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My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Posted by karin_mt 4 (My Page) on
Sat, Nov 20, 10 at 19:08

I have been wanting to post pictures of my greenhouse for quite some time now, and 'loveitgreen' has inspired me to do so.

So here we go - a tour of my beloved Riga, built in 2008.

It's 10 by 14, with double-wall polycarbonate all around and 2 automatic roof vents. We have electricity and water inside, but we don't heat it.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

We use the greenhouse primarily to grow food. We enjoy experimenting with various methods to grow tasty produce while avoiding pests and taking advantage of natural warmth.

This past spring, we perfected the art of the "lettuce factory," which is a simple windowbox hanging from chains. We have found many advantages to growing greens this way. We also have a "pesto factory" (which was the original) along with spinach and mixed greens. We call them factories because they produce so much!


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stonework

Along with playing in the greenhouse, my other favorite thing to do is work with rocks (I'm a geologist). I built a stone patio around the greenhouse. It makes it easy to walk out to the greenhouse even when there is snow on the ground, or in the dark, or with arms loaded with cucumbers.

I made two planting ares within the stone patio, and these are lovely microclimates for heat-loving veggies like peppers and tomatoes.


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Garden setting

We live in Montana, that's the Bridger range in the background. It's a cold climate, hence my desire for a greenhouse.

The second picture shows the back garden with poppies in full cry. The greenhouse is kind of in the background.


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summer

In the spring I start all our seeds inside. Without heat, I can get started in mid-March. It sure is nice to have a way to start strong seedlings.

Things get pretty colorful inside while it is still a bit dreary outside.

By June 1 all the seedlings have been planted outside, and then the greenhouse space is turned over to the summer crops. Below the shelves we have ground beds on either side of the center aisle. I plant crops that need a long, hot season which we do not have here. Cucumbers and tomatoes really like it in here!

The shelves are made to pop out of their frames, so I take them out and let the plants grow up to the ceiling. I hang twine from the ceiling and wrap the stems around the twine to keep everything upright.

By mid summer the heat-loving crops are really vigorous!


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Fall Harvest

When the weather cools down in the fall, the greenhouse is in full swing and is amazingly productive. The planting beds within the patio have been productive too. Life is good.

I took this picture last week (early November). I call it the "Wall of Tomatoes."

There are three tomato plants in here, but they are all huge and have grown into each other. The one in the center is 'Super San Marzano.' I am very keen to get as much tomato sauce as possible. The plant got off to a rough start with blossom end rot and I feared I would not get any tomato sauce. But then I learned the fix for that (more water in this case) and an unbelievably huge crop ensued.

With cold weather looming, I did the big haul out of the greenhouse. I could not believe the amount of food we had on our hands. I ran out of bowls, out of space, and out of canning jars. All those giant sauce tomatoes are from just one plant.


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Winter

This weekend we made the abrupt transition from fall to winter. We have 10 inches of snow on the ground and it will be below zero tonight. So now the greenhouse makes the transition to winter.

Today I cut down all the tomato and cucumber vines and put the shelves back into place. The "lettuce factory" boxes are up and growing again and they will last for a month longer, depending on how cold it gets.

I have some lettuce seedlings planted in the ground and covered with frost blankets at night. Some will survive the winter and will be our early salads in late February.

I started a big carrot crop in one of the ground beds in late summer. These can survive the winter and will be eaten in the spring. Between the greenhouse and the main garden, we have fresh carrots all year.

Before we began this journey in 2008, I knew I wanted a greenhouse and that it would expand my gardening possibilities. What I did not anticipate is how satisfying and fun the whole thing would be. I really love gathering food from the greenhouse nearly all year long, I enjoy spending time in there and hanging out with my plants. I like that I can grow really nice, strong plants to plant elsewhere in the yard, and I like that I can experiment in all sorts of ways.

It's especially nice that there is a community of fellow greenhouse addicts here to share these photos with. Thanks for reading!


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Karin! These are absolutely wonderful! What a great set up. I just loved seeing all the pictures and really enjoyed all that you wrote too. I had to laugh at the wall of tomatoes. They looked like mine reaching to the roof. I really liked the idea of hanging planters for the lettuce. Beautiful place with the mountains and beautiful greenhouse. Thanks for sharing them. Love em.


