Last year I was worried with my succulents. Fall was here and getting cold and wet, soon they’d need shelter. The small plastic greenhouse I’d bought the year before was a little bit too small for all my babies. 😀
Doing some research in the Internet, soon was clear that a really nice greenhouse was out of my reach. I started looking for some DIY kit, where I could buy the basic structure and work on the rest myself.
After some time (a loooot really), I finally decided that it would be a portable greenhouse. If we move to another place, I could carry it with me. I decided that a 6 feet by 6 feet greenhouse would be great, even bigger than I expected.
Well, I had the size and the type of greenhouse I wanted, and had a small budget (no more than US$400). I made a list of places where I could find a good deal and buy my greenhouse. I wanted to have it ready before the winter.
Yay! I’d have a greenhouse!
I was looking everyday on Amazon, Houzz, WayFair, for my 6×6 feet greenhouse. Then one day, Houzz had a number of greenhouses for sale! The one I wanted was now around US$ 350! It fitted my budget nicely. Well, looking better, yes, the 6×6 feet greenhouse was US$350, but the 8×6 feet was just 20 bucks more! Whole 2 feet more… hummmm… I bought the 8×6 feet, of course. Maybe it was a bit too much. We have some space in the backyard, but still, I wouldn’t use so much space, right?!?
Houzz delivered the greenhouse really fast, but it’s split in 3 big boxes and a ridiculous amount of pieces and panels. No big deal, got everything in the backyard and started reading the manual. I was expecting a really simple manual. I was reading all the reviews about the greenhouse in the Internet and a lot of people complained about the manual. OK, the manual was more than simple. To not have to translate it in multiple languages, they made it using just drawings and not very good ones.
What I expected to be a weekend task ended up being a month! Mostly because I had to do during the weekends and when I had some time during the week. Using the manual was worse than reading code without comments or documentation. I got stuck some times and asked for Felipe’s help. He would look at my wannabe greenhouse, check the manual for 2 seconds and determine that I got some pieces, that seemed to be identical, in the wrong side, wrong place… meh. Some days I just got stuck because I need an extra pair of arms: I couldn’t hold the pieces, assembly the roof and tighten screws with just two hands. How cool would be being a Kraken now.
The idea was to keep it simple and just have the greenhouse on the grass. I had an artificial grass carpet that you can see in the initial pictures, but nope, not so easy. The soil was too irregular and I couldn’t risk all my cute little pots crashing in the floor. Crunching some numbers, walking some extra dogs, I decided to buy a platform. I could put my greenhouse on it and finish it, finally. This part was frustrating, or because all platforms were crazy expensive, way more than I paid for the greenhouse or were shitty.
I’m proud to be a DIY kind of person. Sure that having a woodworker as a dad gave me the courage to go even more hands on in this project. The worst part was to learn all this crazy shit that is the imperial measurement system to be able to buy the lumber and tools I needed. Let’s say I spent a long time walking around Home Depot and Lowe’s with a notepad and a measuring tape.
Soon was clear that I couldn’t find lumber in the exact size I needed. I was so mad, and was thinking that if I lived near my dad, he could have the lumber ready in a heartbeat. After a “fuck this shit” moment, I bought a circular saw at Amazon. Even buying the saw and the lumber, I still spent less then US$100 making the floor. The cheapest platform I found was around $200 and it wouldn’t fit perfectly.
Shelves, shelves, shelves
For the interior, I’m still use the raw wood crates I had before. I get them at Michael’s, for US$10 each, and now I can find even painted crates for the same price.
During the winter, all my succulents should be inside. I added some other shelves to keep the bigger pots there too. Lowe’s had some good shelves pretty cheap. The plastic shelf was US$17 and the metal one was US$20.
We are mid winter here and the greenhouse is doing a great job. The greenhouse keeps my plants protected from the rain, cold and frost. We don’t have to worry about snow here, so this greenhouse is good enough, I believe that with snow I’d need a lot more than that.
December was raining a lot and I don’t let the greenhouse open when I’m not around. Long story involving lots of little-bastards-succulent-murderers-squirrels. The greenhouse was too humid inside and succulents don’t do well with humidity. An Eva-dry E-500 Renewable Mini Dehumidifier from Amazon for US$20 that doesn’t require power is doing a great job. I added screen to the small window too, so I can keep it open when it’s not raining.
When I finished I was so proud! I wanted to have a succulent tea party and call my crazy plant ladies friends!! Like that doll tea parties we had when I was a kid. Maybe next spring.