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  • Writer's pictureKaaren Poole

Garden Seeking Greenhouse

A surprise changed my priorities this week. Suddenly, I had the unpleasant realization that it was March already. How did that happen? The usual way, I suppose—one day coming after another, like it always does. But, for some reason, I wasn’t noticing it until that fateful day last week.

But why did it matter? Because I thought I had plenty of time for the work I needed to do for this year’s garden, but suddenly, I didn’t. So my plans for the week had to move aside and make way for building my benchtop greenhouse. If I didn't, my garden would be set back, potentially for the entire year. I resisted, but then gave in. Sometimes, life is just a series of adjusting one's priorities to what's most important at the moment.

To gain a little time, I realized that I could start seeds before the greenhouse was even underway. After all, it would take several days for seeds to sprout. So, I planted two trays of seeds—bedding zinnias and marigolds for around the roses.

But they had a trick up their little sleeves! They sprouted in a mere two days! So much for buying time. The greenhouse had to be built, and now! Last year I used a cold frame for my seedlings, and it worked well at first. But the frame proved too short for the growing seedlings. So I thought this year I’d create the greenhouse to give the seedlings plenty of room to grow before they needed to go into the garden.

The greenhouse is 2’ tall, 2’ wide, and 6’ long. This is big enough for six trays, each holding six 6-packs. That should be plenty. Except for vegetables (I’m growing mostly flowers) most of the plants I’ll be growing will be perennials. But I need several annuals to plant over the beds of spring bulbs. Plus, I’ll be starting some new perennials.

Anyway, here’s the greenhouse, which I just finished today. The roof is sloped slightly, the front of the greenhouse being one inch taller than the back so that rain will roll off at the back. I also have it anchored to the bench. The front has two doors, one on each side. And the roof hinges up.

I built the frame of 1x4 and 1x3 “white wood,” and the door frames from 1x2’s. The clear stuff is double walled polystyrene for greenhouses which I bought on Amazon. I designed the greenhouse in separate panels (front, back, sides, and roof) so that it can come apart for storage.

I have heating mats for under the seedling trays, and I’ve had those for several years. They really work well.

After I was finished, I figured I could have bought as many plants as I’ll need this year for what building the greenhouse cost me. But by growing my own, I have such a wide choice of what I want to grow. And anyway, the greenhouse will be good for many years to come. So, all in all, I think it was a good idea. And let's not forget how fun it is to watch the seeds sprout and the plants grow big and strong.

Can’t wait to watch their stories unfold!


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