Have you always wanted to build a greenhouse? We have had many different ones, most of them made from PVC and plastic cut from rolls. We have had a few made from wood and hard plastic, like the one I have now and the one we had built in our yard in San Antonio.
A greenhouse allows you to grow through the winter and to protect tropical trees and plants. I keep all of my lemon, lime, and papaya trees in my greenhouse as well as avocado and a peach tree.
Good Monday morning! It was supposed to get down to 52° but it went lower, down to 44°. I rushed out as soon as I got up and the chicks were peeping and cold. I left the window cracked but it was too cold. They are fine.
This week we will be talking about how to build a greenhouse. There are so many ways it can be done. We have had so many of them, depending on where we lived but all were temporary except for two, both permanent. One we built in our San Antonio yard after having lived there for about 12 years. The other was built for me two years ago, in our private backyard so employees will stay out after some were dumping whatever I planted each day. So we took care of the problem and built me a wooden one. If you work for us, stay out of my greenhouse and stay out of trouble. The high tunnel that David has is still way bigger and better.
I have six dozen fresh eggs in our Farm Store refrigerator and we have a bunch of plants this morning; most of them are tomatoes for $1.95 each.
It is now 3pm and it is only 80° Fahrenheit. I just got back from the backyard where I watered the trees and plants in my greenhouse area. Somebody needs to water the parking lot plants. My legs are done for the day. The mailman came.
I have added several new products to the website today.
How to build a greenhouse would be a good title for this page. David has built many over our 36 years of marriage. Most of them have been made from PVC pipes screwed into raised wooden beds which are then covered with rolls of plastic.
The above photos are of our newest high tunnel greenhouse. If you want to build a greenhouse, try building a high tunnel. It is much sturdier and taller then our previous greenhouses. It cost about $2000 to build compared to about $9000 for a metal greenhouse. With the electric outlets, fans, evaporative cooler ($4000) and all the accessories you see, it cost us about $9000.
We get the evaporative coolers from Port-A-Cool. They are very durable and last for years. I have one that we got six years ago and we had to replace the pump because of the hard water. I sold these evaporative coolers when I was in Iraq as well. They are built in Texas.
This is our completed high tunnel greenhouse. I told the guys to add four feet to
it. They misunderstood me and added four feet to each side instead of the two ends lengthwise, which is
one of those mistakes that ended up being a good mistake. I like the
extra height. We used 1 and 1/4 inch PVC instead of the usual 3/4 inch PVC. We put
the pipe two feet apart. We added about 7 rows of strengthening trusses.
We made the plastic cover where we can drop it during the summer time
for added cooling. We have one fan as an intake and one as an exhaust
fan. We constructed a better door. We added a place to plant inside
since we had too many shelves.
Happy 36th wedding anniversary to David and me. How on earth have 36 years gone by? It amazes me.
This morning, the sky is gray and there is a strong breeze. It feels like rain. I am sitting in the store catching up on some more adding products to the website. I have laundry and dishes going. Nacho is here with some helpers working out back. The new chicks are doing well. I found four peanut plants that are up now. If it would stop getting chilly at night, I think the rest would come up.
It is starting to sprinkle. There is a 54% chance of rain at noon according to my Alexa.
Now it is 2:10pm. We got a few sprinkles and that was it. No rain. I need to go clean out the pond again.
I cleaned and refilled the pond. Everyone but Nacho and his helpers left before 5pm. Nacho left sometime after 6pm. I had wanted to go out for our anniversary but by that time, it was too late. I made some frozen Chinese food and some rice. Maybe we will go out on Friday while we are in San Antonio for a doctor's appointment.
As you may have already read, we used to have just one greenhouse on the property, a high tunnel made of PVC pipes. It is large and there is plenty of room in it. David gave me some shelves for my plants. In the spring of 2021, I planted a bunch of my seeds that I bought from another seed company. I really wanted to try them all. I would mark them and put them on my shelf. The next day, I would go in there and they would be gone. At the time we had a "farm manager" who thought the greenhouse was his. Each day he would come in and dump my seeds, saying they were not marked, even though they were. This went on for about a week.
