We have been very busy little bees here around the Stellar Hawk Ranch. The greenhouse was our next big project. And it was a project.
This is the one we got: Palram Essence 8×12 Greenhouse
The instructions say it should take 2 people half a day to put it together. And that’s about all the instructions say, because the rest of the 80-page instruction manual is nothing but pictures. No words. At all. Do you ever start to assemble something and think to yourself, “man, even I could design something better”? Why are there so many pieces? Why is it so complicated?
Since there were no words actually describing anything, all of the pieces and parts were numbered in the instructions. Which would have been great, had all the pieces been numbered in the boxes. One full box of parts was not numbered at all, some of the pieces had multiple numbers on them, or the numbers and the pictures of the pieces didn’t match, or we just didn’t have the part at all. In the end, we were only missing two parts (which, considering there were about a million different parts, probably isn’t too bad).
Some of the parts went together nicely, others not so much. Part of that was our fault, since we didn’t have a completely level space to build it on. Assembling the thing definitely caused various levels of frustration and alcohol consumption. Where we built it was not where it was going to sit permanently, so after it was together we worked on its permanent level home. That took maybe a day to get together; it required a lot of digging and raking. Then just the two of us took on the task of moving it. We managed to pick it up and move it without it falling apart! Trust me, we are just as amazed as you are.
Once it was sitting in a level spot, some of the corners sat together a lot more securely. But there are still some gaps in the panels and the vents in the roof certainly are not airtight when closed. We actually had to tape up some of the gaps. We built some raised beds inside the greenhouse and have been keeping an eye on the temperatures inside. It heats up very quickly in the sun, but cools off just as fast at night… which is pretty disappointing that it doesn’t hold heat as well as we’d hoped. The panels are not as thick as we had anticipated, and don’t seem very strong, even though it says they’re “indestructible.” We spent $1000 on this thing. We want to get a second greenhouse, but it won’t be the same one. We’ll be looking at some higher quality, hopefully easier to assemble, greenhouses instead.
We’re still happy to have it, and hopefully we’ll still be able to grow some hot-weather crops that we wouldn’t normally be able to grow outside up here: hot peppers, tomatoes, okra, some herbs, etc. This first growing season is pretty experimental for us anyway; we’re going to see what we can and can’t grow, what grows well, what might require more water or fertilizer or compost, things like that. We’re not concerned with selling at the farmer’s market this season, so it gives us some time to just enjoy being in the garden.