Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The beginnings of a (sort of) greenhouse

The plants have multiplied this year. While I should have been on my best behavior due to the unemployment thing I actually ended up bringing a few more cold tender must-haves into the collection. It’s time the shade pavilion start performing double duty and keep the cold-hardy, but rain adverse, plants dry over the winter months. Plants like the Agave americana 'Variegata’ (of which I have several)
And the A. parryi truncata will be just fine outside as long as they stay dry.
The ever clever and creative husband had started formulating a plan even before I brought it up. The original design of the shade pavilion was loosely based on the pavilions at Cistus Nursery, as will be the greenhouse scheme. In the cold winter months the sides of the Cistus pavilions are “wrapped” with nice re-usable covers that keep the wind and rain out. They even go so far as to use propane heaters, we won’t be going that far (yet…).
Our first stop for supplies was at Rain or Shine on NE Airport Way here in Portland. I was very excited about the possibilities here, not only for greenhouse supplies but plant protection materials in general.
Love their plywood “works of art” planter…
But the giant Rubbermaid stock tank, not so much.
We didn’t end up finding anything that suited our purpose, but there was definitely a good assortment of gardening supplies. Like this finished green house!
Next stop, the big box stores. The plan is to have clear, rigid, corrugated PVC sheets at the ends, one of which will function as a door. Then a heavyweight clear poly sheeting up one side across the top (under the roof) and down the other side, anchored at the bottom (at least that’s the plan for now; you know how things change when you are in the middle of a project).

We got the corrugated PVC sheets, and the wooden mounting pieces. We are still tracking down the poly sheeting in the width we need.
Since there are several smallish planters some sort of shelving will be required. And nothing says “classy” quite like dorm room look of concrete blocks and wooden shelves right? However since the “floor” is rather uneven fixed shelving could be a little shaky, and this method is cheap and easy to break down and store in the spring so it seemed like a great solution.
Okay it’s time to wander around the store a bit.

Isn’t it amazing that Halloween and Christmas can be almost 2 months apart on the calendar but co-exist in the stores? The Grim Reaper, Santa and a nativity scene all sharing shelf space, it’s just odd.
Out in the garden department I noticed this employee garden. Nice idea, I’m impressed that the corporate powers that be allowed this use of space.
But it wasn’t terribly inspiring.
I’m usually anti spring bulbs but seeing the photo of the black Queen of the Night tulips reminded me how much I love these. Ok, I’ll get just a few.
Or not. Looks like others love these dramatic tulips as much as I do.
Leaving the store and noticing these trees was a shocking reminder of just how close we are to actually needing the greenhouse. The sunny dry days are dwindling and the grey rainy ones are coming. It’s time to kick this project into high gear (to be continued, as soon as we get the rest of the supplies!).


  1. That will work a treat. Got to protect your babies.

  2. I'm not loving how bare the trees are getting in that last Lowe's picture. There are some trees like that down the street from us and they are always the first to change - everything else follows a month or so later.

  3. Hi Loree, I love that corrugated stuff. My deck ceiling is made from the white panels. Light comes in but sunlight is limited. Great stuff. I think yours will look great and really help keep your babies safe and dry. I look forward to your update.

  4. Many years ago my late DH and I built a greenhouse out of PVC pipe and uv resistant greenhouse grad poly--it held up for quite awhile and was cheap, but unattractive. I still have the benches. I'm going to get one of those pop-up things this winter. I got the poly from a mail order ag supply place-it was the most expensive item in the whole project, but normal poly breaks down fast and this stuff lasted a few years.

  5. Great project and love all your agaves... was Junior in the mix?

  6. Good luck finding the rest of your supplies. I love the look around and under your pavilion.
    Anything closely related to a greenhouse makes me a tiny bit jealous....

  7. Oh SWEET! I want one too.... well one day...

    I like the dorm shelf idea! and to battle shakiness you can always level the shelves w/extra short bits of plank on the cynder blocks :)

    I am now jealous of your substantial Horticulture Supply Center :(

  8. I had not heard of this place. I just started following your blog and am loving the info I get. Thank you!

  9. I'm so excited and can't wait to see your progress! I really like the idea of the employee garden, since it helps employees to take ownership... so many big box stores are staffed with people who... well you know.

  10. Hi Loree,
    Try OBC - Oregon Bag Company for your sheets of polycarb. etc.

  11. Spiky Obsession, my spiky babies!

    D+N, can't stop mother nature...at least it helps to support your fall porch decorating!

    Grace, luckily the shade pavilion is a little tucked away behind the garage so if it doesn't look great at least it won't be an eyesore.

    ks, you and my husband are on the same page with the greenhouse poly. I think he's located a good source. I almost bought a prefab little greenhouse last spring that would have fit "side" the shade pavilion for only $99, the husband convinced me we could make something larger.

    ranchoreubidoux, no Jr looks so damn cute on the mantel and still seems very happy there so he's stayed.

    Darla, thank you!

    Mary C, it sounds like you speak from experience? (dorm shelves)

    Hi Allie, I'm glad I could share the info!

    RFG, oh I know...in fact I should have included a quote from one of the orange box employees. I was buying a couple of little succulents and he said "I just don't get why people waste money buying plants"....

    Lauren, thank you for the tip!


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