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Thank you for sharing your pictures. Wow, alot of tomatoes you harvested. The last photo is quite stunning with the sunset and the light showing through your greenhouse. How much weight from snow can your greenhouse support?

I love the idea of a greenhouse but desperately need a garden shed too so will have to combine the two. I'm learning so much from all the posts on this forum.

Julia


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Great pictures. I'm 3 hours north of the MT border but it's way too cold here to grow anything in an unheated GH. Our winters are also much less sunny than yours. But I was able to get some fall crops harvested before this wintry weather arrived. Looking forward to regular updates from you in winter and spring :)


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Thanks for the comments. :)
In that last photo the light is on inside the greenhouse, adding to the illuminated effect.

The panels can support a lot of snow, but often the snow seems to slide off anyway. I've never seen more than a foot on the roof and it's not been much of a concern. I'm impressed at how robust this structure is. The frame is very stout, the panels are thick and the whole thing has a solid feel to it.

DrH - sounds very cold up your way! Are greenhouses popular up there? Seems like the way to go in a cold place. We are lucky with the sunshine in the winter as it makes everything easier (and not just in the greenhouse!).


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Hi Karin,
Oddly enough, greenhouses are not that popular here. I'm not sure why! A good GH manages to lengthen the practical growing season for hardy crops to about 7-8 months of the year. This winter has been forecasted to be a particularly hard one up here. That means, most nights below -5 F,and quite a good chunk of them in the -20 to -40 F range. Looking forward to vacationing!!!


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Wonderful greenhouse and crops, not to mention the scenery!
I have a greenhouse with a similar structure and the double polycarb walls. Mine works very well Dec-June, but in the summer it is too hot for anything and i don't want to run the fan day and night.
One thing different, which i think is good, is that yours has its ventilation on the roof. Mine has automatic heating and cooling, but the vents are on the lower sides at the north end.
do you use a shade cloth at all? What temps does yours get to in the summer?

I agree that it is just lots of fun,and like a trip to Fla in the winter.


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Dr H,

Yours sounds like a truly cold climate. We are having such an early start to the frigid temps this year, it does make you wonder if the La Nina forecasts will play out. So, do people garden up there or is the growing season too short?

This spring I was particularly amazed at the huge array of tomato plants for sale at all the nurseries here. Thousands of plants for sale - and yet - only a tiny chance of actually getting any fruit from them. I guess that shows how optimistic we all are! I do see hoop houses becoming more popular though, which would increase your chances of getting a red tomato.

Lily,
Agreed, cooling is a challenge in the summer. It took me awhile to get that sorted out. We have 50% shade cloth on the roof and west side only. In addition to the roof vents, I open the front door and the large back window. I have two box fans for air flow. Then I put in a misting system which is very effective.

I made the misting system with emitters plus tubing. It has 3 nozzles along the crest of the ceiling, spaced 3 feet apart. Thanks to this forum, I found a great timer which was the hardest thing to locate. With all these cooling strategies I can easily keep the temps in the mid-90s at the most. Things cool off a lot at night, which helps too.

This morning it is 2 below outside and 26 degrees inside underneath the frost blankets. Chilly, but warm enough for the plants to survive.

BTW, I found great fabric for frost blankets at Joann's fabrics. Its a white felt made from recycled soda bottles. It's fluffy and lightweight and seems to work great. I just went back to get more since the one piece I got last year always seemed to be in high demand.


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Love your greenhouse and the produce coming out of it. I'm bringing this one to my DH's attention, because we have hopes of a plant house being built this winter in our Alabama back yard. I'm especially interested in the double wall polycarb panels.

I'm adding this very attractive topic to my CLIPPINGS files.


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Karin, what a beautiful GH you have! It makes gardening in Montana look wonderful though I'm sure I'd freeze my tootsies off! How is your GH anchored down? Your presentation is just excellent, and I bet your sauce is to die for.

