Our Greenhouse

Our Greenhouse

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.

assembling the end walls

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.

attaching roof trusses

Once they were all attached, it was time to start attaching the side panels.

attaching the side panels

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?

up on the roof

up on the roof

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.

finished greenhouse

finished greenhouse

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.

January 2008 – snowy beginning

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.

shelving inside greenhouse

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.

raised bed construction

A year after installation, the redwood is aging nicely, and the greenhouse is lively and full of plants in spring.

Spring 2009 – front view of greenhouse, with beds at left

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.

beds inside the greenhouse

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!

Ahh, I love retirement!

Thanks to my wife for photographing the construction effort, and letting me use some of the photos here.

13 Responses to Our Greenhouse

  1. Kelly says:

    What a nice looking greenhouse, enjoy!!

  2. Brian Smith says:

    I am new to your site my wife and I love it…Thanks to Amy A (AKA Raven Lunatic) our neighbour for leading us in your direction.

    My question is which dealer did you get your greenhouse from… I have contacted the 2 listed in their dealer locator and they no longer carry. I emailed Sunshine Gardehouse on Monday but no response yet… Can you help



    • Dave says:

      Welcome Brian!

      I ordered the greenhouse from Greenhouses.com. I was pleased with their service and with the help I got from Sunshine Gardenhouse. The greenhouse came with a DVD that detailed the installation steps.

  3. Ron says:

    Good morning from E. TN. As someone approaching retirement in two years, a fledgling raised bed gardner, and hopeful future owner of a small greenhouse, and someone who could really, really get into being in a warm outdoor greenhouse in the winter drinking coffee and reading the paper……. I just wanted to says thanks for your site. You are keeping the fire burning inside me to yearn for retirement. Hopefully I can balance this wish against a desire to not miss each and every day between then and now. All the best. r

    • Dave says:

      Thanks Ron! I know what you mean about dealing with the time before retirement. I found it flew by pretty quickly though, what with all the planning I needed to do. It helps to have a good idea what you are going to do when you stop working. I was lucky – I have so many hobbies and interests that I am busier now than when I was working!

  4. Brenda says:

    Hi there!
    First, I want to tell you how much I love your site! I was just reading your lettuce experiment. That is great stuff! I have a question about your greenhouse. You said that it automatically vents if it gets too hot inside. How did you do that? That is very cool!

  5. Hi, I somehow came across your blog after searching roasted garlic bits on google. I have to say that I spent hours reading your blog and loved every minute of it. My husband just separated from the air force and we have two children with Autism and one on the way. We first began to see the light on a healthy lifestyle when we were stationed in Okinawa, Japan. We started to eat a plant based diet and over the past 2 years have seen our children improve greatly and ourselves. Since than we were stationed in Spokane, Washington.. and now in Jacksonville, North Carolina. We are both now full time college students and really interested in becoming a self-sustainable family. I want to say thank you for all of the wonderful blog posts and thank you for teaching us all kinds of new stuff since were definitely newbies when it comes to being self sustainable.

    • Dave says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words! And best of luck to your family as it works towards a self-sustainable life.

  6. Doug Eglen says:

    Was trolling the internet for Indiana growers of garlic and came across your site. It’s great. Thank you for taking the time to record your life experiences.
    I retired 3 years ago and like you am now very busy with my ‘hobbies’. Hope to read more of your site when I have time!

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