If you think this post was a long time coming, you should have watched our building progress.
Essentially, my only building experience up to this point was four years of week-long crash-course carpentry during my time with Project Appalachia, one of La Salle’s renowned and incredible service trips. We’ll get more into this amazing little adventure and how it essentially made me want to be a farmer later (in two weeks, when the next batch of kids is heading down to Harlan, KY).
The point here is that we needed to frame two end walls, with little to no understanding of geography, leveling (this was my fault completely – I hate using levels so I just don’t), or most of Glenn’s tools (at the outset – after some tinkering Matt became handy with all the tools at his disposal).
After some discussion about what this frame should look like within the scope of the hoops, we picked a basic model a number of folks use in greenhouses. We built one wall outside and the other in Glenn’s sweet back garage, though it wasn’t until later that we realized that springing for extra-long screws instead of settling for free nails would have made a sturdier frame in probably a third of the time it took us. Ah well. Next time.
So we fit these frames under the hoops and attached them with metal strapping to the hoops. We then covered one wall with plastic by stapling old drip tape from last year’s irrigation over the plastic and into the wooden studs. On the front end we covered the frame with plywood and created a space for the door.
Through all this, Strider insisted on being very involved in all our processes. Which included pretty much moving in to Matt’s bedroom with him. That dog shunned his family and spent the weeks of Greenhouse Parts I&II in a fine display of ridiculous dog enthusiasm and traitordom.
Before the walls were built, we collected some old fence boards and attached them to the sides of the greenhouse with metal strapping to create a base for the wall plastic. At some point Glenn and Matt were actually dismantling some of our house fence to do this, further evidence of our family’s unraveling.
We had to wait a few days to get a day without wind – and by this time it had snowed so it was snowy inside the greenhouse and we are still contending with that a bit – before unrolling our 6ml greenhouse wall plastic from Agriculture Solutions. We stapled the front end of the plastic to the front plywood through more drip tape, and then began to travel down the sides of the greenhouse doing the same with the baseboards.
I cannot really explain how long and daunting a process this was as we desperately pulled to tighten each section, swore and got furious when it wouldn’t tighten as we’d hoped, and how many staples we pulled out and put it again before we got the hang of it.
There’s still some air movement within that plastic, and we probably could have made it tighter with a couple extra hands pulling (but where’s the fun in that?) but by God, we did it. And it’s warm inside, folks. And beautiful, and ours.
Yesterday Donna and I filled in the gaps between the baseboards on the sides and the ground with wet newspaper and sod to block the air from getting up and under the inside of the plastic. She was excited to be getting her hands dirty, and it is well worth it to bask in the heat inside that structure in the middle of February.
Other things happened during this time that I will save for next week’s blog fodder: Matt built greenhouse benches, we created a heating bed with sand and some soil heating cables, all my seed arrived, I assembled a solar cooker one night while he perfected his Wii Tennis. He’s back home in Indiana again, but still advising with seeding, manure, and all those farm things he understands a lot better than I do.
But there is a greenhouse. And about a billion other things to do. But there is a greenhouse.