Tuesday 26 May 2009


After what seems to have been a few weeks of continual rain since the greenhouse arrived we finally got three days of glorious sun over the bank holiday giving us the perfect chance to put our building skills to the test.

In many ways it was far far easier to build than we expected, in fact erecting the actual greenhouse frame and putting the glass on could have been done in a single afternoon really. What took the time was building the foundations and, oddly enough, building the door.

As you can see from the pics in the previous post we'd already got the area of the garden it was to be built on all marked out so the next thing to do was dig a trench for the foundations. We didn't go too deep, about 10cm seemed to be enough, although the garden is on a slight slope which meant we needed to dig a bit deeper at the far end.

Then we filled the trench with concrete and levelled it all off with the aid of a long plank of wood and a spirit level. Written down like that it sounds like a simple job but it actually took an age as mixing concrete by hand is small wheelbarrow loads isn't as easy or quick as it sounds! It didn't help that I underestimated how much concrete mix we'd need. Twice. Meaning two extra trips to Homebase to pick up additional supplies. D'oh.

When funds allow we'd like to run a power cable from the house into the greenhouse so we can put in a heater/fan. With that in mind I had the bright idea of sinking a couple of bits of tubing into the foundations so we don't have to drill holes into the greenhouse base to get the cable inside when we get round to doing it. You can seem them on the side nearest the fence, hopefully they'll come in very handy at some point.

Once the concrete was dry (we left it for 24 hours, it probably should have been a little more in an ideal world but we wanted to finish it all in the three day bank holiday) it was time to get to work with the greenhouse itself. First off we build the base and put it in position making sure it was level as well as perfectly square. Then we started building the four sides of the main structure under the watchful gaze of our parrot Monty who kept an eye on us while he enjoying the warm weather.

As I mentioned earlier it was all remarkably easy to put together once we got started and it wasn't too long before we had the sides all up and attached to the base as well as each other. Suddenly it was looking very greenhouse like.

The roof was next and proved just as easy to add, although we did have a little crisis when the central beam slipped as we were bolting it in place catching Melanie on the hand leaving a nasty bruise and sliced finger. A big plaster and some TLC later and it was time to start putting the glass in place. Again this was nice and easy, simply a case of laying the pane of glass in place and clipping it down with the supplied wire clips. Despite being easy enough to fit the sheer number of clips needed did leave us with very sore hands by the time we'd finished, not a job we want to do again in a hurry.

The door was the last thing to build and proved to be the worst part of the entire process because the supplied screws were simply impossible to get into the metal door frame. After over an hour of huffing and puffing I'd only managed to get 4 of the 16 in place. So, with the light fading and a growing sense of frustration, I poured a beer gave up for the night.

Monday morning and call to my parents enlisted the help of my Dad who, as all Dad's seem to, owns a seemingly endless supply of different sized screws. A quick rummage through his box of delights and we found a selection of slightly shorter screws with stronger heads that did the job in about ten minutes. With Dads help we completed the job by getting the door onto its runners and added some silicone sealant in strategic places to keep things a bit more waterproof then we were finally finished.

Well, almost finished, a quick trip to the garden centre later and we had some bags of compost and edging to build the 'L' shaped bed inside the greenhouse we're going to grow in. Once this was built we finally planted our many (slightly leggy) tomato plants as well as the cucumbers, peppers, chills and melons we had growing in the house and stood back to admire all our hard work.

Next weekend we're going to put some paving slabs down to create a proper floor and then there's the entrance area outside the door where I want to put a step in and make it look nice and tidy so we're still not quite finished, but it's up and operational now which is the main thing and we're pretty chuffed with how it's worked out.


dND said...

Well done, that looks brilliant.

Shaheen said...

May you have many red, fat and juicy tomatoes in years to come!

Gary and Jen, and Ruby and Peter said...

I'm green with envy.

Job well done I reckon!

Amy said...

Well done! You made it look very straight forward. Hope you get a bumper tomato crop

Jo said...

It's looking great, and all planted up already!

Anonymous said...

looks great! Thoses clips are real pesky little sods! They ping out aswell! Hope a well desereved beer was drunk after construction! Cat @ manor Stables

Julie A. Carda said...

You did an amazing job on your greenhouse and your allotment.No new news? How is the harvest coming along? Just curious since you are beginning this grand adventure it's fun to hear the story.

Kim said...

Wow, it looks fantastic! Well done :)

wellrooted said...

About time for an update isn't it?