Greenhouse repair

2014 12 14_2357

Small greenhouse made from carport frame

It wasn’t too long after installing my greenhouse that the fabric began tearing and finally created some large holes that the rain poured through, but more importantly, heat escaped. Without heat in the greenhouse, the plants grow, but they are reluctant to do so, growing just the minimum amount while waiting for warmer weather.

Given that I wasn’t going to have a bountiful harvest from the greenhouse, I decided to replace the covering in hopes of controlling the climate inside to encourage plant growth. I thought it might be a good half day project, but last time I replaced the cover, I had the help of a grandson who was a little short on reach.

This time my wife and I tackled the project and did fine, in several hours less time than I had budgeted. I removed the old tattered covering before I got any help, but that worked out fine.

For the covering, I contacted Home Depot and found what they have is a fiber reinforced six-mil plastic sheet in widths of 12 and 20 feet in lengths of 100 feet. While I didn’t need 100 feet, I thought the extra would come in handy for the next application or for some other projects in the garden area.

2014 12 14_2353

This view shows the spring clips that secure the fabric inside the channel. The fabric is a string reinforced polyvinyl. These channels are on the top-most edge of the frame on both ends.

The 100-ft. roll x 12 feet cost a total of $104 and the shipping was free and delivered right to my door.

The covering is one piece, stretching from the bottom of one side, over the ridge and down the far side. Both sides are secured with furring strips, which also helps to stretch the fabric tight to prevent it from flapping in the breeze. We first lay the fabric over the top and set it into approximate place. Once the fabric was over the frame, we secured one side and stretched the fabric over the top and down to the far side where it was secured with furring strips. This made the fabric stay in place when working the spring clips into the end channels. Once that was done, then we again tightened the furring strips, pulling them down with wood screws.

2014 12 14_2355

The furring strips secure the vinyl to the base of the greenhouse at the outside edges. they are also a good way of stretching the fabric to keep it as tight as possible.

Two days after we were finished with the covering, a huge windstorm came through the valley and actually tore down some structures. As the wind blew, I checked out the window and the greenhouse weathered the storm very well. My neighbor had approximately 50 percent of his wooden fence blow over from the high winds. I’ve heard several estimates of wind speed, anything from about 40 to gusts of 65 MPH. We lost several limbs from trees, but the greenhouse did well.

2014 12 14_2367

Romaine Lettuce growing in the tower garden. When harvesting for a salad, I pull leaves from the outside. they are very tender and tasty.

Within a couple of days, the temperature inside was warm enough to keep my plants growing. There seems to be a great deal of humidity inside, probably from all the rain that fell through the gigantic holes in the roof.

Since replacing the greenhouse fabric, I have found a source of greenhouse skin that looks really promising. This material is alike corrugated paper cardboard, only made of a plastic and the materials I received when requesting a sample, look to be just the thing for a long-lasting greenhouse covering. It comes in two thicknesses, 3.5 mm thickness and also a 5.0 mm thickness. It is semi rigid and should be tough enough for many years of use. This is a product I will be using in the future.

powershot_2014 12 14_2382

sample of Solexx panel. This is a semi rigid panel that offers insulation and light diffusion inside the greenhouse.

So, now we are good to go again on the greenhouse. The garden tower is in there, with a light bulb and aquarium heater for warmth and the wind and rain are outside where they belong. Next winter there will be much more growing there, but that is another story. There will also be some Kratky hydroponics experiments to see how growing without circulating water will work. Kratky developed the system to third world countries specifically because they had no electricity.


2014 12 14_2363         For now, the greenhouse is working well. With just two of us, we have all the greens we need between the greenhouse garden tower and the chard and arugula growing outside in the raised beds. Next year there will be more.


You must be logged in to post a comment Login