Monday, December 10, 2012

The Greenhouse

An eyesore in the night
Well, Austin's first freeze is here.  It was late this year, which was nice, but the dreaded time has arrived.  Time to build the greenhouse. This is my second year with trees in the ground, and my second year building the greenhouse.  Actually, it was just a reassembly this year.  Oh, the fun I had.

All the photos(unless otherwise specified) were taken with my brand new Rokinon(rebranded Samyang) 35mm f/1.4 on my Canon 5D.  You will be hearing more about it in the future, no doubt. The subject matter does this lens no justice, but since this is camera and garden, I figured I would let you know.

Here are some shots of the trees along the southeast side of the house.  Southeast, because that's the warmest side of the house, shielded from the North wind and first to catch the sun's rays in the morning.
There's a Kiki in a pot!
They look so scraggly from this direction.
 Here is the greenhouse, where it was left last spring after it's demolition, much to my wife's dismay.  Fortunately, with time, it mostly disappeared.  I had to use the weedwacker to get the pieces out.  The danged Bermuda grass had them deep in its clutches.
This is what happens when you don't mow the Bermuda.
 So I spent an hour putting the thing back together like a puzzle.  Some pieces were still glued together from last year.  I did not re-glue them this year.  I am just hoping friction will do the job.   I did use a little duct tape in a couple of trouble spots.  Everything  could us a little duct tape.
The skeleton of the beast

 As you can see in the pictures, the frame is made of pvc pipe, fitted together with normal pipe junctions.  The roof has a slant to it to funnel off the water when it rains.  Without the slope, water pools on the top. Last year my second greenhouse attempt was crushed by the weight of pooling water, my first attempt was toppled by the wind.  Third time was the charm.

Check out the slanty roof.
You'll also notice the black trashcans in the picture above.  They will be filled with water to act as heatsinks.  They will absorb heat during the day, and then release it as night, helping to keep the greenhouse warm.  When I say warm, I mean above freezing.  That's all I really need.  This is Texas.  The temperature is rarely below freezing for long. They will also add support to keep the wind at bay.

Asian Beetle
I found this lovely asian beetle admiring my fine work.
Asian Beetle Close up.

 The Frame is then covered in 6 mil polyethylene. This doesn't have much insulating power, but it's enough. 

 The Terra Cotta pots and the ugly faded cart provide added support against the wind.

I have about 2000 incandescent Christmas lights inside to generate heat.  Don't do LEDs. They don't generate much heat.  You will feel dumb.
 Everyone is all warm and cozy inside.

 Except for these Guys.
 They got their own blankets.  I couldn't extend the greenhouse any further without obstructing the gas meter.  Figured the gas company wouldn't be too happy about that.
  This guy got a blanket too.  He's a satsuma, so he should do okay like this.  Satsumas are about as cold hardy as they come while still tasting good.

  So everyone's ready for the freeze.  So far, it looks like the greenhouse is managing to stay about 6 degrees Fahrenheit warmer inside than outside at night. That means it can get down to about 26 outside before it hits the freezing mark inside.  The citrus trees can take a light freeze, so everything should be fine. 


  1. ok this post is hilarious. You call this a greenhouse? if/when/maybe I have kids, I will need you to build them forts for their pine cone fights.