Back in 2015, we thought it sure would be nice to have some kind of greenhouse for raising our vegetable seedlings. Actually, I can think of a lot of things that would have been nice to have in that first year! While we could have whipped up something quick and easy with some 2 x 4's and plastic, it seemed better in the long run to design something that would function well and serve us for many years. While we did break ground that first year, this greenhouse project has often been placed on the back burner since then. It is exciting to finally get it to this stage of completion and begin to take advantage of its capabilities.
This style of greenhouse would be classified as a "pit" greenhouse. The dugout cavity helps regulate the internal temperature because the exposed walls inside the greenhouse can absorb heat during the day and radiate heat at night. For that reason, a material more conductive like metal or stone would probably have been more ideal for these retaining walls. We had scrap wood, so we used that.
The pit was dug in 2015, the frame was built in 2016, and the final upgrades were completed over this past month. This included the addition of the polycarbonate glazing, the stair treads, and an insulated north wall. It's already proven it can hold the heat in. The final challenge is to figure out how to let the excess heat out during the day with some kind of automated venting.
Even though it is small in size, this greenhouse is a valuable piece of infrastructure for us. In our first year, we would spend hours shuffling transplants inside and out every day to slowly harden them off to the wind and sunlight. I don't mind the labour of farming one bit, but repetitive nonsensical tasks like that frustrate me pretty quickly so I am always thinking of ways to better streamline our workflow. Today, we still start seeds inside under grow lights, but now this greenhouse serves as a safe transition area between our indoor nursery and the open field. Instead of the daily shuffling of transplants, we can now move the transplants from the indoor nursery to the greenhouse ONCE, then from the greenhouse to the great outdoors ONCE. That pleases farmer Jared.
If you are curious to learn more about some of the essential features of this nursery greenhouse, check out the video below.