Pop-up Green House: Kick it up a Notch with Winter Farming

1 - Top Soil & River RocksJoe and I purchased a portable greenhouse kit right  before New Year’s Eve.   We also purchased several bags of top soil and river rock to condition the site where we planned to install the greenhouse.

3 - Full FrameThe greenhouse consists of two main parts — 1. A galvanized steel frame (assembly required) and 2. A mesh cover which fits over the frame like a tent.  We assembled the frame in stages in our driveway.

6 - Leveling Frame with RocksWe then moved the frame to the installation site in our backyard.  We leveled the ground with the topsoil and river rocks.  We also placed several large rocks under the frame to serve as a foundation.

Once we were satisfied with the integrity of the base, we installed the cover.  It was amazingly easy to manipulate the cover even though the wind was quite strong.8 - Installing the Mesh Cover

The kit included anchor brackets with stakes.  We were not impressed with the stakes that came with the kit, and purchased longer, beefier stakes from Lowes.10 - Close up of Anchor Bracket

We added river rocks and large rocks around the exterior of the greenhouse so it would blend into the existing landscape.   We will add some ornamental grasses in the spring to help beautify the installation and blend it into our potager garden.

We have been very satisfied with the durability and integrity of the frame, cover, and anchor brackets (with updated stakes).  The greenhouse survived two major snowstorms that dumped 10 inches (early January) and 7+ inches (last night) within a 24-hour period.  It’s easy to clear the snow off by gently prodding the ceiling from inside the greenhouse.  14 - Exterior with Christmas Tree in BackgroundWe use a small broom.  The snow slides easily off the exterior walls of the cover.

The greenhouse is quite roomy inside — the dimensions are 78-3/4 in. L x 118 in. H x 84 in. W.  We are mainly using the greenhouse to grow microgreens, but will also use it to start vegetable and herb seedlings for the garden.  We purchased some shelving units to hold the microgreen trays.

15 - Flats of Microgreens in Trays

Arctic temperatures (due to the polar vortex phenomenon) have been challenging.  Our initial trays of microgreens frosted over and failed to germinate.  We purchased a space heater to maintain temperatures above freezing.  The space heater keeps up with external temperatures down to about 15 F. but the soil frosts over when it drops below that.

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About Candace

My name is Candace Nigh. I am a wife, Mom, sister, social worker, hiker, engineer, and sleep champion. Passionate about social justice, public policy, and American History. Blog about sustainable urban farming. Creator of Garlic Celery Carrots: https://garliccelerycarrots.wordpress.com
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6 Responses to Pop-up Green House: Kick it up a Notch with Winter Farming

  1. Katie says:

    Candy – this is so cool! I’ve been telling Denis I want him to build me one out of PVC pipe and plastic. I like galvanized steel better maybe?

    • Candace says:

      Katie – we’ve been impressed with this greenhouse. If the size is large enough; it might be a good solution for you. Galvanized steel is probably stronger than PVC pipe, but I think the PVC pipe would work.

      Do you have a Tractor Supply Company near you? That’s where we purchased ours. We will probably build some cold frames for next year as well and garden thru the entire winter. Stuff like kale, chard, carrots, parsnips.

      We purchased a book by Niki Jabbour. She lives in Canada and has pictures of harvesting veggies with several inches of snow on the ground. Here is a link to her blog: http://yearroundveggiegardener.blogspot.com/

  2. Robbie says:

    I am so excited to see you develop your space. I have been with our site since 2003 + now I do move some things, but it is pretty much all in place. This will be fun watching you travel down this road + I can go through it myself again + learn some new things, for example, what a great g reen house! I start my seedlings inside under lights, but I developed my space before I thought about a green house-lol-you are thinking ahead. I have a south facing sun room, so I have been using that for my green house:-)…you are planning better than I did!:-)

    • Candace says:

      Robbie – We would have grown stuff indoors, but one of our cats has a destructive streak. We had a cilantro plant in our kitchen, and he uprooted it and knocked the potting soil all over the floor. So we decided to move our operations outdoors to a greenhouse. I’m looking forward to spending some more time on your blog to see what all you’ve been up to. Thank you so much for visiting Garlic Celery Carrots.

      • Robbie says:

        I totally understand! I have 3 rescue cats + 3 rescue dogs! I have found the cats bother plants/ seedlings , and if I am using fish+ seaweed emulsion for fertlizer with seedlings they are always trying to get to the plants. I have them in a rack system which they can’t get to easily.It is an adventure! You just learn along the way.
        I can’t have any flowers that might be toxic in vases, they will try to eat or push the vases over at times! I am looking forward to reading about your growing + greenhouse this year:-)

  3. steven1111 says:

    Congratulations Candace, on building your greenhouse! We built one a few years ago, (see here: http://gardeningingreenwood.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/building-the-greenhouse/ ) and have found it a wonderful place to grow all sorts of things. I start seeds and keep a few hot peppers over the winter as well as my tea shrubs that I intend to plant out this year I think. It’s getting time to start seeds soon now for us, probably for you too, maybe? I still have so much to learn about how to do seeds right but I love to grow them. I hope your greenhouse brings you years of good food and joy just hanging out in it, especially in the rain! 😉
    peace and happy growing!
    Steve

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