Sherry


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Karin,

Great setup! What is your elevation? I'm at 7400' and that necessitates creating an artificial climate for the production of toms. My winters are relatively mild (+40ºF Jan. average high) but I experience occasional frosts to late June (thanks to the elevation).

Because of the intense sunlight, I'm still experiencing decent growth w/o artificial lighting despite the fact that the sun sets behind the mountain to the south at just after 3.

I'm heating my solar GH at night now (since just before Thanksgiving) to keep temps from dropping below 53º for fruit setting. Without importation of heat I think the temp would stay well above 40, even with outside temps near zero. Last night I harvested toms, peppers, cukes, lettuce, mustard greens, basil, carrots, broccoli and salad onions. If I could just grow an avocado I'd have my own complete salad.

While I enjoy the GH, my first love (non human, that is) is rocks and minerals. I'm using quartz crystals attached to a limestone matrix with the hope of raising the pH for holding down my aeration tubes in hydroponics lettuce and toms. I collect the Silverton/Ouray/Telluride, Co. area weekly in season. I've always wanted to collect scepters at Crystal Park in Montana. Being a geologist in Montana sounds very interesting.

Happy greenhousing and rockhounding,

Mark


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

I hereby nominate Karin for the 2010 award: causing the greatest unintended amount of envy on a GW thread.

;o)

Dan


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

I second Dan's emotion! In the spirit of fairness, Karin should distribute some of those Romas to each of us.

Since Karin is a collector of rocks, I still want to know if she's been to Crystal Park.

Regards,

Mark


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

what is the size of the greenhouse


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rocks!

Thanks for the comments! :)

I will be happy to share the tomatoes, because I still have several bowls of tomatoes that have ripened and need to be made into sauce. I think this will be the final batch of cooking, phew!

Some answers:
- Our elevation is around 5000 feet.

- The greenhouse came with a foundation kit which is an aluminum frame that you set into the ground. Then everything attaches to the frame. Very slick. To add some insulation and keep the ground from freezing in the winter, we dug a trench all around the perimeter and put in a 4-inch thick wall of styrofoam below the foundation. This goes 16 inches deep.

- The greenhouse is approx 10 feet by 14 feet.

- I have not been to Crystal Park, but I bet that would be fun! Rockhounding is so addictive, and free! I will have to upload some more pics of our other rock projects. I built a "wall of time" that represents the geologic time scale in our region. I collected the rocks over a 2 year period when I was out doing geologic research and I had easy access (well, relatively easy - rocks are heavy no matter what!) to a large array of rock types. Then it took 4 years to build the wall. Talk about a labor of love!


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

how does one post photos on this forum? can't see a link to browse and move photos to message? see you have a lot of photos - how did you do it? can't see any instructions on website for this forum.
Thanks!


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posting pics

Yeah, it's not very clear how to do this, but you will find some instructions and a place to practice in the 'test' forum (listed on the main page of all the forum topics).

First you need to have the photos posted in Picasa or Photobucket or something like that. Then you paste in the image code.

I can't remember exactly how I did it with Picasa at the moment, but I can post clearer instructions later.


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Thanks - now I know where to look. I'll try to figure it out.
7000feet, -4 degrees tonight - 2' of snow - and loving it


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

2 feet of snow lately? We have only had a few inches here and there this week. 3 degrees here tonight... and loving it also! You have got to love winter to live in these cold places.

So, for the images, on the image hosting site (Flicker, Picasa, etc) there is usually a link or a bit of code that allows you to embed the image into another page. You can copy/paste that code here, then preview your message to see if it worked.

I tried one here just to refresh my memory of what to do. This is a photo of the stone wall I was describing above. It shows a bench that I built into the wall. This was early on in a long wall, so building the bench gave me a place to rest for the remainder of the project.

The GH is in the background, with white shade cloth.


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Your place is beautiful Karin! Thanks for sharing your pics. I will explore your latest photo instructions and see if I can post my GH pics in the soil heat cable thread. The geologist in you shows in your landscaping. Hope you enjoyed skiing (downhill?) I used to be a ski instructor but quit several years ago. Do you start your own tomato plants? You had a ton - looked great! If you do plant your own starts - when do you usually plant the seeds in your GH?
7000feet


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Hi 7k',

I realized I never answered your questions here. I think the question of when to start seedlings is a good one, because it's hard to predict how the timing will work out for your greenhouse until you've been through a few years of trial and error. I'm going to start a new thread about seed-starting timing because it's an interesting question, where we can benefit from other people's experiences.

