So this year, I finally decided the time had come to build myself a greenhouse. After much research, I decided on Harbor Freight's 10x12 aluminum greenhouse. Ed Self (founder of Texas Rare Fruit Growers ) had this model at his place in Katy, and he said he really liked it. I also found a great blog about one couple's experiences building this model greenhouse in New Mexico, and the structural modifications they made to it to strengthen it. I was able to get the kit on sale for around $500 right after the holidays. I was very excited when it was delivered, but before I could build the greenhouse I first had to tear down the old shed.
Tearing down the shed turned out to be a really big job by itself. I first had to clear everything out of there, find a place to store it, and then start tearing the shed apart. It was really dirty in there, and full of junk and paint cans left by the previous owners. During deconstruction I was very surprised to find that most of the old shed's structural integrity came from the rotten siding, not from the frame. Once the siding was off, the whole thing started to creak and lean. My cousin Jett and I had planned to dismantle it from the top down, but it was far too unstable. We wound up just pulling it down with a couple of tow straps. Once the it was down, we began the arduous task of going through the wreckage, salvaging lumber, and hauling the remains to the precinct recycling center.
Once it was finally all cleared, I got started installing the utilities and building the foundation. I saved the buried electrical connection to shed, and ran a water line over from the main house line (which I managed to break, another long story). Once the water line was in place, I laid down 4x4 beams on top of the old concrete shed foundation, and then finally got to work assembling the greenhouse. Constructing the greenhouse was actually pretty easy, and would really only take a weekend for someone with enough free time to devote to it. I put the whole thing together myself a little bit at a time, as time allowed. Since I only had one pair of hands, I had to get pretty creative with ropes and ladders to install the roof, but that was the only difficult part. I also took some extra time to add some structural enhancements and other extra features that I'll show in a later post. All in all, I'm very happy with the way it turned out, and can't wait to start adding some more tropical fruits to my collection.