Sometimes life is for sharing. Sometimes life is for living. The last few months, we've been caught in a whirlwind of just living life. The arrival of spring brought a long to-do list to get the garden ready for a new season. Since March, we've made many new additions to our space that we are eager to share. It's been a roller coaster of blood, sweat and learning curves.
The season started off with preparing a space for our seedlings. Over the winter, we were using a wooden growing rack that TJ made from scrap wood and recycled bathroom light fixtures on a timer. This worked well, but didn't give us nearly enough space for seedlings. Every time I entered the spare room (you know, that room where you hide everything you own when people come over) I was started to feel like I was entering a jungle.
The solution came to us while trying to solve another problem.
The carport in the driveway has served us well over the last few years. This winter, the canvas was began to tear at the top corners, meaning it was time to replace to shell. Somewhere in the midst of inspecting the frame of the carport, and deciding it would last for several more years, it occurred to us that the frame would make an excellent greenhouse. I think TJ made a joke about it, not anticipating that I would be so on-board. Now he just had to figure out HOW.
Logistically, the most difficult part was adding a way to access our little "greenhouse", and capping off the end where the car usually enters. TJ framed a wall to fit this space, complete with a frame for a door. Using pipe strapping, we fastened this frame to the frame of the carport. To help stabilize everything, we reinforced the opposite end, and added strapping to the roof to improve rain run-off. We salvaged what we could from the old canvas, and covered the remaining sections in a double layer of vapour barrier.
After a few months of use, we consider this project a huge success, and it keeps the heat in better than originally anticipated. Our tomato plants LOVE the heat and the moisture. The pipe strapping used to fasten the end wall to the frame can be dismantled, so that the wall can be moved, and the space can be used as a carport again this coming winter.
As with any project, there are some modifications we've made along the way, including finding a way to vent the greenhouse when it gets too hot. We are currently on the look out for pieces to build a temperature controlled vent to help regulate the temperature and take this DIY retrofit to the next level.
Have you ever done a DIY retrofit? Tell us about your project in the comments!