I start tomatoes in mid-March, and then pot them up continuously as they grow really fast. By June they are huge!

So you used to be a ski instructor? Where?
I am an instructor at Bridger Bowl. Currently I am taking a day off - it's been a busy week as it always is this time of year. But that's how I like it!

I used to start all my seeds the day the ski area closed - something of a seasonal rite of passage. But now with the GH I start seeds all through the winter. What a therapeutic way to spend a March afternoon, surrounded by warmth and the lovely smells of the moist soil. I also grow a few flowers through the winter plus I plant bulbs in the GH beds so I can be greeted by daffodils after a big powder day. Life doesn't get much better than that! :)


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Karin,
Please do start a new thread on starting seedlings - I am only guessing this year with the help of Johnny's seed starting chart and input from your experience. I see your point about the GH variables and zone. We have found it difficult to purchase (especially bare root plants) from local GH's because we are 4-6 weeks later (frost) than available GH's. Having our own GH should help a bunch.

I instructed at Nordic Valley for a short time until I got my certification and then taught at Powder Mtn. We lived only 10 min from Nordic Valley and 30 minutes to Powder Mtn so we did a lot of night skiing also - no teaching at nights - just fun. Teaching is hard work at times - but fun meeting skiers from all parts of the country - even some international at Powder Mtn. We got hooked on powder for sure.

I'll watch for your new post


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

I bet Powder Mountain was fun! Being hooked on powder is a good thing, that's for sure. My first teaching gig was at a local's place in upstate NY with night skiing - that was an interesting experience. It was unbelievably solid ice - and then add the darkness on top of that - scary. And I was teaching telemark skiing, about the worst thing for skiing ice. Definitely puts one in the "if it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger" category.

OK, so I made a new thread for seed timing. My list ended up being a lot longer than I had planned!


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

I hereby nominate Karin for the 2010 award: causing the greatest unintended amount of envy on a GW thread.

For the fine greenhouse or beautiful tomatoes? Because I wish I had all of that, not to mention the stunning mountain view!


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

I taught with ski instructors from back east with similar stories. I can only imagine what it was like on those icy hills/mountains being raised in the west. I a have a ton of found memories on the slope! My kids became expert skiers and we took annual winter ski trips to a different resort every year. Never made it to Montana though - mostly Wyoming, Utah & Idaho. One year my daughter entered a drawing at a local Coke sponsored downhill race (she placed 2nd in the race) but her ticket was drawn and she won a new pair of any quality/type of Rossignol skies for the whole family (7 pair). We got to go to the Rossignol distribution center in Utah and pick out 7 pair - I think that was the last year they offered such a prize.

Nothing to do with this thread but you got me going on the ski thing.


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skiing follow up

Oh - and Colorado - we skied Crested Butte one year - that is a nice resort and fun town - but then what ski resort/town isn't!


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

You want to ski CB this year - the storms so far are favorable for them. I do miss skiing California in the spring - I used to have a fancy tuxedo shirt and fun bowties for spring skiing and mingling with the girls skiing in bikini tops...mmmmmm....

Um...uh...topic? What topic?

Dan


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

It's only appropriate that the topic revolves around skiing this time of year! We're having one of those multiday below zero stints, so I'm taking a few days off from the slopes. Good time to catch up on laundry and get some rest.

7k, that Rossi deal sounds like quite a score! How much fun would that be? That would be sweet to let everyone pick out just what they wanted.

Dan, that sounds quite stylish! Spring Break skiing in Summit County used to be the highlight of my year. No bikinis for me, but t-shirts and crazy neon prints abounded. (it was the 90s, what can I say)

It sounds like many ski resorts across the US are getting good snow this year. Nice for everyone.

Back to the greenhouse topic, I am happy to report that inside the greenhouse this morning it was about 28 degrees warmer than outside - and that was before the sun came up. It was -2 outside and 26 inside. With no heat!