Then David went into the hospital for surgery and by the time he came home ten days later, everything in our garden was dead, even the okra. David fired the entire outdoor staff just like he said he would if they allowed things to die while he was gone. I was very happy because these people were dumping my plants and would go sit in air conditioned sheds instead of working. How do we know this? Because we would go in them each day after everyone went home. The air conditioners would be running and there would be folding chairs in them. We would turn off the A/Cs and take the chairs out. Each day, the A/Cs would magically come on and the chairs would magically appear and not much was getting done outside.
They would come tell me that such and such a tree had so many fruits on it or such and such a plant was producing fruit, like we had no idea. After everyone went home, we would go through everything to see what it was that they did. We knew everything going on with our orchard and our plants.
I guess they thought we never went out back. How did they think the animals got taken care of? Who was getting the eggs? It just blows me away at how stupid they thought we were. I think some of our later employees also thought we were stupid, telling me that I was doing things wrong with chicks, and telling me that unripened fruit on our trees needed to be picked. One actually picked all of my Meyer lemons prior to them being ripe. I was watching the lemons each day, waiting to pick them. One fine day, this guy showed up with all of the lemons, my very first. I cannot tell you how upset I was. Thankfully, he quit one day last year. That winter, those trees all died so I never did get to pick my first lemons.
So about a month after he quit, I told David that I needed my own greenhouse so the employees would stay out of my stuff. David called a contractor to tell him to build a greenhouse out of wood and plastic siding and he put this one together for me. Most of the time, they stay out but some of them go in and take tools or move my garden hoses or nozzles. They also unplug electrical things from the outlets.
I have been able to keep all of my new citrus trees alive this past winter as well as many other plants in my greenhouse. I have a ton of new citronella growing in the greenhouse.
Well, good morning! Matt brought us breakfast this morning. I am at home working in my office and finishing breakfast. It is very warm at 71° and overcast. No rain is expected today. I am watching a video on making foods at home instead of buying packaged garbage filled with GMOs. I need to be sitting in an empty store less and making good foods more.
This has been a strange week. Seed orders are down and no one has come into the store at all this week. I think it may have something to do with cold and snow up North.
Locally, we just finished the Poteet Strawberry Festival and tomorrow, Fiesta in San Antonio starts. Fiesta is an eleven day party. These festivals cost a lot of money. People tell us that $3.95 for a pack of seeds is a lot of money but then they pay $10 to $20 for a day of parking, another $10 to $20 to get into a festival and spend a lot of money buying foods and drinks all day long for them and their families. A lot of people go day after day to these festivals.
Most of the towns and cities have festivals that cost a lot all through the year. The way I look at it, $3.95 to grow a lot of food for your family that you know is healthy is a much better bargain than eating greasy, deep fried, overpriced foods day after day. Families can blow their whole grocery budget on these festivals in one day.
A lot of people come out here to our Farm Store and tell me our seeds cost too much. I think they are used to buying old seeds at the dollar store for a buck where you get 10 or 20 seeds and not many come up. Or they buy a pack of seeds at one of the big box stores for $1.79. You get a small amount of seeds and some come up that may grow.
Then you come out to this Farm Store in the country, expecting us to have ridiculously low prices. We don't! You get more seeds in our package and they are fresh heirlooms. Remember, you don't have to plant them all at once. You can save some for fall or even next spring if you store them in a cool, dry place. Not the fridge or freezer.
Someone who worked the Strawberry Festival this past Saturday was telling me that a can of beer was $6. Funny how people don't mind forking over $6 for one beer but they balk at paying $3.95 for a pack of 200 carrot seeds. They will just pee out that can of beer but for $3.95, they can plant 200 carrot seeds and have delicious, healthy carrots for less than 2¢ per carrot. That is a real bargain and you control what you put on your vegetables. You don't have to spray your garden with pesticides. You can eat those carrots raw or cook them in a number of ways to feed your family.
