Greenhouse Story, Part I

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If you have food, you don’t need to get food – and one way to have it is to grow it. You then also have renewable food as well as independent food. If the Diaper Regime returns this fall – or sooner (it already has returned in states like CA) or the Needling Regime disallows the buying of food by those not “vaccinated,” a frightening but very possible prospect – then you’re not starving or submitting will depend greatly upon your ability to not be dependent upon centralized food distribution networks such as corporate-chain supermarkets.

An easier and more dependable way to grow food it is to grow it inside – in a greenhouse. This eliminates the problem of your food being eaten – by animals – outside. It also makes it much more feasible to grow food when it is cold outside.

This is why I’ve decided to build a small greenhouse, roughly 8×8 square and about 8 feet high at the peak; the pitch being decided upon because of the weather in my area – especially because of the good chance of heavy snow. The sides being glass, which hold heat well and don’t yellow and stand up much better to wind. The roof panels being polycarbonate or similar, which let in sunlight but are sturdier than glass, in case it hails.

The greenhouse will be built on top of a slab about 4 inches thick and plumbed for electricity (lights and back-up heat) and to be ready for water, for the if/when I manage to find the time to run a trench and a line from my well to the location.

I haven’t yet decided on the frame; either aluminum or a wood that does not rot easily.

The main issue now is time for the trabajo – the digging and the pouring, first – and then the building. Which is why I am leaning heavily in the direction of pre-fab kits. Something I can trabajo together in a weekend – or maybe a week. Making everything entails far more trabajo than I have time for now as I am still not finished re-siding my shed and haven’t yet begun the work on the new coop for my chickens and ducks, necessary to replace the one I have, that is falling down or will, before another year passes. The coop is first on the docket and with luck – and my now operational-again left arm – I hope to be finished by the middle of August and ideally sooner, time for trabajo depending.

I do intend to start excavating the area for the slab upon which the greenhouse will sit and may even just rent or beg/borrow machinery to do it, to save time (and trabajo). Then gravel and concrete.

The second issue is also time – for getting the kits, which seem to be on back order everywhere, in some case six months on back order. Shipping costs are also stupendous. So I am searching for something nearer (and sooner). My next installation of this series will give you the skinny on what I ended up choosing – the type of kit and where I got it. It may end up being the case that I road-trip to get it, in order to get it sooner and (perhaps) save some on shipping (though probably not that much, given the cost of driving, especially a truck with a trailer attached).

But things are in motion. Because I believe things are in motion. The weaponization of hypochondria isn’t over; it is on pause. And when the play button is hit – probably this fall – things could get very hairy for those of us who aren’t weaponized hypochondriacs. We may be barred from centralized sources of food again, only this time not because we refuse to efface our faces but because we refuse to roll up our sleeves – or carry around an electronic Victory Passport (or whatever they end up calling it) that not only serves as our very own human ear tag, it serves to track us and punish us for attempting to jump the fence.

And it’s not just that, either. Even if sickness psychosis were to dissipate, there is still the economic disease afflicting this country; the pathology of something for nothing. Of the Free Lunch.

Which always ends up with lots of people eating nothing at all.

The government keeps handing out money to keep people in thrall to the government. But someone’s got to pay for all of that and eventually, no one wants to. Then things get hairy. Then it’s good to be able to eat without having to shop.

Stay tuned for the next installment!

. . .

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26 COMMENTS

  1. You’re going to wish you went with a bigger one once you get using it

    Now that the rain has finally started to fall, the garden is taking off & I can’t keep up with the zucchini.

    When the cucumbers start mass producing, I always lose weight.

    Peppers, beans & tomatoes round out a whole lot of eating real food and cutting out the carbs and crap from a box.
    I would love to be able to do it year round but it’s not in my immediate future.

    • Hi Dan,

      It’s a sound point to consider – regarding the size of the greenhouse. But, heating it in winter is also a consideration – especially in SHTF scenario without grid power. I’m trying to balance the scales, so to speak. The ability to grow enough food to have food without risking being unable to grow food!

      • Best and most productive garden I ever had occupied all of 48 square feet! I got SO much food from that garden, and such a variety! Even had 16 sq. ft. of it dedicated to silver queen white corn! (That was over 30 years ago, and that corn, picked young, is still the best corn I have ever had!).

        An 8×8 greenhouse, with a 2′ walkway would still give ya….48 square feet of growing space! The heating issue is key….bigger would of course be ideal….but a more easily sustainable small one can be better that a bigger one that ya can’t sustain (or which might be a pain to sustain).

