If I’ve seemed a bit absent last week, well, I was. The sun started popping out a bit here in Western Washington and I was no match for it. I figured as a bit of penance, I’d give you some extra gardening posts over the next week. (I hope that will work!)
So I’d like to welcome you to my new happy place in the garden.
I’ve been wanting a greenhouse for awhile, but I was overwhelmed by the potential cost involved and/or the work to set it up. My husband and I have initially been looking at building one ourselves by re-purposing old windows à la Pinterest, but when it came down to it, I think we realized it was more than we honestly wanted to deal with.
Last week, I spotted the above simple portable greenhouse for about $120 at Watson’s Nursery in Puyallup and thought it would be perfect – a great opportunity to test the waters with greenhouse gardening before making a major investment. I thought I’d share my adventure with you here because it turns out Fred Meyer is putting a strikingly similar one on sale for $99 starting tomorrow (3/10) you may want to consider:
I also noticed this portable greenhouse that’s $73.45 + free shipping on Amazon right now. It looks very similar and has an average 3.5-star rating after 160 reviews:
(Amazon also has a very nice selection of additional portable greenhouses in case you’d like to compare prices, read reviews, see what’s out there, etc.)
I surprisingly spent a very small amount of money beyond the $120 for the greenhouse itself, and I thought I’d share with you what I did.
First, I wanted to really secure down the shelves. They are….well, what you might expect of a $100 greenhouse. I had these simple cable ties on hand I’d purchased previously from Fred Meyer. I also noticed you can buy a big bag of them for $2 at Harbor Freight. This made a huge difference and took all of a few minutes! No wiggling around!
The other thing you’ll want to do is stake your greenhouse down. While it might seem secure, reader Marti warned me on Facebook the other day she had had hers blow down before in a windstorm. SAD. Don’t want that. I just used some really, really long screws I found out in the garage with some rope. I tacked down about 8 of them and then added a large brick on top of the screws as well. I’m sure you could use tent stakes or other stuff you have on hand. I will say the stakes that came with it did not seem secure enough.
Now the fun part – filling up my greenhouse! Here’s what I have so far. Please keep in mind I’m a total novice. (So please don’t head out to the nursery or hardware store and say “Angela told me I needed this stuff” or anything silly.)
I bought the cheapest thermometer I could find at Lowe’s. I want to say it was about a buck. I then secured it using electrical tape.
Above is a view of one of my shelves. I’ve made room for lighter stuff on top. You’ll note I have seeds there, but only because I was getting ready to do some planting. Remember to store your seeds in cool, dark, and dry conditions! I also have some gardening tools, gloves, and at the bottom – a watering can and potting soil ready. We got in two yards of Tagro Potting Mix on Thursday, and would you believe that was all I had left over after refreshing my containers and filling in a planter?
I was also shocked how many pots and containers I had just lying around the deck, garage, and garden from years past! I bought the large tray seedling planter you see at top for about $5 at Lowe’s, plus a few others that you just set the entire thing into the ground, but even so, I didn’t really have to spend much money on pots. The cilantro plant I dug up from my garden (yes, it was still growing in there) to make way for some tomatoes.
We’ve had this little stool just sitting in the garage FOREVER. How sweet and perfect is it here in the greenhouse?! I think so often we run out and buy new stuff without considering what we may already have that could do the trick!
The longer I have my garden, the more importance I’ve placed on seating. I adore having a cup of coffee in the morning out in my garden (OK, maybe on a sunny day!), or a place to read. I’m thinking I’ll be spending a lot of time in this greenhouse. You can zip yourself in there and it’s like magic – no one knows where you are! Mommy’s time out space!
Here’s a view of my raspberry bushes from the greenhouse:
So what will I be doing in this greenhouse? Here are a few ideas…
- Start some of my garden plants early. I’m hoping to particularly focus on jump starting my herb plantings. To my surprise, I way underplanted/under-preserved some herbs for my kitchen. I need a whole mess of parsley this year!
- Keep some things growing in there I want to control. I may experiment with growing varieties in there that I’ve struggled with out in my garden. For instance, slugs ravaged my strawberries last year and my spinach always bolts out in direct sunlight. I may try growing these in the greenhouse and compare results.
- Propagate plants. I’ve lately taken an interest in exploring plant propagation and I may use the greenhouse to try my hand at producing more plants.
- Extend the season. I hope to start plants for my fall/winter garden in the greenhouse as well as attempt to grow some things out there year round. Stay tuned.
- Grow bananas and avocados. I adore bananas and they can get really expensive…. nah, just kidding. I should be clear that this is a very very simple greenhouse. There is no heater or fan, so I’ll be holding off on the tropical and more temperamental varieties just yet. It’s also quite small, so I’m going to use this as an opportunity to learn all I can.
Oh and the kids? They totally approve.
I would really appreciate hearing from you! If you have a greenhouse, what tips/ideas can you share? Does anyone have experience with growing in a greenhouse like this one? If you are thinking of gardening or getting a greenhouse yourself, are there any questions I might answer for you?