I always dreamed of having a greenhouse when I retired. With blessings from my wife, that dream came true when I bought myself an 8×12 ft Sunshine Gardenhouse greenhouse as a retirement present. After doing a lot of research, and seeing some in person, I settled on this make and model. It has a redwood frame, and the panels are twinwall polycarbonate. Once I got it installed and started using it, I now wonder why I waited so long!
This is a do-it-yourself kit that I put together in about a week, with a little help from my wife. I liked the fact that this kit did not require a permanent foundation. The greenhouse sits on a base made from recycled plastic, which is then anchored to the ground.
The worst part for me was getting on the ladder to get the roof trusses installed, an event my wife couldn’t wait to capture for the ages.
Once they were all attached, it was time to start attaching the side panels.
The last step was to attach the roof panels, which meant another harrowing session on the step ladder! Did I mention I don’t like ladders?
The finished greenhouse was well worth the effort. I was impressed with the construction and design of this product, and the instructions (including a video) were clear and easy to understand.
A few days after I finished assembly of the greenhouse, we got our first snow of the year. I had gotten it done just in time! Now I will go into some of the finishing touches I gave it to customize it to our needs.
Inside the house, about half the floor space is occupied by benches, and the other half is planting beds. I attached metal shelves below the roof to hold flats of plants. I can squeeze in about 30 flats of plants on the shelves and benches.
Outside the greenhouse, I made raised beds along one side and the back. Measuring 4 feet wide by 28 feet long, they add 112 feet of growing space to the area. The other side of the greenhouse has 2 large trash containers that are filled with potting mixes, plus some plant stands. The photo below also shows the two large roof vents that open automatically when the greenhouse gets warm.
A year after installation, the redwood is aging nicely, and the greenhouse is lively and full of plants in spring.
Inside the greenhouse, one 3×5 ft bed and another 3×7 ft bed provide 36 square feet of intensely planted, year-round growing space. In cooler weather they’re home to a variety of greens, and in summer I plant part of the space in trellised cucumbers.
I sent the following photo to my former IT teammates who are still working at the salt mine, so to speak. I told them this is how I had always imagined retirement – drinking my morning coffee and reading the paper in a nice warm greenhouse!
Thanks to my wife for photographing the construction effort, and letting me use some of the photos here.