Growing a Greenhouse

The skeleton of our greenhouse comes together.

Construction is currently underway on our big project for the year – a greenhouse! With hopes of producing more of our own food with a bigger, better garden, building a greenhouse has been one of our goals for a while now. 

There is something satisfying about watching a project turn from a mere desire into a reality. This process has taken its fair share of time. If we start from when we first contacted our local NCRS office, we could say the project began back in November of 2020. We signed the contract with NCRS in April of this year. However, we were not allowed to order the greenhouse until given permission to do so, which happened in June. We ordered the greenhouse kit on July 9, and it was not delivered until Oct. 29. My husband has been working on it intermittently when he has the time. It’s now about half-way built. 

After a bulldozer has leveled out the plot, Scott tills compost into the soil.

Why has this project taken so long? One reason is because we decided to take advantage of a grant offered through the United States Department of Agriculture. The USDA’s Natural Conservation Service (NCRS mentioned above) has a high-tunnel, cost-sharing program for those who meet its specific criteria. That’s a fancy way of saying that the government will help fund our greenhouse as long as we follow certain rules. In short, the government is slow! 

A few plants spring up in my garden before we start construcstion on the greenhouse.

One of the parameters for funding was we needed to use a preconstructed greenhouse kit that fit within the program’s guidelines. We ordered the kit from a company out of Missouri. It took several weeks for the company to fabricate the greenhouse and several more weeks for them to deliver it. 

This is how the greenhouse kit looked when it was delivered.

Finally, the day came when our kit was delivered! Honestly, as it sat in pieces, it didn’t look like much. However, it’s coming together now, as my husband deciphers the instructions, adds the required lumber, and pieces the whole thing together. It’s not a small feat, as it’s dimensions are 30 feet wide by 48 feet long.

Eventually, the greenhouse will have shade cloth to use for the summer, a heater to use during the winter, and a watering system generated by rain catchment tanks. For now, we are just trying to get the building constructed. 

Starting to take shape: The posts of the greenhouse have to go in first.

In August of this year, we used a bulldozer to level the ground next to our barn where we decided to build the greenhouse. After tilling the soil and adding compost, I decided to plant a few things in the space while I awaited the greenhouse that would eventually be built over the area. 

My fall garden was not very productive, but I didn’t expect much out of it considering the state of the soil and the time of year. It produced a few yellow squash, radishes, and arugula. I’m still waiting to see if I’ll get any kale, lettuce, spinach, and swiss chard. 

For now, I have to tell myself, “Just wait until next year when my greenhouse is done, then it will be game on, gardening!” 

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