Greenhouse Blues

There are endless possibilities when constructing a greenhouse.  I just wanted a simple structure that I could change or move whenever the mood struck.

In fact, I wasn’t sure if I wanted a greenhouse at all when I started looking at vents, and fans and raised beds. I thought about building a structure on skids. I considered metal tubing for a solid frame. I cringed at the thought of my horrible hammering skills. I researched the library extensively. Yet after all of this, I did not follow any of the self help books, plans that used hundreds of parts and tools, or the websites that made my head hurt. What I ended up with isn’t really a greenhouse, it is more like a large cold frame that converts as the weather changes. We refer to it as our glass house.

I wanted the structure to consist of the aluminum pane windows that had been salvaged and are lightweight and easily moveable. The frame is only 4 t-posts. I used a few salvaged beams with notches, it is a Lincoln log effect holding the structure together. The sides and top are windows that can be moved or removed easily so that when the hot summer sun beats down the plants are not burned to a crisp.


The mild weather of the Willamette Valley makes this structure, simple though it is, worth it’s weight in tomatoes. I am able to begin harvesting a couple of weeks earlier, and a few weeks later when the weather turns cooler in the late summer. Frosts in this area can happen as soon as early September. I cover the entire structure with a canvas tarp and the tomatoes continue to ripen on the plants that are no longer growing. I had fresh tomatoes until November one year.

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