        French Intensive or “Square Foot” (I hear similar things called by several different names) in which you grow a lot of food in a small area (as opposed to conventional row-crop gardening) is what I used in my li’l 48 sq. ft. garden, and I’ve never used anything else since, ’cause it works so well- Not only does it maximize space, but it minimizes work.

  2. Oh! Oh! [<- Arnold Horshack voice] Eric! Decades ago when I lived in the city, I used to spend a lot of time reading about different aspects of self-sufficiency, for when the day would come that I would actually be able to move to the country and do it…and one of things I remember was a greenhouse that was recessed a few feet into the ground- so that it's floor(dirt) would be at or below the frost line. Not only does such a technique help greatly in retaining heat and keeping a steadier temperature (even in a small house) but it lessens exposure to the wind and other elements, and cuts down on the amount of glass needed, while not really reducing the light, because, assuming the plants would be elevated a few feet anyway, the area underneath in a fully above ground house would essentially be going to waste. Some "in-ground" houses I remember seeing just has a central dug-out "hall", with the ground level on either side acting as the "tables" for the plants- so the house is essentially built on the ground, just not needing to be as tall- with a recessed area for an entrance.

    Something like this: (But I've seen much nicer, and simpler- without all of the footings)
    https://i.pinimg.com/originals/ff/d8/21/ffd8215c527bb11d80bf08b4ba503452.jpg

    http://www.ecosnippets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/swingset-into-greenhouse-7.jpg

    Or ya could go really radical:
    https://i.ytimg.com/vi/W25lWtHOHWA/maxresdefault.jpg

    These things are just so superior to the typical above-ground jobs- I'll do something aslong these lines myself…there's just no reason not to- especially when dealing with a small greenhouse.

      • Heh, I just saw that for the first time while looking for some example pics to post here, BadnOn….but darn, it IS cool! Just occurred to me: I built a 7’x11′ storm celler years ago that I never use….if I could rip the top off of it….I can have me that greenhouse! (That’s easier said than done…I always way overbuild everything)

  3. A few comments. First, instead of buying a kit or the building materials from one vendor, could you scrounge together the parts for your greenhouse? For instance, you can likely find glass in the windows of condemned buildings, etc. Just a thought, could save you a lot of time.

    Second, I’m going to suggest a couple of things for those of us (me included) who live in situations where raising your own food, building a greenhouse, etc. is simply out of the question (e.g. – you live in an apartment or similar arrangement). If it ever gets to the point where you have to have the poison in order to go into the grocery store, there are a couple of options if you can’t grow your own food. One is joining a food co-op (you can go to farmmatch.com to find one in your area). Another is farmers markets. Right now, to get ahead of the game and scout out promising locations, I would start taking nice long drives through the countryside and locate these. You might need them later. And you might run into a small farmer who would be willing to sell to you directly, they do exist.

    And there’s one more suggestion that people will probably push back on, but I have a reason for suggesting it. That option is a service like Instacart or Shipt. Full disclosure, I’m a shopper for Instacart. Why would this be an option? If you can’t get into the store, they can. Now, why would people push back? I can hear it now – “I’m not paying some Silicon Valley corporation to get my food”, “They’re violating my civil rights by not letting me in the store”, blah blah. Do you want to eat or don’t you? Then you better seriously consider what you’re going to do if they don’t let you in the store.

    • Hi Jim,

      I, for one, have no issue with people ordering Instacart or online or visiting their local farmers markets, but I won’t mince words, I do not like city slickers driving through the countryside. I live in a relatively rural area (it used to be much more rural, but NOVA transplants felt the need to escape the city and move here bringing their city beliefs with them). The change has not been for the better. Last March/April 2020 as the grocery stores shelves became empty the city elites (who look down on us in disgust most times) like to partake in what our local farmers are growing. They hop into their 4 door sedan and drive the two hours to panic shop clearing out the farm stands and markets that many of us locals shop weekly. One would pull into the farmers driveway and see 30 cars, where preplandemic there may have been two at any given time. They shopped like that for four months. Once their grocery stores were fully restocked they stopped showing up. Did they befriend the farmer and continue to support him/her? Nah. Will they be back during the next shortage? Of course and the nasty cycle will renew again…..until Whole Foods is replenished.

      • Well, true confession, I was born and raised in Philadelphia. I guess that makes me a “city slicker”, though I sure don’t feel like one anymore. Lived in various locales like Omaha and now Lexington KY. OK, smaller cities, but I feel much more at home in small towns. For the record, I’m not endorsing what you talked about – invaders from the cities gobbling up everything a farmer has to offer. But what are we going to do about it? You said yourself that they’re going to come right back as soon as the (probably planned) supply chain breakdown occurs.

