Sunday, April 29, 2012


It's been a long time since I've posted and a lot has been going on. About six months ago, we built a greenhouse. I've wanted one for years, and we didn't have the money to buy a nice kit and I had heard so many mixed reviews about the cheap ones from Harbor Freight, so I just built one from scratch. It ended up costing around $500, but part of that was for rebuilding the aquaponics stand and a little plumbing so I've got a working hose inside it. It's 7.5' deep and 10' wide.

Greenhouses in Arizona are an odd thing. This will really only get used between Halloween and March first, unless I decide to put an evaporative cooler in it, which I'm on the fence about. It worked fantastically for starting all of my spring seedlings and I had enough room to grow some extra for a local nursery (urban farm nursery) and a few for the farmer's market. This year's plant sales paid for about half of the cost of the greenhouse, so it looks like it will be a cost-effective endeavor. I also started a bunch of rare varieties of pomegranates and mulberries from cuttings this winter and spring that should go into the ground later this year or next spring. I will do a separate post about that. An 85˚ room full of plants when it's 50˚ or less outside was wonderful for my husband and I to go warm up in for a few minutes every day. The 175 gallons of water in the aquaponics tank helps keep the temps more stable. I still had to use a small tank heater, but not nearly as much as I would have needed without it. Most of the work on the tiny farm is done solely by yours truly, but when I'm doing large projects that require two sets of hands Wes is willing to help out, especially if the job is going to require the use of the .22 powered nail gun. :)

I just realized that there aren't any images from the outside after it was completely finished. The sides and doors all have heavy weight greenhouse plastic covering them. I'm not sure if that's a permanent thing or not. We'll see how it holds up.

 Leveling the frame foundation before I poured the cement, it's hot and sunny here, we usually work in sombreros, much to the amusement of people who happen to look in. Notice the old aquaponics set-up in the background

Aquaponics moved, and in place. Moving this thing required pumping out all of the water, removing all of the hydroton in the growbed and unfortunately pulling out all of the plants. We tried to save some, but I think one chard plant was all that made it from the move.

 Framed! The building this abuts is where I work all day. I can open the window and use the greenhouse for a bit of passive heating!

Another shot, the wall closest to the camera is the south side. All of the stock tanks, troughs, and barrels were used to store aquaponics water and medium while we moved the system.

Painted and time for the roof panels to go on.

A view of the aquaponics set up a little after I transplanted some tomato volunteers from the yard before our first frost, the tomatoes TOOK OFF!

Here is a view into the greenhouse from the side window with my spring starts growing.

It's no Martha Stewart greenhouse, but it works really well for the tiny farm!