Skipping over the initial groundbreaking, setting the timber foundation, lining it and filling it with gravel, below you can see the framework starting to go up.
The greenhouse walls are made up of two layers of acrylic, a corrugated inner layer and a smooth outer layer. I thought the protective blue coverings on the smooth panels were interesting. The static made them fun to pull off, too.
Lower panels going in.
Here you can see the sides of the door frame and three walls with both smooth and corrugated panels inserted. The third wall only has the smooth panels at this point, showing the difference adding the corrugated panels makes.
The walls are completed and the lower vent is inserted.
I took a day off one weekend to attend the open garden at Rare Plant Research. Meanwhile, my father and brother built the roof and attached the door.
Someone thought it would make an interesting statement to leave the blue protective layers on the door.
I disagreed. Annoyingly, the blue layer went under the door frame along the edges. I had to take a knife and carefully cut the blue plastic along the frame without scratching the glass.
The next weekend, I set up the benches, and that was the last anyone did with the greenhouse for several weeks.
Jump forward to last weekend and the electricity has been connected so the thermostat, fan, and vents can function to help regulate the temperature. The shade cloth also helps keep it slightly cooler and protects the plants that are now in it from the brightest rays of the sun.
My mother got the drop on me and was actually the first one to put plants in the greenhouse. The trays of soil in the photo below hold lettuce and parsley seeds.
Also among the first plants in the greenhouse are these two peppers I started from seed. They got a very late start (obviously) and I don't expect to get anything out of them. I expected the greenhouse to be ready weeks before it was, in which case there might have been a chance of getting one or two peppers off of them. At this point it's just an experiment to see how fast they will grow in the greenhouse. Next spring I'll be able to start seeds early and have big plants to put in the vegetable garden. For the curious, the plant on the left is 'Alma Paprika' and the one on the right is 'Jimmy Nardello'. Last summer I grew the same two types, planted earlier in the garden but still a bit late, and both produced ample crops of peppers that didn't quite have time to ripen. The early start afforded by the greenhouse should take care of that next time around.
The cedar benches now hold just a few houseplants (maybe 2-3 dozen) as well as a few plants I've propagated for fun, like four Begonia 'Little Brother Montgomery' that will hopefully go to good homes this fall.
Taller plants and those that I was more worried about exposing to even the reduced light through the shade cloth went under the other bench. Still lots of room. I am a bit dissatisfied with the benches, though. Attractive and spacious as they are, I wish I could customize them a bit. What if I had some taller plants that wouldn't fit on or under the shelves? I do have lots of little plants and with my tendency to propagate plants, horizontal space will soon be limited. I've been thinking a set of smaller shelves half the depth of the benches, either simply set on top of the benches or possibly mounted to the wall above the benches, would be useful for smaller plants, seeds, and cuttings.
Still to be done in the greenhouse: connecting the sink to the water line, attaching the hose, etc. The kit came with a small automatic drip irrigation system. I may set that up at some point but the plants that are currently in the greenhouse are so varied that hand-watering is the only way to go. Most of these plants will be coming back inside before summer is over, but others might just stay to enjoy the heat and light so they can grow faster than they would inside. In winter the plan is to keep it above freezing, but not really warm, so anything truly tropical will have to come inside. Most of my vireya rhododendrons, agapetes, and a few other things will enjoy a cool, humid greenhouse this winter over a warm, dry house, though. Now it's time to start looking through seed catalogs for next year!