Another example, buy a pack of bush bean seeds for $3.95. You get 100 seeds so the cost of one bean bush is 39 and 1/2¢. For less than 40¢, you can grow a whole bush of green beans. Bush beans put out a lot of beans and you can have 100 bushes. That is a lot of healthy food for you to serve your family.
It is now 3pm and we have had quite a few customers. The first one today showed up while I was in the house doing some kitchen chores. So I have been back over here at the store.
I dusted the mountains of DVDs in our living room and put them into 26 piles according to their titles for David to go through.
I made chicken stroganoff instead of beef stroganoff with broccoli for dinner. I took David a plate in his office.
This evening, when David came home, we went through all of our piles of DVDs and he selected the ones he wanted to keep in the house. Then I put them back up on the shelves. Now, all I have to do is pack up the rest and put them in storage once my DVD storage containers get here from Amazon.
Above is the first greenhouse we built out here on the farm. We did not make it tall enough and when the wind blew, it would go low. It served its purpose and taught us a lesson. The lesson is always watch what your people are doing, especially for big projects like when they build a greenhouse. Don't trust them to do what you want. They will do it their way. This short greenhouse finally died so we built our high tunnel. It looks great and is sturdy.
We get a lot of wind out here. Each time there was a windy day, The air would sort of suck out and then rush back in so this particular greenhouse would get shorter during windy times. It pretty much collapsed one fine day which is why we finally took it down sometime in 2021 and rebuilt it into a high tunnel.
Good Thursday morning! I had to shovel out wet wood shavings from the chicks who spilled their waterer so everything was wet. I put in dry shavings and gave them new food, water, and grit. They are getting big fast. They are two weeks old now.
David had most of the crew out back, planting 144 rather large tomato plants. We still have a few large tomato plants left. We also have some pepper plants and a few assorted vegetable plants and herb plants for sale.
I have nine dozen eggs in the Farm Store refrigerator today. We have had several local families in today to shop for plants and seeds. We still have some tomato plants left for $1.95.
Alexa says we have a thunderstorm warning until 10pm tonight. So far, we have not had a drop of rain. We really need it.
Good news! My DVD containers came in today. They will hold about 30 videos per container so that is good. My chicks knocked their water over again so I had to fix that after lunch. Demian planted all of the celery in hoop house number five. My peanut plants are looking good. I think six of them are up now that it is not getting cold at night.
So are my potato plants. They are getting big and some of them are flowering.
I got all of the videos packed up and into storage so the living room is back to normal.
At 10pm, we had quite a bit of thunder and lightning but not a drop of rain and then I went to bed.
Snakes, gophers, cats, rats, mice, spiders, and other creepy creatures will go in and out of your PVC greenhouse from under the plastic. The PVC pipes should be screwed into the wood at the bottom but the plastic sheeting cannot be screwed down at the bottom all the way across. In fact, the plastic sheeting should not be screwed in at all. The wind will tear the plastic and that is expensive. We have had to replace our plastic sheeting because someone would screw it on instead of using snap clamps. It amazes us how so many people we have hired have cost us so much. David tells people exactly how he wants a project done but they don't listen. When you point the mistake out to them, they do not say I am sorry, I will do better. They deny it. They say it should be fine and it was done correctly. What?
When David was building greenhouses by himself in all of the places we lived, he never had a problem with plastic sheeting ripping because he never screwed in the plastic. If you are going to try to build a greenhouse, do it by yourself. Do not hire someone to do it for you. The trouble now is that David is so busy running the company that he doesn't have time to do all of the projects and build greenhouses so he pays people to do them.
Good Friday morning. We did not get a drop of rain yesterday. But sometime in the night, I think we got some rain because everything outside is soaking wet! Even our window screens are all wet. I read some posts from people who live in the town of Poteet on Facebook this morning and they talked about hail after 1am. I did not hear a thing. I woke up four times in the night with a stuffed nose but all was quiet on the western front here...
So David has been up early and is outside moving from crop to crop, turning on water and whatever else he does out there. I caught a few glimpses of him. I don't think anyone else is here yet. I have a 10am doctor's appointment so I am dressed but I still need to make myself presentable. The indoor animals have been fed. I made it to the back porch to take the dogs out but that is all so far.
