Last year towards the end of the seedling season, a tropical storm blew through Tilghman ripping the plastic off of half of the greenhouse. So my lil’ greenhouse needed all new plastic across the top and on the ends.
There really isn’t any local place on the Eastern Shore to buy greenhouse supplies. So once or twice a year I take a road trip up to Pennsylvania to shop at Nolts. They had all the plastic and hardware I needed to fix up my greenhouse. There are many great companies that you can order greenhouse materials from but with the plastic and wire bases being 8 feet long shipping can be complicated.
In the beginning of March it was finally dry enough to work on the greenhouse. Since we needed to replace the plastic, which in this instance involved removing everything down to the frame, we decided to make some other changes while we were at it. We changed the direction the greenhouse is facing, before the wind constantly blew on the doors weakening the end walls, so now the hope is that the wind blows up and over the greenhouse reducing the strain on the structure. We were also able to expand the growing space slightly from 200 sq ft to 240 sq ft.
I’m lucky to have an extremely experienced builder for a father, who graciously helped me on this greenhouse project. He made sure everything was straight and level, including building two sets of new sturdy doors for the greenhouse. My husband, Juan Carlos, used to paint houses back in the day which came in handy when I quickly realized that I have never really used a paint roller before, making me very inefficient in covering the bare wood with white paint. He had all the wood beautifully painted in no time at all.
Then we measured, cut and screwed on all the wiggle wire tracks. The wiggle wire and it’s track is what holds the plastic on to the greenhouse frame. I’m not sure who invented this system but it is brilliant. Next we added really long ground anchors so this lovely house doesn’t fly away with the breezy conditions we have here in Tilghman.
After what felt like a bazillion days of rebuilding the greenhouse the morning finally came to actually put the plastic on. Even with a small greenhouse like mine (10’x24’) you need to attach the plastic when there is no breeze, otherwise you are wrestling with a huge plastic sheet that wants to fly away and you’ll just end up with a big mess.
With the greenhouse finally done, the finishing touch is to hang a new thermometer. I love the maximum/ minimum thermometer also known as a Six’s thermometer. The thermometer consists of a U-shaped glass tube with two separate temperature scales set along each arm of the U. One of these is for recording the maximum temperature and the other for the minimum temperature. The thermometer indicates the current temperature, and the highest and lowest temperatures since last reset. I check it every 24 hours recording the temperatures on a paper chart and then simply resetting it with a magnet.
Upgrading the greenhouse took a bit longer than I planned but the plastic is on, the house is firmly secured to the ground and the doors will last a lifetime. With the warm springtime temperatures we are now having, plant growth has really kicked into gear and the greenhouse is starting to fill up!