March 14, 2018, Rose Hill Farm
by Claudia Johnson,
The dilemma of what to do with the plants I had cultivated all summer came up every year when the cold began to set in. I would leave them out as long as possible, and some I knew were not going to make it, but the begonias, succulents and a few others, I definitely wanted to save. After a couple of years of bringing all those we hoped to save inside the house, my husband and I decided it was time to really look at a greenhouse.
Here were some of my major concerns and considerations during my almost obsessive search and comparison phase:
- cost of original materials and ongoing maintenance
- where to purchase; shipping or pick up
- size, materials, design of greenhouse
- difficulty of construction
- where to locate the greenhouse on my property for safety and sunlight
- impact of weather and climate on the greenhouse itself and the plants inside it
There are many sites dedicated to selecting a hobby greenhouse, and I must have read 50 of them. At one point I even talked myself out of doing it at all because I felt so overwhelmed. Reading reviews of various products and taking into consideration all the pros and cons was just to much to consider, and I thought I was probably making a mistake altogether.
The the fall of 2017 was approaching, and all my beautiful plants were in danger of being lost or being brought inside again for another overwintering, Danny and I decided we would choose and buy a small greenhouse. There are numerous guides for choosing a hobby greenhouse that pop up for download in Google searches for “hobby greenhouse,” and many of them are guides from various states’ agricultural extension services that are written with the state’s climate, terrain and other specifics in mind. Tennessee’s is available for download HERE, and would be a great guide no matter where the greenhouse is to be located with adjustments for temperatures, of course.
Finally, we decided on the Palram Harmony 6 ft. x 8 ft. polycarbonate greenhouse. It had the highest reviews from verified purchasers on most of the sites that sell it. Here were some of the features that we liked:
- Even though we knew that the first year we would not be able to leave the plants in the greenhouse all winter because many nights in our area fall below freezing, the green house would extend the growing season by several months, enabling us to leave the plants in the greenhouse longer and move them from the protection of indoors sooner until we could begin to heat the greenhouse between November and April.
- The twin-wall polycarbonate panels are virtually unbreakable, easier to install than glass and provide 100% UV protection
- Downspout allows for collection of rainwater by simply attaching a house and directing to a rain barrel
- The rust resistant aluminum frame came in several colors, so we chose green
- The galvanized base kit gives allows for anchoring the greenhouse to a wood or concrete foundation
- An adjustable roof vent was included in the price and designed to allow various degrees of ventilation
- The door handle fit securely into a special groove in the frame to keep the door open while moving plants in and out
- We had a choice of several sizes, but the 6 ft. x 8 ft. worked best for our budget and location
- The interior design included attachments for hanging plants and shelving, both of which were optional purchases we did not make but liked that we could in the future
The price for the Palram Harmony 6 ft. x 8 ft. was in a similar range for many of the DIY, big box and online stores – around $650 not including the (optional) anchor kit or shipping. Shipping became a factor, since ordering online usually drove up the price with shipping being added or shipping being included in the overall higher price under the guise of “free shipping.” We chose to purchase online from Home Depot and take advantage of the free shipping to our local store, where we could pick it up in our own truck.
A burst of luck at the exact moment we started to make the purchase made us glad we had chosen Home Depot. The greenhouse was on sale for $499, so with tax it was $547.65. The anchor kit was $70 plus tax, and we ordered it from Amazon Prime so it could be delivered to the house with free two-day shipping.
The flooring became a concern. We did not want to pour concrete or use rocks, so my Daddy suggested just flooring it with the same 12″x12″ terra cotta colored square concrete pavers we had used for the back door flower garden. They were around $1.10 each, and we needed 48, so the price was more affordable than having concrete poured and could be picked up from Home Depot in the truck. Another plus was that if we ever wanted to move the greenhouse, the floor could be moved too.
In our next post, my husband will discuss preparation and installation of the greenhouse. Follow us on www.barkybeaver.com/luxsgarden to follow the progress this amateur gardener and the quest for a greenhouse.
This is not my greenhouse, but it is a video that shows the same one I have and shows the features to help in decision making.
I bought these sturdy metal units with four adjustable shelves to use for wintering my plants inside before I bought the greenhouse.
The anchor kit is a separate buy, but it is worth it if you live in an area subject to strong winds like we do.
Rainwater can be captured using this gutter and downspout system on the greenhouse.
The door allow for locking and latches in a way that prevents it from being accidentally opened, keeping unwanted visitors outside.