My Garden of Eden

The Greenhouse – Part 10

I have delayed putting the final touches on the blog, as I wanted to make sure the GH was finished before I finished the write up.

The doors, both ends of the GH are identical. This will lend itself to my plans for next years garden and ease of access for watering the plants in the greenhouse. I started looking at the cost of lumber for the doors and ended up deciding that cost was too great, so I ripped a 2×4 into 3/4 inch pieces, the pieces were 3/4” x 1 1/2” x 8’ long. I was able get 4 pieces out of each 2×4, which gave me enough wood to build the door and install a door stop. The doors swing to the outside. I used 2 1/2” hinges, 2 1/2” barrel Bolt and 3” eye hook on each door. The door was put together with Kreg Pocket Hole Screws, the Vinyl was stapled on the frame and lathes were screwed onto the door to secure the vinyl covering.

After the vinyl was stapled to the end walls, all the seems were also covered with lathes.

Now to update on the costs.

List of Materials
1 – 48 inch x 25 feet x 8 mil Clear Vinyl at $31.99 Each = $31.99
2 – 2” x 4” x 8’ ripped into 3/4” x 1 1/2×8’ lengths $3.10 = $6.20
4 – 2” x 4” x 8’ ripped into 1/4” x 1 1/2×8’ lengths $3.10 = $12.40
Door Hardware 2 sets of hinges, barrel bolts and eye hook latches = $15.00

Total cost of building the doors and applying vinyl to the end walls = $65.59

So far total material costs are up to $475.15

Prices per Lowes and/or Home Depot. Price of 2×4’s is premium quality. Prices on these screws vary a lot, I am using galvanized exterior screws rather than the more expensive polymer coated screws, which cost about twice as much as the screws I am using. Some 2×4’s and the patio blocks were items I had on hand, so my actual costs are quite a bit lower than I am showing for buying all new materials.

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September 2013 Update

It’s been awhile since have posted on my blog. The greenhouse is still being worked on, I have to build some doors for it and the ends of the greenhouse are not completely covered yet. I will be working on it tomorrow, but have to pick up some more vinyl to complete the project. The sides and top have been completely covered.

I have setup two planters inside the GH, they are attached to the GH frame to make sure the GH stays put in the cold icy winds of the winter. One of the plant boxes has been filled with some top soil and I have transplanted some bunching onions, which were growing under lights in the house and not doing very well.

We have not had a frost yet, which is quite unusual, but we know it is part of the climate change that is happening. The tomatoes and cukes are still in the garden, but we are now getting cooler weather so everything has slowed down.

My Sunflowers, taken about a week ago. Notice the honey bee on the large sunflower.

Preparing for winter has led me to buy another T5 HO fixture and I rebuild my grow rack to accommodate the new light. Tomorrow, I want to bring in a couple pepper plants from the garden. I will have to see how this transition goes. I also have ordered some dwarf tomato seeds, Red Robin and Tiny Tim. I am hoping to have some fresh produce during the winter. On the top shelf of the grow rack is broad leaf parsley. It wasn’t doing so good until I repotted the plants, the plants were root bound. So they are looking a lot better now.

The Greenhouse – Part 9

Well the structure is pretty much completed, now to cover it. Because of my money situation, I was going to use plastic. All the plastic I found was between translucent and opaque, leaning toward opaque. I did not build this greenhouse to be opaque. I did put up one end on the greenhouse and here’s how it looked.

Am I to build a mancave or what? I spend the next two weeks trying to find an acceptable alternative. I had seen vinyl, but none of the greenhouse places mentioned vinyl. Well, I finally went back and looked at a roll of the vinyl and it said, one of it’s applications was for greenhouses, so that was good enough for me. If you look at the above picture on the right side nearest you, where the tape is, you will see that the vinyl is up, but you can hardly tell it’s there because it is so clear. Using double sided tape also became a curse, The vinyl kept sticking in the wrong places, so I ended up using the staple gun and nailing lathes over the vinyl edges. The lathes are homemade from a former projct that never materialized. I was going to make a yurt and had cut 2×4’s into 1/4 inch lathes, so I finally had a use for them.

The roof was next, I felt the main part of the roof really needed the hard panels, so that was the plan. I created staging so I could reach the roof to screw the panels down. I was able to secure the roof without the need of actually climbing onto the roof. The staging became quite a challenge as I had to constantly deal with my fear of heights, but it got a bit easier each time I climbed upon the staging. I had looked at buying a ladder that could also be used for staging, but at $170, I thought I could avoid that cost. In all cases, I made sure the staging was strong and steady before I climbed up onto the staging. I did not want to be, Penny Wise and Pound Foolish!!!

