Building a Green House and a Few Homesteading Book Recommendations

In December I finally nagged by boyfriend into helping me build a greenhouse. To start, I used the book Step-by-Step Projects for Self-Sufficiency: Grow Edibles * Raise Animals * Live Off the Grid * DIY. This book is fantastic! It has dozens of projects ranging in scale of difficulty, and many of them are on my to-do list for this coming year. Many of these require at least basic knowledge of tools and building, but trust me, if I can do it you can too!

Okay, full disclosure my boyfriend is 100% the muscle and 98% the brains behind all major building projects. My 2% is just coming up with the idea and then cheering him on. However even with this build, I actually contributed, mostly measuring for boards cut, and then subsequently screwing it all together while he did all of the cutting. I couldn’t be happier with the results! I have included pictures of the build, but the book has more comprehensive pictures as this post is not intended to be an instructional guide. Ultimately we spent about $200 in materials, not including the plastic which we already had, and it took us about 10 hours. Way cheaper than buying a kit and we can make it our own.

I’ll go ahead and wrap up this post by saying building a greenhouse is only the first step. You’ve also got to learn how to use it! I consulted several books and online resources before settling on a favorite choice, The Greenhouse Expert. This book is a little older, but it really takes you from the beginning to the end of greenhouse gardening. It guides you through selecting a style based on your needs and types of plants to be grown, building materials, venting options, maintaining temperature, floor plans, growing tips, and so much more. I feel way more comfortable setting up my little seedlings and you can look forward to future posts on the subject. Check out the project below!

UPDATE (04/10/2020): We have since added some windows and a vent! Windows are added as they are found/bought/donated to us. Some are newer, some are older, some open, others don’t. They are all perfect!
Here is where we stand as of this weekend (Feb 8th, 2020). We covered it with plastic because we had it on hand, and our end goal is to convert to reclaimed windows instead of plastic. It took us a month to find the perfect door at the ReStore for only $15 AND it’s double pane glass.
Our entire lawn is sloped so we had to dig into the yard on one end and use the resulting dirt to build up the other side. We built up roughly 1.5 feet of dirt in the end and shoveled out maybe 6-8″.
At this point we decided to add gravel to our driveway because the rain has turned it into a mud pit. We had a ton leftover and used it to put in a 4-5″ layer of gravel as the base. We made the base longer than the greenhouse to hopefully make it more stable long term. Gotta make sure everything is level!
The base was made of pressure treated 4x4s and bolted together with carriage bolts. Not pictured is the 2′ rebar we hammered through the each 4×4 and into the ground to serve as an additional anchor.
Walls going up! For me this was the coolest part because it all started to feel real at this point. We are building a greenhouse!
It took us roughly 10 hours to make it this far. We took our time and had a lunch and dinner break in between. I had a couple friends come, and they helped install the rafters. We didn’t have the most efficient tools for notching the the cut outs for the rafters but we made do. At this point we were waiting to find a door before framing it out so we just covered it with plastic. Side note: DO NOT DEPEND ON STAPLES! We initially stapled the plastic but within a week the plastic had torn so we used carpet wood strip tacks to hold it into place and four weeks later it’s still holding up.
Here’s the inside view of the door. It’s so gorgeous and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome!

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