Having got the greenhouse glazed, it’s time for the finishing touches and fitting out.
The guttering was tested and there’s a slight fall to the rear, which is perfect. Because one of the downpipes will put the water where it is going to come back onto the house, altered the piping to send the water to the side of the slab pad. This should soak away rather than back-flooding into the greenhouse.
I could have run the gutter pipe into a water tank but I don’t need it. Not only have I got mains water very near to the house, I’ve 400 litres of rainwater stored in butts filled from the old cowshed roof. It would be overkill!
To stop water seeping in under the sides of the greenhouse I’ve run silicon sealant around the edges. It doesn’t matter hugely but water on the floor increases humidity and that leads to fungal problems. Not what you want with seedlings especially.
The base is solidly fixed down with extra brackets as well – just in case a pane goes and wind gets in, lifting the greenhouse. It’s not quite a bomb-proof greenhouse, but it’s getting that way!
Electric to the Greenhouse
I’m running power in via an extension cable which is fed from a weatherproof outside socket. This is fed through an RCD in the outside power fuseboard. Legally I’d need a qualified electrician to permanently run power into the greenhouse. This is not the case when taking power via an extension cable run from a 13 amp socket just like an electric mower or what have you.
To get the cable in, I drilled a 20 mm hole in the base plate. I then fitted a rubber grommet to prevent the cable chafing on the metal. These are designed for metal back-boxes for electrical sockets. Had to take the plug off the end to get the cable through the hole, but that’s only a couple of minutes job.
The cable is clipped around the base (no tripping or chafing) and the 4 socket extension reel drum is under the the staging at the far end. From this I can run a 6 socket extension above the staging and directly plug in a thermostatically controlled electric heater. If I want I can keep the whole greenhouse frost-free in winter.
On the staging I’ve two 22” by 39” 100 watt heated trays from TwoWests. These are controlled via thermostats so I can provide bottom heat for seedlings or over-wintering plants as needed. I might build a cover box so making a propagator or just better protection if we get another minus 15 winter.
Another possibility that I need electric for are grow-lights. Despite the shading effect of the windbreaks, there’s plenty of light in the house but grow-lights really bring plants on at the beginning of the season when days are short. We’ll see how things go.
Inside the greenhouse I’ve got a slimline water butt. This provides water at room temperature rather than the 5ºC temperature of tap water, which can shock seedlings. It also acts a thermal store, helping to keep the house frost-free at night.
There are times when extra staging is really useful for young plants, too tender to go out. But come the summer the space is better used for tomatoes etc. and the staging is in the way. TwoWests have a neat answer, a wire mesh staging shelf that folds down flat and still lets light through. See – Folding Greenhouse Staging
It comes flat-packed but it’s very quick and easy to put together. Fixing to the glazing bars is easy but I’d suggest a two person job.
When I decided to put a second greenhouse up I thought long and hard about what size to get. It’s true that whatever size you have, in the middle of the season you wish for more. In the space I’ve got I could have put another 14 ft. by 8 ft. greenhouse up. So why did I go for 10 ft. by 6 ft.?
The main reason was this is a second greenhouse and being smaller, I can keep the whole house frost-free if I want without sending the electricity bill through the roof. I’ll be able to empty the bigger greenhouse of plants and give it a proper clean and fumigate in the winter. Because it is a smaller greenhouse, it’s even more important to make best use of the space. Hence the value of the folding shelf unit.