It turns out we'll need to find another use for the free PVC pipes Paul picked up for me, as we no longer need a hoop house. Nope, he convinced me to go with a greenhouse kit instead. We got a good deal on this one, the last one left (and the floor model) at The Farm Store in Chehalis, and put it up last weekend. Paul built a u-shaped bench inside for me so I'll have lots of room to tinker. Much smaller than the 10' x 12' hoop house we had planned, this 6' x 8' model does have nice sturdy plastic on the outside, four roll-up window flaps with mesh behind for ventilation when you need it (and velcro all around to hold them shut when you don't), and an easy-to-assemble metal frame. Oh, and two fully zippered doors, one on each end.
Choosing a site wasn't easy, and we're not sold on the location (the same place we'd planned to put the hoop house). It seems to sit in a bit of a hole, so Sunday morning's indoor temperature, even with all the windows closed and the doors tightly zippered, was actually lower than the 30 degrees our patio thermometer read. We checked again just before we hauled the boys to their summer pasture, and boy howdy, it was up to 98 degrees (over 30 degrees warmer than outside)! A few hours later and it was a whopping 110 degrees.
I have a steep learning curve while I learn how and when to ventilate, and what to put inside during the summer. I'm afraid to invest in precious vegetable seedlings just yet, as I don't want to kill them off inside this wildly fluctuating environment. It doesn't sound like we're expecting frost for the next week, so my petunia and fuscia baskets are safer outside, too. I wish it was bigger because I did have dreams of puttering around and trying winter greens during our nasty weather, but maybe I can grow lettuce or spinach under the benches in some sort of box. (The floor is still grass for now, but once we choose a permanent location we can put down some gravel and I can cut in a raised bed or two, maybe.)
Whatever we do in there over the summer, you can bet I'll be checking the temperature a couple of times each day to see how my ventilation experiments are working.
Do you use a greenhouse in your garden?
The greenhouse in the evening.
Paul's garden benches, using his great uncle Art's sawhorses, some blocks of wood and fir rounds, old cupboard doors and plywood. Perfect!