It is now 3:40pm. On the way to San Antonio this morning, we ran into a heavy rainstorm on the freeway and finally got off and to the doctor's office in time. I had a foot shot and then we went to a furniture store. Our den couch died and we really needed something comfy to sit on in there. We found a nice small sectional that was on sale. It is supposed to be delivered two weeks from tomorrow. Yay.
Then we went to Salt Grass to celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary which was this past Tuesday, the 18th. We had a good lunch and came up with some new ideas for our business. Then we drove back to the farm. We have three employees here now, getting it done, plus Matt, who has been managing things. I made a grocery order from Walmart which we have to pick up later this evening but neither one of us feels like shopping now. I think I will still have to go inside for some fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, and milk but that should be it.
We went to Tractor Supply at the end of the day and picked up some six foot galvanized tubs and one of their little chicken houses for my current baby chicks. We got all that loaded in the back of the truck and it took some doing...
Then we headed to Walmart. David picked up the groceries and I went inside for meat and dairy and a few other things. We got Sonic since it was almost 7pm and we headed home. It took a while to get everything unloaded and put away.
Some of the guys will have to unload the bed of the truck in the morning. This shopping trip was the first in months where my feet did not hurt. I have been having so much pain so kudos to my wonderful podiatrist for good work!
We just added a 25% off all seeds sale starting this afternoon. If you need some spring seeds, be sure that you come by David's Garden Seeds® Farm Store tomorrow between 10am and 2pm. We have some plants left that we grew, eggs, coffee, and seeds. We also have germination mix, germination kits, seed starting pots and trays...
Soon, we will have snacks back in stock. We have just been too busy to shop. Anyway, come on by and visit with us.
Of course, there are greenhouse kits you can buy online. Some are small and others are bigger. You can save a lot of money and build a greenhouse yourself. Go to Home Depot and get some boards for raised beds. The PVC pipes will be screwed into the beds on the outside. Bend the pipes down to the opposite side or add a connector and another pipe to make your greenhouse taller. Here, in his own words, David explains how he builds one:
To build a greenhouse, I lay down two raised beds first of all. I build these out of landscape timbers. These seem to be the fastest, cheapest and easiest to use. I will make each bed three feet wide by 12 inches high. 12 inches should cover just about anything you are planting in the greenhouse.
Once the raised beds are together, I will start with the actual greenhouse. The raised beds can take me a week to do with moving in the soil. I take a tape measure and mark off every three feet. Once this is done I will attach one end of a twenty foot piece of ¾ inch PVC pipe. I put the end flush with the ground and then attach it with two three inch wood screws. Then I will go to the other side and attach the next one. This part is hard to do if you are by yourself.
Once this is done, I will run a piece of pipe down the middle, on top of the PVC arches. This is to help keep the PVC pipe in the right place at the top and to help hold my cover up. I screwed mine in but since I have found a product call a Snap Clamp Cross. These just snap into place to hold my pipe. It looks much better as well and is stronger as you build your own greenhouse.
I will frame in a door at one end and a window at the other end. Once this is done I put my cover on using Snap Clamps and Snap Clamp grips. Here in SA I like to use Typar Xavan. This is a durable fabric that allows for 70% light transmission which is good for my plants in the hot Texas sun. Sometimes I will replace this and use Shade Cloth. There are also Tufflite covers that can be used. These allow for 100% light.
Good morning, everyone! It is a beautiful Saturday morning at 55° early this morning. I got up, fed everyone inside except David and me. He made a nice homemade breakfast sandwich for each of us. I unlocked the business in the front for the guys and fed the fish. Then I went out back to take care of the rest of the animals. Of course, the baby chicks made poo all over their water and food dishes so I had to clean that. I got them fixed up and opened the window for them.
Then I moved on to the guineas and rabbits and got them all taken care of. I fed the chickens and had to scrub out both waterers because no one is doing that. I scrubbed them both out clean and got them fresh water. They started eating and drinking and were very happy.