This year we got an early snow in November that followed a long warm spell. The snow cover has remained since then and it seems like the ground is very warm this year because the early snow was insulated it. So the greenhouse with its thick foundation insulation is staying unusually warm so far this winter. That's good news for the salad greens and carrots! :)


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

I only wish I could ski more often - I only get a 1/2 day before the knees start to go so hardly worth it anymore - same with BH so snowshoeing & snow camping main activities now.

I do like that Riga + stone setup - if it were me for a project I'd put a layer of GH film on the inside and have another air gap to slow heat loss even more; I got a cut of IR blocker/anti-condensate 6 mil from Growers Supply that was 20x12 and $43.00-ish with shipping. Great stuff. My newest low tunnel with that material is 38ºF inside, it has gone up a degree since it hit its low when we hit -1F this morning. I finally covered it for the first time this winter and yet the soil temps are still in the hi 40s (insulated underground). And now all the seed catalogues are perused with this and the next low tunnel in mind!

:o)

Dan


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Hmm, adding a layer of film is a good idea. If it's inside the GH, does it need to be plastic since there is no wind? And I assume you mean to put this right over the plants, rather than suspending it from the ceiling or something like that?

At the moment I have low hoops from Johnny's covered with several layers of sheets/blankets. My go-to layer is this fuzzy white polyester material that I found for cheap at the fabric store. Since it's sold by the yard I bought lengths to fit over each bed. But your post makes me wonder if a plastic layer on top of that would be a good thing.

Another question for you Dan: how fast do your greens grow in the winter? All my plants look just great, but are growing at a pace of 1 salad per week at the most. With your setup do things move along faster?

Today never got above zero outside but thanks to the sunshine it was a balmy 41 inside. On days like this I take the row covers off when it gets sunny inside and put them back on as the sun sets.

If the weather is just average (am I'm out skiing rather than putzing around in the greenhouse), I tend to leave the covers off unless we are in a real cold snap.

Snowshoeing and winter camping sounds like fun too! So long as you can do something fun outside, that's what counts.


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

No, Karin, I'd attach to the frame on the inside, maybe with something to hold in the channel. You want an air gap between film and your polycarb; if you can find something decent with an IR blocker for not too much, that's what you want. Additional protection can come from Remay or heavier fabric directly on plants. I noted your fabric find, but haven't been to JoAnn's yet to see its weight. You always want plastic on the outside of your hoops to cut the wind.

My greens grow slowly as well - it is a function of daylength/photoperiod and some of soil temp (slower root metabolism). You must plant more to get more, and what is left in late Feb-March your neighbors start liking you much more than before.

Hope you enjoy the bubbly.

Dan


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Nordic Valley Ski Resort with Powder Mountain visible in the distance. This is either me or one of my boys!? I think the answer is obvious. Sorry about the post but it is time for skiing?


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Dude, that is definitely you, not one of you boys because those skis are vintage! Not to mention the old school backscratcher. (That said, maybe your "boys" are older than I'm thinking.) Nowadays all the boys ride twin tips and do rodeo flips!

That's a terrific photo - looks like the skier is going to float right down to the valley floor.

Just had a fantastic day up at the hill. We enjoyed an unexpected powder day thanks to the BBC (Bridger Bowl Cloud). Sweetness!


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

It looks like you did not purchase the base with this Riga IV. I was just wondering how you secured it to keep it from blowing over?


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Yes, we did purchase the base, but it is not visible in the pictures since it's mostly buried. In addition to digging in the base, we dug down an extra 16 inches and put sheets of styrofoam all around the perimeter for insulation against frozen soil in the winter.

The structure is very solid. No worries even in strong winds.


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Karin

I planned to purchase the base. Do they recommend any ground anchors in addition to burying the base? I just wasn't sure how sturdy it would be.


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

No, I don't think there is any recommendation aside from the base kit. It's very sturdy. The base kit gets buried so that all but the top of it is within the soil. Then everything attaches to that. Once you backfill on top of the base you can get a sense for how much of an anchor that is. Very solid!


