Before you Build a Greenhouse


Spring is coming! In spite of what the thermometer reads, currently 19°F. It’s time to start thinking about the garden and that greenhouse I keep meaning to build. Building a greenhouse sounds easier than it is. There are so many practical, and unpractical, decisions that must go into one small shed. And then there is Pinterest with all its bells and whistles. You no more hammer in that last nail and you get a ping telling you there are more ideas for your board and they are so flipping pretty it is hard to not be sucked in. Damn you, Pinterest!


IMG_2759 (2)Sounds easy enough, but alas my dear friends not so much. It is a working farm after all and I cannot interfere with the machinery’s path to the field, get in the way of the barn, hinder the walkway to the shed, blah, blah, blah. Logically, it needs to be close to the garden, but the garden continues to grow each year so I have to consider future growth.

Then there are the practical issues. I’m in the rural lands of Illinois where the winds do not come sweeping down the plain. They come bulldozing across the fields. It needs to have some windbreak, but not too much shadowing. It should be placed in a location that takes full advantage of maximum sunlight receiving at least 6 hours of sunlight, but it cannot get too much heat or the plants will burn. Ugghh! So here it will sit, final decision. It is just south of the garden with plenty of growing room. Back by the fenceline so it is not in the way of working machinery. It will get nothing but sun and sit east of the house which will take the brunt of the wind. It’s the best I can do!


Do I only want to grow seeds from scratch, giving them a strong start before replanting them come late spring? Then a starter is just fine. I’ll just add a potting bench, soil, and start my seedlings. Or do I want to get ambitious and provide a home to my warm weather plants? Like my ferns that I have to replace every year. Then there is the lime tree that I bring in when the weather cools and carefully monitored soil under sun lamps only to watch it wilt and drop its leaves, which takes large amounts of love and attention to bring back to life, and because of that, I will never have a lime bigger than a quarter. If I want that then I have to consider a grower which will take more room, different glazing, humidifier, and electricity to keep a controlled temperature in a zone that occasionally sees negative 30 in the winter.  Okay, starter it is!


This is where the fun begins and the frustration mounts. I havIMG_3337e to decide what bells to include and what whistles to do without. This becomes important because of the market and opening the farm to guests in the summer months. It has to look good but it needs to be practical. And this too is not without decisions and who knows the difference between brown treated wood and green anyhow? I cannot tell you how much time I spent discussing this with my husband. Good news, I can stain and even paint it once it dries out. So, honey, I’m tired of making decisions, you pick.


12 6MM Clear Twinwall Polycarbonate Panels  $     515.88
8 6MM Clear Twinwall 8′ U Channels            39.92
1 6MM Clear Twinwall 8′ H Channels              9.99
20 8′ Pretreated Green 2x4s            89.40
16 10′ Pretreated Green 2x4s            94.08
18 12′ Pretreated Green 2x4s          125.64
1 10′ Pretreated Green 2×6              8.47
1 12′ Corner & Gable Trimwhite            16.49
30 4″x8″x16″ Solid Blocks            33.00
1 Gable Vent            17.35
1 Storm Door          200.00
Screws,  nails, & anchors            36.58
 $  1,186.80

Okay, here we go! Please send me positive thoughts and good wishes! – Ella💙


Author: Ella

Just a girl who loves to cook farm-to-fork foods living the dream!

4 thoughts

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.