Demian and Matt unloaded the truck, putting the galvanized tubs up front by the Farm Store. Matt took the chicken coop in the back. Then he took the truck up to Tractor Supply for another chicken coop and some more galvanized tubs. Demian is out front filling the galvanized tubs with dirt and I will be planting another Mrs. David's Garden Seeds® Zinnia Mix in most of them. I will also plant four varieties of dwarf sunflowers. When they grow, customers will be able to come out to the farm and pick their own sunflower stems and zinnia stems for a fee. Since zinnias do so well here in our sand, this will be the perfect way for us to give customers something special when they visit. I get so many compliments each summer on my beautiful zinnias but I never thought about letting the customers pick them before. No, they will not be free. This place costs us a lot to keep up so there will be a fee. A lot of other farms in the area are having pick your own strawberries, veggies, flowers, etc for a fee.
There may be some pick your own veggie days here as well. In the store, I am going to pull out all seven lettuces growing in my grow tower and plant seven herbs so customers can come in and we will cut fresh herbs for them to take home for a fee. I am hoping to get to that today or tomorrow. So far, I have been very busy cleaning out the pond, mixing zinnia seeds, and restocking the store, not to mention waiting on customers. And, of course, we will continue to sell our beautiful eggs.
Our neighbors just got two more sheep. I am loving them. I want some for sure. They are eating up all of their overgrown yard sections and they look so awesome. Maybe that will be next but we do have to get our current baby chicks out of the brooder in about a week and get it ready for the new babies that should be here in about four more weeks coming from Ideal Poultry, a chicken hatchery here in Texas. This will be my first dealing with them. I ordered 30 chicks back in February and May 22 was the earliest date they had to ship them to me. I am so excited!
Matt picked us up another chicken coop to build next week. He did not come this evening for Svengoolie as he was not feeling well. The movie was The Mole People. It was weird but interesting. I made a delciious roast chicken and bread sticks with vegetables.
David's own words on how to build a greenhouse, specifically the hoop house:
This is our completed hoop house. I told the guys to add four feet to it. They misunderstood me and added four feet to each side instead of four feet to the length of the greenhouse. This is one of those mistakes that ends up being a good mistake because we now have our own high tunnel greenhouse. I like the extra height.
We used 1 and 1/4 inch PVC pipe instead of the usual 3/4 inch PVC. We put the pipes 2 feet apart. We added about 7 rows of strengthening trusses. We made the plastic cover where we can drop it during the summer time for added cooling. We have one fan as an intake and one as an exhaust fan.
We constructed a better door which we replaced in February of 2023 with a regular screen door that goes on a house. We added a place to plant inside since we had too many shelves. We ended up starting 4,000 plants, mostly tomato plants, for the spring 2023 season and we are down to about 275 plants left.
It poured in the night and continued on through after 9am. We got one and a quarter inches of rain. I let the dogs out and took care of the baby chicks in the pouring rain. At 8:45am, we took off for Walmart in the rain to pick up a grocery order and to get gas. Shortly after we got back, the rain stopped so I was able to go out and take care of all of the animals. Then we got ready for church and went. We came home and had chicken and rice and relaxed for the afternoon. It has been pretty chilly all day and Alexa says it may rain again.
I was going to plant this afternoon but the sand is just too wet. The wind has been blowing and it is sort of miserable outside. It should be nice and warm but it is not. Lucy is having a hard time with her arthritic leg today. We gave her the arthritis chews as well as pills from the vet but it is really bothering her.
Here are David's own words from our first farm greenhouse in the fall of 2019:
The white pipe you see running down on the left side of the greenhouse is our water pipe. It goes to the well we put in about two months ago. The water itself has a good nitrogen reading and a great phosphorus reading. I believe this water is going to excellent for our hydroponic system without adding any additional nutrients.
Probably next year we will be burying the pipe along with some electrical wiring we need to put in as well. Things are moving on the farm.
Also sitting down there is a 2500 gallon water tank. It is like the tank we got water from the first few months we were here. Now it is full of well water and will be used as a back up.
In the photo above, you can see we have plastic sheeting as well as shade cloth to shade the plants as they are getting a bit too much sun.
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