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Very cool. Thank you Karin. That will save us some work and costs in putting in other foundation materials.


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Karin

We picked up the Riga V on Saturday from the US distributor here in Austin. We added in the base, one top shelf and one bottom shelf. We probably won't attempt to assemble until October/November time frame. It's just to hot right now in Texas. We were able to fit all the boxes on a 16 foot utility trailer. Thanks again for all the assistance. Now we need to decide on the interior layout and what flooring we want to use.


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Nice going! How handy for you to be able to pick it up yourself. We have the same layout with shelving on just the one side.

Planning the interior decorating is so much fun! We went with a ground bed on either side and an aisle down the center. The ground beds don't run the full length. In the back there is a potting bench on one side and storage bins on the other side.

In summer I pop the shelving panels out and let plants grow to the ceiling. In fact right now the tomatoes are making a play to grow right out the roof vents. :)

For flooring and edging, we used plain pavers for the aisle, with brick-like blocks for the back edging. The front edge of the beds is Trex composite material. There is a nice layer of sand under the flooring and it drains fast.

Are you adding water and electricity? If you can, this sure makes things nice.

Let me know if you'd like any close-up photos of floors or edging, etc. Again, have fun with the planning process because it is super fun to visualize what you want and to think about how to make it happen.


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Karin

Thank you for describing your layout. It's given us some great ideas. Were nubies to the world of greenhouses so all tips and close up pictures are appreciated. We built an above ground pool about 6 years ago and I ran the power and water to the pool. We plan to do the same for the greenhouse. At least we have time to plan and assemble the other materials since we don't plan to assemble until October.


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Be sure to post some photos for us whrn you do put it together.


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Karin,

I enjoyed your post, sorry to not have seen it sooner. I have a couple of questions for you.

1. What is your water source? In one pic I see a white hose. How do you run that water into the GH?

2. The GH is not attached to the house. Did you ever consider insulating that wall?

Thanks. Very nice setup.

Robert


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Robert,

The water line exits the basement of the main house via a small hole in the foundation, passes through a very short trench, then comes up into the greenhouse. Inside the basement there is a shut-off valve and a drainage port so I can empty the line during cold weather. However last year I forgot that step and was greeted with a broken pipe in the spring, duh.

The original plan was to insulate that north wall but I just haven't. I was considering using the reflective bubble wrap stuff on the inside of the wall, but I don't know, that just seemed unappealing somehow. I'd prefer to insulate the outside wall and keep the inside cleaner looking. I am open to suggestions because this would be an obvious way to keep things warmer in there. Got any recommendations?

thanks!
Karin


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Karin

We started this weekend to put the base foundation together and are having the landscaping crushed stone, sand and pea gravel delivered this week. I was wondering how wide your walkway is. From the pictures it appears to be about 4 feet.
I was thinking of going with a 2-3 foot walkway using concrete pavers. Any cons with that idea? The weather here has finally started to drop below triple digits.


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Your idea for a walkway sounds right on to me. Our walkway is 32" wide, made with concrete pavers, just as you are thinking of using. On either side of the pavers is a 1" wide trex board that separates the walkway from the beds.

I couldn't go much narrower, as it's already hard to walk through there right now with the tomato plants and cucumber vines making things pretty crowded. As it is, it's a bit hard to reach the back of the beds, but it works pretty well, especially if I put in a few strategically-located stepping stones to allow me to reach father back.

Glad to hear that the weather is finally cooling down and allowing you to get to work on this fun project!

Keep us posted!


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Thank you Karin. Your photos and assistance are very much appreciated. We've had this greenhouse in storage for awhile now just hoping for some rain and cooler temperatures. Were still at high risk for flash fires. The Bastrop fires were only a few miles from us. Rain here has been scarce for the last year. I think Texas is returning to the dust bowl years. There is a small chance of rain this weekend which hopefully will make the digging easier. Right now the ground is like concrete.


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Karin - I was reviewing you pictures today and liked the way the electric and water was installed. I was wondering what you used for the post that allows you to hang the watering hose on it? It was hard to tell from the pictures.David


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Hi David,

Sorry for my delayed response. I have been away from the forum for a week or so.

