Over the course of the winter I lost a lot of my greenhouse windows which got cracked in the wind. On closer inspection when I went to repair them I realised that my ‘shanty-town’ greenhouse (as my neighbour refers to it) was coming to the end of its life as the posts had rotted and a friend and I pulled it down. It had lasted 3 years, so I was fairly pleased anyway that I got a fair bit of use from it as it cost me nothing to make.
To replace it, I considered various cost-efficient options, from a small polytunnel to a Sunbubble, but I found myself wanting to rebuild a makeshift greenhouse from window frames again as a) there are still some window frames intact from the last one, b) I knew I would easily find some more windows by the side of the road or at the dump (as it turns out a friend has had some windows replaced recently so I’ve nabbed the old ones!) and c) I quite enjoy the challenge of gardening without spending money.
Where I was finding things difficult was in building something that would last more than 3 years – all the options I looked at for replacing the main frame of the structure with decent 4×4 timber (I think that’s the right size – I am a bit clueless!) were quite pricy, and the options for building foundations – breeze blocks, decking blocks, concrete etc – were both pricy AND not particularly environmentally friendly.
This is where freecycle came in handy. Someone nearby had dismantled an old garden shed, so I am now the proud owner of several suitable bits of timber for building the frame. They’re not perfect by any means, but I’m willing to take a punt on them and hope to get at least 5 years from them!! Free cycle and Facebook groups along the same lines are gold dust to gardeners – before you go out and spend money on things like wood chip, timber etc, it’s so worth putting a shout out! Also, I find that even if I bore people to death with tales of my future gardening projects, it’s always worth mentioning them as friends and family are only too happy for you to take ‘junk’ off their hands and save them a trip to the dump!
For the foundations, a friend of mine put me onto Post Savers. I haven’t used them yet, but the idea is that you wrap the lower section of a post in the waterproof cover that will be under the ground surface. You shrink wrap it to fit using a blow torch (included in the starter pack that I bought for £25) and once the post is dug into the ground the wrap keeps the wood protected, giving a significantly longer shelf life. Guess what I’m doing this weekend?! Yup, building a new greenhouse. I’ll report back in a few weeks…!