The Bottom Line
- A large garden investment can be leveraged by providing a means of overwintering plants and shortening the Spring startup costs. A steel-framed greenhouse protects our investment by providing the protection and early start that we need.
- A steel-framed greenhouse can be easily moved (roll it around on 4″ PVC pipes).
- A steel-framed greenhouse can be maintained (damaged panels can easily be replaced).
- Lifespan is typically unlimited; adds value to your property, especially when leveraged with other features such as a garden and rainwater collection system.
- Extends the growing cycle by two months by giving us the ability to start plants before the Spring season.
- Some vegetables can be raised in the greenhouse (providing food) in the Winter season.
- Nearly useless in the Summer when interior temps can exceed 100 degrees.
- 10’x20′ with extra shelves (and extra door with windows) for $4100 (in 2017).
- A steel-framed greenhouse can easily be maintained and moved, if needed. It also saves times two months of the year by jump-starting the Spring season. Read more about EBG’s quest for self-reliance.
The new greenhouse arrived on the third day of our first hard freeze. We worked hard to fill it up with plants!
Click the button below to see a short movie of the arrival of the greenhouse.
Arriving in the nick of time, we transferred everything from the garage to the new greenhouse (above).
Packed to the rafters: The green leafy plants on the bottom and middle shelves (above) are Japanese Ashitaba. When the sun is shining, the heat inside the green house builds up quickly (even on a cold winter day). Doors at each end help to provide ventilation. We also run a large portable fan to keep the air moving. The relatively flat peak (of the roof) is ideal for keeping the heat at a manageable level. Tip: Excess heat is just as dangerous (to plants) as freezing temperatures.
A green house is great in Winter, but it can be nearly useless in the Summer when interior temps exceed 100 degrees. Several of our friends use cold frames and we studied their examples carefully. Cold frames don’t get as hot in the Summer months (due to an opaque cover) and this is an advantage. Unfortunately, they’re hard to move, their covers have a limited life, and rain shedding can be tricky. Our unit had to be moveable, easily maintained, and nearly indestructible. We chose a steel-framed skid-mounted unit from R&K. Clad in replaceable Lexan panels, we ordered extra shelves on both sides, and an extra door and window (to provide ventilation). We raised the unit 8″ during Summer by placing it on concrete blocks (below) to maximize ventilation. We also added a retractable sun cover to keep the temperature down. Because it has a sturdy steel frame, relocation is possible and leveling is easy. We’ve purchased several products from R&K Portable Buildings over the years, and we’ve never been disappointed! Note the electric Utility Heaters (from WalMart) on the floor in the foreground of the photo above.
Shown above in Spring, the greenhouse is raised on blocks to provide ventilation.