The roof has been completed, but there is still more to do. The end walls need to be completed and doors need to be constructed.

I have also decided to build another one of these buildings to be used as storage with the possibility of using it as additional greenhouse space. So most likely will put the rigid panels on top again, not sure what the rest of it will look like, maybe smart siding would be the easiest and cheapest. Smart siding is hard exterior T-111 plywood that has been painted. I would place it horizontal rather than vertical and the top part of the roof being clear panels would allow for light to come through. I will also change the way the roof ends are done, so there is a wide doorway and better support for the roof ridge timber.

Now to update on the costs.

List of Materials
2 – 48 inch x 25 feet x 8 mil Clear Vinyl at $31.99 Each = $63.98
1 – Aluminum Shingle Nails, 400 nail pak at $4.99 Each = $7.32
10 – 1/4 inch x 1.5 inch x 8 feet long Wood Lathes at $1.39 Each = $13.90
2 – 1/4 inch x 6 inch wood shims 10 paks at $1.25 Each = $2.50
4 – 8 foot Suntuf Roof Panel – Clear at $21.62 Each = $86.48
4 – 24 inch horizontal plastic closure 6 pak at $5.26 = $21.04
2 – 2 inch Suntuf Wood Screws 50 pak at $5.29 = $10.58
Total cost of assembling and installing the rafters = $205.80

So far total material costs are up to $409.36

Prices per Lowes and/or Home Depot. Price of 2×4’s is premium quality. Prices on these screws vary a lot, I am using galvanized exterior screws rather than the more expensive polymer coated screws, which cost about twice as much as the screws I am using. Some 2×4’s and the patio blocks were items I had on hand, so my actual costs are quite a bit lower than I am showing for buying all new materials.

The Greenhouse – Part 8

What a relief it was to get the end walls up and sturdy enough to go to the next step. The next step was to install the 2×4 joist hangers and mount the ridge board. The board that got mounted ended up being slightly bowed upward. I think it originally was sagging, but then when I redid the end framing, it got turned over and became a high spot.

Next was to build the rafters which were to connect to the ridge board. I used three kreg screws to join the two pieces together. One of the problems I encountered was the screws would strip out on me so sometimes it was only one or two screws holding the joint together. So that meant I needed to do the gussets. I had started making gussets when I was thinking about the greenhouse using 1” x 3” strapping, I am glad I gave up that idea. But I decided to use the gussets I had started making. I used a 2’ x 4’ luan board cut it in strips 24 inches long by about 7 1/2 inches wide, which would allow me to get 2 gussets out of each piece.

It is wise to make yourself a template to use as a guide, because you can get confused by all the angles here. I start with a 90 degree angle in one corner and all the other angles are 22.5 degrees, including the 90 degree angle on the other end, you never half to change your saw settings. This should be done with a miter saw. My 12 inch miter saw did not make a long enough cut for one of the angles, but if you move the piece around, you can complete the cut.

You attach the gussets to the rafters using 4 screws on each side of the joint and two gussets for each set of rafters, one on each side. Each rafter is composed of two 2×4s each piece cut at a 22.5 degree angle, trapezoid and not parallelogram style. The length of the bottom piece is 48 inches and the top piece is 47 1/4 inches to compensate for 1/2 of the with of the ridge board.

At this point everything is looking pretty good. There is some swaying the rafters which I need to address. I have decided to go with plastic covering as the rigid covering is going to cost $300 or more. More on this stuff in the next section of the blog.

List of Materials
6 – 2 inch x 4 inch x 48 inches long rafter, cut at 22.5 degree angle at $1.22 Each = $7.32
6 – 2 inch x 4 inch x 47 1/4 inches long rafter, cut at 22.5 degree angle at $1.22 Each = $7.32
96 – #8×3/4” Flat Head Wood Screws at $0.0399 Each = $3.83
1 – 2 foot x 4- foot x 5.2 mm Luan plywood at $6.25 Each = $6.25
36 – #8×2 1/2” Exterior Construction Screws at $0.0494 Each = $1.78
Total cost of assembling and installing the rafters = $26.50

So far total material costs are up to $203.56

Prices per Lowes. Price of 2×4’s is premium quality. Prices on these screws vary a lot, I am using galvanized exterior screws rather than the more expensive polymer coated screws, which cost about twice as much as the screws I am using. Some 2×4’s and the patio blocks were items I had on hand, so my actual costs are quite a bit lower than I am showing for buying all new materials.

