Pondering Greenhouses

My “stay-cation” starts in just a couple of days. Nine and a half days off, and seven of them are dedicated to big projects. I have seeds to start, native beds to plant, rooms to paint, rain barrel systems to build, and compost deliveries to coordinate, but the largest project on the wish list by far is a greenhouse.

If I am really going to pursue this medicinal herbs project as a money-making venture then I have to step up my scale on seed-starting. I need a place to keep seedlings protected from the strong sun, frequent torrential downpours, urban wildlife, and infrequent but damaging snap freezes. I need shelving and irrigation. I need space to store equipment. I need a greenhouse.

Fortunately, our house came ready-made with the perfect place for a greenhouse- a concrete stoop, exactly 8’x8′, where the back door of the house used to be. It’s on the north side of the house but that’s actually okay in Florida, since the front of the stoop gets 6 hours of sun even in winter due to the roof angle.  I raised my seedlings last winter in the bright shade of the north side of the house. So I know I’m looking for an 8×8 greenhouse. I have never built anything this large before, so I’ve been looking at plans and greenhouse designs all over the internet for weeks.

These are the final three plans. I really thought the barn-style plan from Ana White was going to be The One, but then I realized that the corrugated plastic runs horizontally, not vertically. I’m pretty sure that the volume of rain we get would damage the roof within a year. Also, there’s no easy way I can see to add the necessary ventilation to keep mold and fungus growth down. Parts I like: corrugated greenhouse panels + ribbing strips, roofing tin for side panels instead of wood, and the overall shape. I love the overhang roof and simple design of the recycled pallet greenhouse I found on Instructables, but no actual building plans are available. The lean-to from Icreatables might be the best design for the site- I can snug the high point of the greenhouse roof under the edge of the house roof and put a gutter on the low front edge, creating an instant flow for rain catchment for the greenhouse itself. The framing will be the same, I would just use the corrugated plastic and roofing tin instead of siding on the walls, and change the door design. I’m hoping against hope that I can find a used glass storm door.

Have you built your own greenhouse? Modified an existing greenhouse? Advice is very welcome!

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