I have been thinking of building (or buying) a garden shed with windows on
one side. The ones that I have seen pics of have a steep front roof with
long windows extending from near the top to near the bottom. It looks ideal
for starting seedlings early, extending plants past the season and various
other things. Does anyone have any experience with such structures?
They seem to run more than a regular storeage shed. Those go for anywhere
from $800 to $1800 in my neck of the woods and that's for pre-assembled. A
solar shed doesn't differ all that much except for the windows and a
different pitched roof and the cheapest I've found is one for about $2200
I'd rather not build one myself. I don't have the energy I did several years
ago when I would have tackled it quickly. I did get an estimate from a local
lumber company who builds houses too and got a whopping $4200 bucks for a
10'X12'. Any advice out ther would be appreciated.
Maybe a Jake leg carpenter?
On Wed, 19 Jan 2005 16:23:35 -0500, "Aunty Kreist"
Check out Farmtek.
I received their catalog recently and they have a good selection of
stuff, mostly for growing plants. They have greenhouses, cold frames,
plastic greenhouses ($109), and some patio greenhouses which looked
I can't speak as to how good or reliable these guys are, but could be
something there that would suit you.
I saw a couple of suggestions that you put up a greenhouse. It all
depends on what you want the result to do and to look like. A shed is
probably better looking than a greenhouse, but for starting plants a
greenhouse will do a better job than a shed with a few extra windows.
A small greenhouse can be built for fairly short money if you just build
a frame and cover it with plastic. There are a number of kits out there
that you can choose among if you don't want to do your own design. Note
that construction plastic is inadequate for a greenhouse, since it's not
treated against UV in sunlight, and will disintegrate, probably within a
Note also that a greenhouse (or for that matter a shed with extra large
windows) *****NEEDS***** ventilation for proper temperature control. I
have a 14x20 greenhouse. One time I closed it up on a sunny february day
(temp 30 F). The temperature inside got high enough to pin my
thermometer, which tops out at 130 F. I have baked plants when I didn't
open the greenhouse in time.
Ventilation is most easily provided by an exhaust fan. You need an air
intake to open when the fan is in operation. My first greenhouse just
had a door that opened inward, on a spring. When the fan came on it
sucked the door open. Easy. For the next greenhouse I got fancy and
installed a motor-driven louver that turns on with the fan. You probably
need more of a fan than you might think. For the 14x20 I used a 30" fan.
For the 10x12 size you mentioned you might make do with 20" or 24". A
thermostat is required to turn it on when it gets hot.
If you can roll up the sides of the greenhouse (or open the shed
windows) you can turn off the fan. However, I would use the fan for cold
days and only open the windows or roll up the sides when the morning
temperature is reasonable when I leave for work.
A shed with big windows is one step up from starting plants in a
"sunny window." With sun coming from 1 direction only part of the day,
the problems of 'legginess' in seedlings, and inadequate light for
'full sun' plants persist. This is what originally drove me to a
greenhouse. As another poster pointed out, you also need to consider
ventilation and temperature control, particularly for seedlings.
The shed you describe sounds ideal for storage with work area, but not
as a greenhouse substitute.
One version of this is a Nearing Frame which was designed by Guy Nearing
in Ramsey, New Jersey, to root rhododendron cuttings. His had a slant
root the top of which faced the south. The planting beds were on the
north side of the roof and underneath it. The beds received no sun
light since they only had a northern exposure. The glass was placed
horizontally over the beds. You need less glass that way. To work in
the beds, you just raise panes or remove them.
If you google "nearing frame" you will get complete instructions for
If you want more light, you can place the Nearing Frame to the south of
a white wall. Then the light will be reflected, but the heat will not
burn the seedlings or cuttings. An even better idea is to have white
roofs on multiple frames and line them up so the roof of one reflects
light into the one behind it. Also paint all surfaces white for more
light. The roof can be translucent as long as it filters out the infra
red rays. This is to keep from burning the plants.
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