bay area, Edible gardening, greenhouse, Urban gardening, Zone 9

Greenhouse construction

Past couple years, after using the small plastic sheeting greenhouse, I decided that it’s time to upgrade to a more permanent one. As backyard plans firmed up, the location of the greenhouse became more apparent. We decided to take the plunge and invest in a 12*8 Palram Essence greenhouse from Costco. After waiting for missing parts to arrive, and rains to subside, we got working on the massive undertaking of putting them together.

First step: Open the packages, sort and group all parts and name them with a sharpie. Order any missing parts. Expect 2 week wait time for missing parts to be delivered. Meanwhile work on setting the foundation.

Foundation: We have uneven ground, and had to level it quite a bit. We did not want the greenhouse to sit on ground as that part of the garden gets soggy when wet. Once the base was fairly level we used 6*6 and 4*6 lumber for the base and reinforced it to the ground with 18″ rebar. We added sturdy weed blocker, as the structure was being built over a grassy area.This took us two days of physical work.

Hiccups: Once the foundation was done, we put up some of the structure. Unfortunately, weather turned for the worse, and due to lack of free time and we ended up not completing it immediately. We ended up with a few bent parts due to high winds. We undid parts of the frame, and decided to tackle it once weather got better. It just took us 3 months of wait and a test of my patience!

Restarting the project: Luckily, Feb bought us some unexpected warm days, and sunshine. That was enough to motivate hubby to get started on it. It took us 2-3 days of consistent work to put the structure up. We filled the base partially with lava rock as it helps with heat retention.

The structure is up! YAY! I moved the overwintered peppers into the greenhouse. Many of the plant starts from my garage seed starting setup moved up to the greenhouse for growing. I already had a vegetable bed inside, and the plants in the greenhouse continued to thrive.

Next steps: We plan to add a fan and possibly some heat source for winter. There are alignment issues and gaps, so I’ll have to add greenhouse tape, or foam to seal any gaps before winter arrives. I am working on the perfect configuration for adding a workbench to place all my starter plants. We already have plumbing and drip irrigation for the greenhouse bed, but we will need to extend it to the container plants. I am beyond excited and so glad that we purchased a large greenhouse, instead of opting for the smaller sized one.

Completed greenhouse

Experimental garden during summer: Growing inside the greenhouse is quite tricky, in dealing with pests, as well as temperature control. I plan to try out a few vegetables such as tomatoes, okra, yard long beans, ginger, turmeric and see how that goes.

Lava rocks on the floor. 8’*2′ raised bed and several containers.

Few tips:

  1. Level the ground, and square the edges perfectly. If not, you will experience issues as you build the greenhouse, with doors / windows misalignment.
  2. Follow instructions to the T. Instructions are mostly visual, with barely any text.
  3. Sort and group all materials ahead of time. There are usually missing parts, and this will help pre-order before you start the project. Palram customer support is good, and we had no issues reordering items missing.
PALRAM greenhouse garden tour 2020

Overall though it took a while to build the greenhouse, the structure is permanent and expect several years if not decades of use from it.