The Greenhouse – Part 7

Just when I thought everything was on track and was going smoothly, I ran into a stone wall and nothing seemed to be right. I had put up the other end of the roof, but it was out of alignment.

If you look really closely you can see the sky between those two boards. I was able to fix that ok by removing the header board on the doorway and shortening that a little. But still things were not lining up properly and was the peak to just sit in the sky with no support. Well, I had to find a better solution to this problem.

After spending much time at Lowe’s and Home Depot I came across these flexible brackets that could be bent to whatever angle you desired. Installing them was to be the next challenge.

These brackets ideally should be placed on top of the rafters for the best performance. I am using 2×4 hangers to support the ridge board, so I was trying to work around brackets interfering with each other. My two foot plastic foot stool was not up to meeting this challenge, I needed a real step ladder, but after looking at the cost of the ladders, did not want to part with $100 – $200 just for the ladder. Well my solution was build my own staging from stuff I had on hand. I also had do deal with my fear of heights to get this done. The key was to have the staging as fixed as possible with as little wiggling as possible. The bottom section of the GH was nice and sturdy, so the steel saw horse and some planks did the trick.

So now with the brackets in place and everything secured, I am reaqdy to install the ridge board and the rest of the rafters. I believe I have overcome the most difficult part of the construction, getting the end walls up and ready for the ridge board.

Before proceeding further I want to make sure the structure is level, might be able to avoid future glitches in the structure. This is only half the structure, we are going to put another 8 foot extension on it, but first I wanted the first phase of the building to be completed.

List of Materials
2 – Concealed Stringer Hanger at $1.38 Each = $2.76
2 – 2-in x 4-in Triple Zinc Slant Nail Joist Hanger at $0.76 Each = $1.52
28 – #8×1” Sheet Metal Screws at $0.0399 Each = $1.12
Total cost of assembling top end walls = $5.40

So far total material costs are up to $177.06

Prices per Lowe’s. Price of 2×4’s is premium quality. Prices on these screws vary a lot, I am using galvanized exterior screws rather than the more expensive polymer coated screws, which cost about twice as much as the screws I am using. Some 2×4’s and the patio blocks were items I had on hand, so my actual costs are quite a bit lower than I am showing for buying all new materials.

If you read my last post, I was expecting the right and left roof sections not to line up as they should. So, how could this happen?

When I assembled the left side of the roof, the center piece did not line up where it should have, I was off by about 1/2”, seemed like just the amount which I had too much of on the right side of the roof. I had to move the center post on the left section of the roof. I remeasured everything and everything was as it should have been. The only thing I can attribute the difference to is the angles that were cut on the rafters, though they were all cut to the proper angles and proper length, but anyways I no longer had the extra 1/2” to deal with.

I am using the rafter ties, the center post on the right left section had to be moved a little, but I am not changing the schematic drawings I have provided. The end rafters are the most critical, the center rafters will be much easier to do and should not be a problem. I have added a 2×4 hanger which will be for the ridge board.

There are no real cost issues today except for the 2×4 hanger and the associated screws, I think I will deal with them later on.

I am ready to tackle the other end roof structure. Will work on that this weekend. The greenhouse is moving right along.

I am using a Dewalt compound miter saw which has fixed stops for the angles and I accurately measure all the lengths, so errors a few and far between. The only thing out of my control is the variations in the 2×4s. I am pleased that there are no mayor issues in this construction project.

— Steve, Carmel, Maine, USA (near Bangor) (Hardiness Zone 5a)

Is anyone following this blog? Well, I have begun to realize that there is an error in the roof line. I have noticed that the right half of the roof extends about 1/2” further than it should. Well there was two options, take the right half of the roof all apart, so I can make the adjustments needed, but it would be difficult to really determine how much to cut off on each side. Taking apart and reassembling will weaken the joints a bit. So I have decided on option two, to space the right side away from the door frame so that the roof lines up in the center. This way no elaborate adjustments need to be made. There will be a slight overhang where the roof meets the vertical wall, but that will be ok, I can deal with that when I install the walls, etc. I have also decided to use vinyl sheeting, the local hardware has 48” width x 25’ long x 8 mil for about $31 USD. This option is preferable to the vinyl roof panels at $21 a panel, 8 panels needed, estimated cost $160 USD. I estimate only one roll of vinyl sheeting will be needed for the initial greenhouse. I am also planning to extend the greenhouse another 8 feet, but first I want to complete the first 8 foot unit.

— Steve, Carmel, Maine, USA (near Bangor) (Hardiness Zone 5a)