From the Ground Up!


Feb 25, 2001


The Bottom Line It's easy, and fun, will provide a lifetime of memories [see story below]

A greenhouse is a fun family project and a great addition to any home. It's not required to spend a lot of money to build a working green house, you can do it from scrap materials if you know what to look for.

The greenhouse I'm going to describe to you, is one my father built about 25 years ago out of scraps he would pick up from place to place. Of course there are fancy kits available, but here in the south gardening is a hobby for some people while a means of life for others. Most folks don't have several thousand dollars to invest in manufactured fancy buildings so we make do with what we have. Which is exactly what my Daddy did!

To start with, lay off your spot. Ours was 8' x 10' in the back yard. It is not a must to include a concrete floor, but it is very helpful down the road if you start with a good concrete foundation. Besides that a couple bags of ready mix concrete, a little elbow grease, and a trowel is not that costly!

Now you do have to frame your structure. I'm not a builder so I'm not going to attempt to tell you how to build a building of any kind, but my daddy used some rough 2x4s he bought at the local hardware for framing. Next comes the walls. There are many products you can use for walls of a greenhouse or hothouse as it was called, but Dad being the scavenger he was, found some windows from a demolished building at a local salvage store and bought them for $3.00 each. He never quit bragging about that! He found em at a friends junk yard [salvage store] asked how much ya want for dem winders.... I dunno how much you give me for em? Daddy said three dollars a piece, the old man said I'll give you 3 dollars to haul em off!!! Thus far, we now have a greenhouse with sides.

He had to ponder a bit about the roof, but he decided fiberglass panels would make a sturdy and yet workable roof. I can't remember where he got his fiberglass panels but in a couple of days, the greenhouse had a good roof made from 2 ft by 4 ft milky white panels.

He built shelving around 3 sides of his greenhouse about waist high leaving room to hang potted plants from the rafters. oh, I forgot to mention his door. He used an old storm door he had replaced on the house a few months back. I'm too much like my dad I keep everything too, down to margarine tubs and foam meat trays. :) More about this later in this article.

He of course ran electricity to the greenhouse for fan ventilation in hot weather and because he would start his seedlings in February he had to have a heater in there for those cold spring nights. He had every kind of plant in that little green house you could imagine from every type of veggie, several variations of each to flowers galore!!!

For my Dad, this was a hobby, however for a lot of folks in these parts, gardening is a way of life. He would rather have given his plants away to family and friends than to make a dollar. He even raised night crawlers in the yard, but that's a different story for a different epinion! What a proud man he was for a friends to stop by and say "hey Bill, got any mater plants"? Well sure I do, come on in! He would then proceed to tell the story about his $3.00 winders and how he built his greenhouse FROM THE GROUND UP!
They would leave with a flat of "big boy" tomatoes and whatever else he could load off on them that day.

As for me, this is a childhood memory I will forever cherish. Working in my dad's handmade greenhouse, raising the seeds that later that summer we would pick the harvest from his huge garden. Nothing better than setting under a shade tree in July and breaking up beans, or shucking home grown sweet corn! Makes me want to laugh and cry all at the same time just remembering.

Mercy sakes I have gotten way off my topic here, but to regress back to what I intended to originally write about...You can build a workable, functional, greenhouse with minimal costs that will provide an educational, exciting, and family experience. Playing in dirt, watering plants, watching things grow, then harvesting the fruits of your labor! If more children had this type of opportunity today, I think the world could be a lot better place. I'm so happy I did!

Disclaimer: Everything in this article is true, nothing but the truth, so help me God. Names have not been changed to protect the guilty!!! :)

This review was written in satire,in loving memory of my dear Father, U.W.[Bill] Richardson February 1, 1925 - January 10, 1992 Sadly missed by Mom, Glenda, Bill, William & Michael.

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