Friday, March 21, 2014

Spring Gardener Greenhouse

I know, I know, this is a book blog. So, what am I doing posting about greenhouses of all subjects?

Well, now we have the house with lots of yard-space and a vegetable garden under construction. So, I've wanted to have a greenhouse for a few years now - especially now I'm planning to start growing things from seeds, rather than buying everything in pots in order to save money.

There was no way we could easily build one from scratch, but we saw a nice little kit at the store: the Spring Gardener Greenhouse kit, which bills itself to be easy to assemble with no tools needed.

Two windows open, showing the bug netting
that covers the inside.
 Of the three sizes available, we decided on the middle one: 8 feet wide by 10 feet long by 8 feet high in the middle. The other two sizes were 6x8x7 and 10x20x9, which we decided would be way too large for our needs.

Our initial impressions of the setup:
Very simple and easy to do, although even with the labeling of the poles and joints, it is possible to connect them wrong. It's easy to fix though, as all the pieces are connected by wing-nut bolts - as they say, no tools (other than a stepladder) needed.

Overall, it took us about at most two hours to assemble and pull the covering fabric over the frame. And then, the two of us were easily able to lift and carry the greenhouse for short distances to get it put in exactly the spot we wanted it. The ladder was used in two places: tightening the bolts along the roof-line, which were out of my reach, and also for making it easier to lift the cover over the roof.
The Spring Gardener Greenhouse end view
with both doors rolled open and fastened up.

We've anchored it down with tent-pegs, and that seems to be holding the greenhouse firmly. One very important thing while anchoring the greenhouse: make sure that the legs are not splayed outwards at all, or the zippers on the doors won't close.

Other than that, which was about a ten minute fix at most, everything with the greenhouse is working as it should be: the doors zip and unzip nicely, the velcro for the windows works, and what's more, it's definitely warmer inside the greenhouse than it is outside.

Now I just have to come up with some plant stands and or a workbench/table for inside so I can work in there as well as having a place for all the seedlings and their little pots to sit.

Once seedling season is over, I'm planning to use the greenhouse for growing tomatoes and peppers - neither of which I've had much luck with in the past in other gardens. On balconies though, it's been a slightly different story - so maybe the extra warmth of the greenhouse will be the trick.

What are your favorite vegetables to grow in the greenhouse? I'd love to know, because I'm sure it's useful for more than just tomatoes and peppers.

I'd also love to know how effective or not a greenhouse is at extending the growing season into the fall and winter for things like lettuces and other greens.

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