The water comes in through the floor in a pvc pipe, which then makes a 90-degree bend to form a vertical pipe. A nice cedar 4x4 forms the rigid post, with the pvc attached to that with brackets. At the top of the pvc is a standard brass hose bib. I just coil the hose and rest it on the hose bib. The hose is short (25') and lightweight, so I can rest it on the hose bib. I meant to get a nicer hanger, but it turns out this works fine.

Last winter I left water in the pipe and it froze and broke, so when I had it replaced in the spring I added a junction down at the floor for the misting system. This is a nice addition. Now the mister has its own connection and I don't have to screw it on/off the hose bib, which was always awkward.

On the electricity, I had only 2 outlets put in and 4 would be better (lights, fans, heating pads, etc). So that is one thing I would do differently. The electrical box is at the back of the greenhouse while all the controls like light switches are at the front. So I wind up with lots of extension cords and adapters, and that's not a very clean arrangement.

That said, it's not exactly a hardship either. :) It's wonderful to have power out there!


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

sorry if this was mentioned, but i didnt see a heater, just a fan?


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Right, no heater. We never intended to heat it in the winter, but originally I was planning on getting a small heater to get though the occasional cold night. Turns out that hasn't been necessary. It retains heat very well, I cover things inside with blankets as needed and I have 15 or so 5-gallon buckets of water for some thermal mass.

There is also 4-inch thick, 16-inch deep styrofoam insulation all around the perimeter. I didn't think it would stay so warm in there but it does!


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Karin: I'm popping this thread back up to inquire about your base foundation. I see you wrote that you dug down an additional 16 inches and placed styrofoam around the perimeter. Did you add any gravel for drainage? Is so, how many inches? I assume then you backfilled with the dirt you took out since you have the planting beds on the inside of the greenhouse. Hope my inquiry makes sense.

Julia


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Hi Julia,

We did not add any gravel for drainage, we have good drainage here and the ground slopes gently away from the greenhouse.

For the beds inside, I took out 1-2 wheelbarrows of dirt from each bed and replaced it with a nice mixture of peat moss, sand and compost. It drains just fine. Under the paver flooring I put down a couple inches of sand.

Gwrace used gravel for backfill due to poor drainage where he is, so you could follow up on his recent thread to get more details.

I hope that helps!
Karin


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Gorgeous tomatoes. What kind are they? The don't quite look like Romas.


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Those tomatoes are Super San Marzano hybrid. Still have several boxes of them on the countertops in various states of ripening - they are mightily productive!


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

  • Posted by alicate SW Michigan, zone 5 (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 3, 14 at 16:27

How are you still liking this greenhouse? I want to get a Riga IV hopefully this summer.


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Totally! I'd buy another in a heartbeat, except in a larger size. I've determined that whatever size you have, it's a little bit too small.

Go for it!


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Hi, I was really excited to read your post since I am considering buying a Riga V Greennouse 9'8" x 17'8". You gave a lot of great information that makes me feel more confident with my decision and helped me with ideas such as adding insulation to the foundation frame. I am guessing you put up the greenhouse yourself since you seem quite handy. Did you find that relatively simple to do? I am really looking forward to extending my garden season here in Vermont. I will post pictures when we get ours up and organized - hopefully late spring. Thanks again for all the wonderful pictures and information.


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RE: My Riga Greenhouse (lots of pics)

Hi Jmiles,

Great! Vermont is definitely a climate that would be made easier with a greenhouse. That larger size is the one I wish I had now, so I approve of your choice.

Yes, we installed the greenhouse and my husband is extraordinarily handy (lucky for me). We just built another one this fall for friends who are also quite handy and we pulled it off in a day. That said, it is tricky. There are several places where the instructions are not clear or where the orientation of the pieces could be interpreted in a few different ways. But Riga makes a video which really helps. I watched the video several times and wrote down notes before we even started.

But a couple weekends' worth of hard labor is a no brainer compared to all the pleasure you'll get from having your greenhouse. Enjoy the planning/dreaming stage, which is a lot of fun.

Do keep us posted when you gear up in the spring!

Karin


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