Sunday, February 2, 2014

Building a Greenhouse - Post 3

Raising the roof!

Before I tell you about phase 3 of the greenhouse project, I wanted to share the picture of my flowering quince. There hasn't been any rain this winter but this plant is still blooming with these gorgeous deep-pink flowers. This is a tough plant, as it survived the summer the house was in foreclosure without water, and I don't water it all. It lived through the snow and the extended freezing temperatures and every winter it blooms like this. Amazing plant!

Flowering Quince

Greenhouse Build #3

This past Friday and Saturday, my dad and I spent a couple days putting the roof on the greenhouse. We had a lot of different ideas about how the roof should look, whether it should be a simple slanted roof (my idea), or a traditional pitched roof. Dad has usual decided it would be a pitched roof and since I had the solar panel to put on it as well, that worked the best in the end. First we had to go to Lowe's to get the wood to build roof and the poly-carbonate panels that I wanted for the roofing material. Holey moley! Those things are expensive so I decided to put the polyvinyl film that I used for the sides onto the roof instead for now. 
Friday - we only had a a couple of hours of daylight left by the time we got back from the store and we started working as fast as we could. The first step was to determine the height of the roof, or the "pitch" of the roof. We did it the scientific way, we cut different lengths of 2x4 cut and Dad held them on the top of the wall to see what they looked liked why I stood on the ground and decided. We settled on 18 inches.. but it was an alternate universe type of interaction similar to when you are trying to place furniture in a room. 
It all starts here - the front support
Adding a couple of nails to the ridge line - notice he holds them in his mouth
View from the ladder to the back of the center line


Then we built the center ridge line from the front to the back, that supports the rafters which radiate out to the side walls. Here is a picture of Dad demonstrating how you should not hold nails... but all these years he hasn't swallowed any so maybe it is okay. 


Finished ridge line

Next we had to figure out the angle to cut the rafters in order to hang them off of the center and meet the walls..we did use a speed square and then cut some spare pieces of wood to "dry-fit" them until we got it right. We got the front rafter up on Friday and then had to stop.



Whew - the front rafter is up, only 6 more to go.
The next morning it was so cold, there was ice everywhere and working outside our hands were freezing! But we were able to make good time and got all the rafters up by about 1pm or so. It took us about 4 1/2 hours of work to get this much done. See below..
Rafter number 2 - I did the cutting and hauling. Dad nailed them in.

Inside looking out - one side done!


And side number 2 is finished!
This is how it looked when the rafters were completed.
Next - we hung my solar panel on the front of the house. The solar panel is 100 watts and will provide power for the fish tank pump as well as any lights or fans that I might want to add in the future. (Whenever I mention "grow lights" people get really interested in my project!) This is a great little kit that I bought off of Amazon for less than $200! After the panel went up we pulled the plastic over the roof and stapled into place. And then we called it a day.. we finished around 3 pm or so, and really that was pretty good time!
Front view - the panel is attached to the roof and it faces south so it will get plenty of sun. The plastic is on the roof.

Here are the pictures of it finished from the side and back..
East facing side - those are the glass from my old sliding doors.

Back is done - this faces north and will not get a lot of sun.
The next step will to put together the aquaponic system and get the plants started. Oh and buy some fish! I think I will start with channel catfish, they are native to California and tough as nails. The don't mind the heat, dirty water or low oxygen levels. Hopefully, they will survive and the raccoons won't eat them either...This is going to be really exciting to see if it works as well as all the books and "experts" say it will. 

Stay tuned - connecting the aquaponics system will be interesting I am sure. I am not buying a kit (they cost $$$$) so I finding the parts as cheap as I can and I am going to put it together myself. I am going to ask one of my friends who is a "fish guy" to come help, so it could be entertaining..

Julie