Another bucket list item to check off the list! I have always wanted a lovely little greenhouse, made of glass and brick, sitting in the middle of a vast garden in a big open field! Well, I didn’t exactly get the one I’ve dreamed of, but I am SO HAPPY that I have one large enough to grow everything I need for Winter salads and Spring starts!
The funny story behind this greenhouse is that I literally did not even think about it as an option for the first few months we were here. It was dirty, dingy, full of garbage and scraps from the previous owner, and NOT the pretty picture I had envisioned for my dreamy greenhouse space. When the light finally came on, and I put a bit of work and elbow grease into spiffing it up a bit, I found an incredible diamond in the rough!
The first thing I did, after giving it a thorough clean out and scrub down, was fill the 5 white rain barrels my dad had hauled to the property with water for thermal mass. Haven’t heard of it? It’s a very effective (arguably the most effective) system for heating and cooling an “unheated” greenhouse. Here’s a coolio page full of great info about using water for thermal mass in a greenhouse, if you’re interested in looking more into that as an option: http://greenhousegarden.com/thermal-massheat-storage
Once those were in place, and they will never be moving again, I got to work on the “prettying” up part and bringing bits and pieces of my “ideal” and fitting them into my “practical” and “currently available” greenhouse. Here’s the steps in a nutshell;
Paint EVERYTHING white to reflect as much sun as possible during the Winter months. Another “non-ideal” part of this greenhouse is that it is NOT South facing, it faces West. So I need to make sure I use every beam of light to my complete advantage. White reflects light and the light will bounce off all of the white surfaces until it finds something dark (ahem….plants) to absorb into.
Remove old, nasty, yellowed, disgusting…you get the point…roofing. I replaced the old roofing with a slanted, corrugated, clear glazed greenhouse roofing. Immediate win.
Put up a shade cloth so the sun doesn’t scorch all life inside the greenhouse…ask me how I know that life doesn’t exist in a scorching hot West facing Summer greenhouse…sacrificed some beautiful seedlings to the greenhouse sun god 🙁 I didn’t get around to actually putting the shade cloth up until about 2 weeks ago, when I planted all of my Fall seedlings and realized they would be smoked the instant their tiny little green heads poked out of the soil. Make sure it’s white, so the UV rays can still get through though! I just nailed mine up and into the roof beams. Ahh….it feels cooler in here already!
I have always wanted a brick floor greenhouse. Like, always. The space of this greenhouse is narrow and long, not idea for what I wanted to do, which was actually brick flooring and in ground beds. No room for in ground beds with the shelving that was already present and the 5 huge rain barrels, so I settled for as big a brick pathway as space would allow for. I worked through several patterns and narrowed it down to these two options:
I asked everyone on my facebook and instagram pages which they liked better and the left option was overwhelmingly more popular. So, of course….I went with the one on the right! Muwahahahaha! To be fair….I did love them both but the one on the right was SO much easier and actually did look better and offer a bit more style in the small space I had to work in. I decided to just go with sand as a base, no cement, and got to work. And work it was! Geez! I was thankful for a small space after leveling and laying every single brick by hand! But I LOVE how it turned out!! The antique brick gives it such a sweet rustic touch, doesn’t it?
PLANT ALL THE THINGS!!! But make sure you have that shade cloth up if temps are still getting up there in the high 70’s even. I have my greenhouse winter greens planted and growing scorch free!! YAY!