We had talked about building a bigger greenhouse for awhile. I had a pvc plastic covered one for a few years, but we were tired of replacing the plastic every year. In addition, the plastic just wasn’t efficient in holding the heat in at night. I dreamed of growing tomatoes all year around, but we didn’t want to spend a lot of money heating a greenhouse.
I retired early from my job and so did my husband and in that year we became serious about our greenhouse plans. The first consideration was how much money did we want to spend. Our intention was to use salvaged material as much as possible. I was sure we could find everything we needed as we went along. This is where my firm belief in the power of intention or the law of attraction comes into play. I would visualize us finding exactly what we needed with no problem. I tried to create clear images of what we needed.
The first thing we needed was a solid concrete block north wall. The only place we knew to look was a block yard. My husband went and actually purchased a few blocks. Then as he was talking to a worker helping him load the blocks, he was told they had a big pile of seconds in the back that could be picked through for free. Turns out we were able to get all the rest of our blocks for nothing except our labor of picking through and loading them in our truck.
Step one, we built a 16’ long by 12’ high north block wall. We did buy some re-bar and concrete for this. During building the wall, we packed the block with soil to provide greater insulative value. We had been talking about what type of framing we wanted in the greenhouse to support the glass glazing. I didn’t like the idea of wood, especially treated wood. I grow organically and wanted to keep the soil away from all chemicals. We started talking about steel at that point, so we drove around some steel salvage places, but nothing was cheap. We decided there had to be another option. We contacted my brother in law that owns a steel erection business. Unbelievably, and unknown to us, he had a bunch of leftover steel from jobs that he said we could pick from. We ended up with big steel beams and small ones to completely build our framing. We have a short roof on the north side and he even had commercial grade steel roofing and insulation. Not only that but he came over one day and showed my husband how to weld it all together using a welder he let us borrow. Wow, were we ever grateful. It all continued to fall into place so unbelievably, and with so little money.
While researching greenhouses on the web, I found someone who had built one using a sort of geothermal technique to supply at least a 55 degree air supply from underground. It consisted of running 4 inch tubing underground in the greenhouse to a depth of 4 ½ feet. So the deepest tubes are 4 ½ feet down. Vertically the tubes are 1’ apart and horizontally they are 4’ apart. I started digging the trenches to incorporate this into our greenhouse. By far this was the hardest part of the project, because 8 trenches were all dug by hand. Most of them were over 10’ long and 4 ½ feet deep. All the tubes, 16 in all, had to converge to a 55 gallon drum. As we started to search for a drum, I had in mind a plastic one because a steel drum would rust, since it was going to be buried in the ground so the tubes could be attached to it. We decided to stop at a business we saw that had a 55 gallon drum in the window. It was not plastic, but we thought they might give us info on where to look for one. The owner didn’t know of any place, but a customer just happened to overhear our conversation and told us where we could find some for free. Sure enough, we went to where he directed us and found exactly what we needed. The power of attraction working again!
All the trenches were finally done and we lay the pipe and connected them to the drum. Then we backfilled the trenches with soil. Now we needed to start thinking about glazing the sloping south roof. Originally, we were going to use salvage sliding glass double pane doors. We had some and we removed the framing from them. We quickly found out how heavy they were. Around 100 lbs. for each section. Not only that, but after removing the framing, the double pane glass did not tend to stay together. Time to rethink the glass options. We had a great greenhouse project going and it just didn’t feel right to slap up some trashy glass as our roof. We paid a visit to the business that had put in new windows in our house a while back. My husband had a good repore with the owner and they had talked quite a bit about common interest they had. We were able to get double pane glass to our exact specs in any size for $20 for each section. We have 11 pieces on the roof and 7 on our side walls that we ordered that totaled $360. Not bad! We did have to order 4 additional pieces from another source because we needed angels cut at the top. This cost us an additional $360. Still, we were happy with how little we spent on our new double paned glazing.
Before we started the glass walls of the greenhouse, we had to build a foundation for the glass to sit on. I wanted brick because it just looked better than block. So then our thoughts turned to where to get brick. We went to a brick yard, but the new brick was way more that what we wanted to spend. I kept telling my husband that we could find used brick somewhere. I was sure of it. By this time I’d had an almost complete trust that a way would be found to provide us what we needed as long as we put our focus on it and trusted in this thing called the law of attraction. One day not long after, we were headed for a trip to get groceries. On the way we noticed a newly torn down brick building. Of course we immediately stopped and asked if it was alright if we dug through and took some brick. The guy on the premise said sure take whatever you want. We were not even thinking of how incredible our luck was, we just got busy and loaded up plenty of brick. A lot of it was in good shape, we just had to knock some mortar off. Do you see a pattern here yet? I said it was luck, but I know better. We built our foundation and it turned out great.
We found steel used doors at a salvage yard for $20 each. After installing and painting them they looked good. We have partial solid walls above the glass on the east and west walls. We went to Lowes and found some concrete fiber board that had some chips on the edges. After talking to a manger there, they let us have it for $10 a sheet instead of the $29 on the sticker.
Now it came time to find a blower that would sit on top of our drum and blow air through the tubes when the temp dropped. I know most of you will find this hard to believe, but this is what happened. We needed to have our heat pump for our house replaced and this was going on at this time. We talked to the guy that came out to give us a quote about our greenhouse because he was interested in what we were building. We said we needed to find a blower and he said he had lots of them that they take out of old air handlers when installing new ones for people. He said he’d be glad to bring us by 4 or 5 to see which one we could use. That’s exactly what happened and that’s how we got our blower for free. Not only that, but as they were installing our new heat pump, they hooked up our blower for the greenhouse too, at no extra cost.
This winter will be the test of how well our new greenhouse will work. I know it will do wonderfully. I’ve already planted some tomatoes in pots and will transplant them into the greenhouse by frost. I look forward to many wonderful years of growing year round in our greenhouse built step by step by one of the most amazing laws of the universe. Start using this law of attraction in your life and watch magic happen!