on my agenda.

    And you, Ali, have a table and chairs! Wow. I would never leave. As it is, it’s nice to shell beans in that reclining chair. You are going to love that space.

    Candace! YAY!! That is so wonderful, and believe me I love good gifts like that 😉 Yes, it’s a good time to plant, now that the sun is getting weaker by the day. It is actually pretty cool watching things NOT grow. They really slow down, way down, between January and March. I would still get the fabric cover, especially for the really cold days: it can still freeze in there and the objective is to try to NOT have the ground freeze, thus killing the little plants. Do blog about your discoveries, though! You, too, can become a greenhouse evangelist!

  8. I am building a hoophouse/greenhouse. How do you keep it warm during the winter?

    • Hi Sherri! I don’t keep it warm. I let the sun do that. I keep the beds covered with Reemay (agricultural cloth) and it keeps the temperature about 5-15 degrees warmer than the air above, and the greenhouse air itself is lots warmer than outside. The principle is that the plants indoors can take a little cold. It’s all about light, not warmth, so there’s a point at which things slow really far down growth-wise (mid-Nov through Dec.) before they start growing again.

      Read anything by Eliot Coleman and you’ll see a list of plants that love life in a hoophouse. Look at the Books tab above for links to some of his titles.

      In general, it’s not about the heat. It’s about the light, and about selecting varieties of plants that do well in the cold of December.

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