Commenting on something being too short or needing to be taller is not a phrase you would usually hear uttered from my lips, but in this case, the greenhouse really needed some headroom to cope with the tomato plants. Every year, the plants grow tall enough to hit the ceiling of the greenhouse, and then come back on themselves making the things a bit of a jungle, difficult to get into and difficult to do any work in.
We keep saying, “Oh we should do something about the greenhouse. We could put it on some sleepers or something.” To be honest though, we just never got around to doing it.
Until today that is 🙂
We finally got around to ordering some railway sleepers (massively thick chunks of wood) and getting it all put together to make a new base to sit it on. I say new base, but in reality, we never put a base down originally, the greenhouse has always just stood directly onto the concrete garden slabs. So today, not only did we make a base, but we made a really high one, making the greenhouse super tall, lots of headroom for tomatoes.
It was actually really easy to do as well, and now we have done it, we can’t believe how much we had been procrastinating over this. It actually only took about 3.5 hours in total to get it done and that includes painting it.
The first thing we had to do, was empty everything out of there, and get it moved so we could work on the spot it was to sit. That was actually a lot easier than we expected, I assume because our greenhouse is polycarbonate, so really light. I can’t imagine how difficult it could have been to move a glass one.
We managed to move it (just the two of us), and get the previous space all cleaned up in about 10 mins, luckily it wasn’t windy today. Then the cavalry arrived, our neighbours Harry and Chris. Harry is a retired master joiner, so he is always a brilliant help when we have woodwork type stuff to be done, he hates leaving us to struggle through things on our own, and to be fair he’s a lot quicker than us. Today he was sawing the sleepers to size, as they are huge and we weren’t sure we’d manage, and he helped us get the beginnings of the frame into place.
The sleepers are solid and really heavy, so they didn’t need fixing to the floor, but once we got the basics of the frame cut and in positions, we did use huge carriage bolts to hold everything together.
We get a lot of strong winds around our way, and I really didn’t fancy doing my impression of Dorothy one day when all I had done was pop out to cut some salad for tea.
Once the beginnings were in place and bolted together, Harry left us to get on with things and Kate and I made the second part of the frame, to bolt on top. I did mention we were really going for some height, didn’t I? Well, height is exactly what we got. It’s unconventional, normally greenhouse bases are maybe 4 inches off the ground, but I wanted enough to completely cope with the quadgrows I have the tomatoes in, so I deliberately went big. I’m talking about 14 inches big. It’s fabulous and when you are inside, the greenhouse feels enormous!
Don’t worry, we were completely prepared for what a behemoth this would turn out to be, and the fact that I was going to struggle with that size of a step, So the cut offs from the railway sleepers became a little step for me. My very own front step :0)
There’s one outside and one inside, so I don’t have to compete for the high jump just to check on the peppers.
So once that was all in place, the last thing to do was bolt the actual greenhouse frame to its new base. Nice and secure so we don’t worry about those winds. There will be no worrying, this thing is HEAVY. Lovely, clean, wooden base. The only problem is it looked so out of place in the garden. We don’t have any natural wood out there, so a wee coat of paint, the step too and it now ties into the rest of the garden nicely.
So everything is back in there ready to get started planting up this year. There was one hiccup we hadn’t foreseen though, my staging shelves are now too wide, just by an inch or so, and can’t fit in their usual place. I was gutted but then Kate pointed out that I could just get the dremmel out and cut them, so that is what I did. I now feel special with my custom staging 🙂
Greenhouse is looking great now and I can’t wait to get it all planted up. I just think an empty greenhouse is a bit depressing, it always looks its best when it’s bursting with life!
And of course, as is tradition, the very last thing to be done every year after the greenhouse is cleaned and set up, the sign goes back on the door.