Our Solar Greenhouse Construction

We’ve mentioned our solar greenhouse many times over the years both in Saskatchewan and now here in Nova Scotia. Our greenhouse is an indispensable necessity for us and an invaluable resource for maintaining our self-reliant lifestyle. It not only allows us to grow vegetables requiring longer growing seasons like sweet potatoes but it is a season extender both in spring and fall and allows us to grow some vegetables literally year round.

Solar Greenhouse Framework

Solar Greenhouse Framework

Due to our cold climate and northern latitude, we can’t say vegetables thrive in the winter but it gives us enough to have fresh eating which is good enough. As soon as longer days of spring show up, it’s off to the races since our plants are established and just waiting for the proper conditions to take off again.

This video shows how we built our greenhouse. https://youtu.be/8SiU2-4R6xw We hope it encourages and inspires you to give something like this a try. You won’t regret it.

We will be happy to answer any specific questions you have. As you can see from the video, we had extra material from house building which was a terrific re-purpose of material for the greenhouse. An insulated foundation for northern climates is a must.

The fact that it was concrete made it that much more structurally sound. It’s not going anywhere. After we dug the trench, we put in gravel, then tamped it all down to help with any frost heaving issues. As a result, it has been rock solid for us.

As for materials, don’t make the same mistake we made. We ordered 1 X 3 boards along with other random supplies. What showed up was mostly garbage 1 X 3. Knots, wane and just almost impossible to work with. I ran all material through a planer just to get it slightly thinner and uniform. You are paying for material so show up at the lumber yard so hand select the best out of the pile for the purpose of bending without breaking.

In order to make sliding the 1 X 3 cross braces through easier, those pieces were also planed in thickness just enough to be able to slide them through each arch.

For those is snowy climates, you can see we have metal roof. And the roof allows snow to slide down and deposit right on the greenhouse top. There are different snow guards you can put up on the house roof. We used a plastic right angle snow guard between ribs across the roof. They essentially lock the snow in place and prevent it from sliding off.

As for the beds themselves, before putting the soil from the pathway into the beds, we suggest digging those beds up and adding in some manure and organic matter. This will be the first turning over of that soil so might well do it right the first time. That way, you should have great results the first year.

Until next time, keep the dream alive! We wish you a great day!

Ron and Johanna

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