        I did a few grocery runs this morning for IC, and I can tell the people who are likely to die first if we hit upon hard times. The same ones who ordered from Fresh Market and had to have their seaweed crisps or tiny bottle of truffle oil that they overpaid for, and couldn’t be bothered to respond when I tried to message them about substitutions. One would hope that they drive Tesla’s and can’t get too far out of the city if the S ever hits the fan.

        • Hi Jim,

          I don’t disdain people on where they were born (none of us have control over that), but it does ruffle my feathers when the city elites feel the need to bash us “rural people” constantly and then have no problem turning around and hiding out amongst our lot when things get too dangerous in their utopias. They then want to bring their city way of life here. No thank you. If us rural folks wanted to live like them we would move into the city. Due to the onslaught of new business last year local farmers began producing more to make up for the rush on supplies. After a few months the city slickers returned to their turf and many local farmers ended up holding the bag for a mass production of produce and other goods that ended up rotting. When the food shortage restarts the city folks may find it a waste of time to drive out to the countryside to rampage through the goods, because there won’t be any available.

          We also don’t have charging stations. 🙂

    • Jim,

      Many grocery chains and stores also offer curbside pickup or delivery themselves; it’s not always necessary to go through Instacart or Shipt. The delivery area may be limited. In any case, all the stores in my area have curbside pickup; if they won’t let me shop, then I’ll have THEM do it for me… 🙂

  4. Thanks, drumphish. This is very informative. We just purchased a few raised flower beds for our greenhouse and I made the comment to hubby that these are perfect for potatoes and onions. Now I need a root cellar…..it never ends. 😊

  5. Check a local commercial glass shop. I haven’t checked lately, but when I added a great room in 2011, it was cheaper to install fixed windows, floor to ceiling, than to buy the same square footage of standard wall construction plus cement siding. Also, my skylights have put up with some hella hailstorms that damaged the shingles, but not the skylights. Just make sure they know you are using it for a greenhouse so they don’t give you the Low-E glass.

  6. Habla del trabajo… Oh, don’t I know how much time it takes. How much time it EATS. I’ve been digging a trench for a sewer line for a few months now. You know, the one that was supposed to already be attached to the house but was not. D:< And it's taking forever. FORREEEVVVERR!! Especially being 114 outside and shit…

    Anyway, it's good that you're undertaking such projects and the rest of us better follow suit, if we haven't already.

    By the time they spring the mandatory passport schemes and other tyrannical nonsense again, we will have become MORE POWERFUL THAN THEY CAN POSSIBLY IMAGINE.

    • Dude! Ever look into renting a Ditch-witch from a tool rental place? Couple’a hunnert bucks and you’re done in a couple of hours.

      • Nunzio,

        Yeah, that would be wunderbar, but quite unfortunately, the ground in question is littered with city utilities. Also, the area is enclosed in a wall and there are trees in the way. It would be nearly impossible to get equipment in there. To be fair, much of the battle was finding the goddamed tap in the first place. They gave me a general location, but no depth or precise info. Much was dug with water and vacuum, so I didn’t destroy the utility lines. This job has sucked.

        I can’t wait ’till I move to my land and won’t have to deal with this type of BS.

  7. Oh, I forgot to ask, does anyone else use a wire gauge greater than 19 for 1/2″ x 1/2″ wire mesh?

    I read on a varmint page that raccoons can get through 19 gauge, I just haven’t read about anyone else using something thicker.

    • I just use that woven wire fencing (2×4 I think?)…coons can’t get through that (bury it a few inches!)…if ya need tighter spacing for small varmints, just cover the fencing with chicken wire or something.

      • There are a few rats around my place so I need to use 1/2″ x 1/2″ mesh (with an apron) for them.

        The 2″ x 4″ is good for raccoons and coyotes (a large pack of coyotes roam too close for comfort) so I have used both overlaid for a small temporary setup.

        I was thinking of making an indoor chicken run for Winter time with just the 1/2″ x 1/2″ as my old decrepit barn doors might be fashioned to keep out the coyotes, I’m not certain I can keep out the raccoons and certainly not, rats.

        Everything I’ve read says chicken wire is good for just about nothing, sometimes not even for keeping roosters separated, plus with chicken wire and the 2″ x 4″ a raccoon is said to often just reach in and grab poultry and kill them that way.

  8. As I read this I thought, “This eliminates the problem of your food being eaten – by animals [AND BUGS!] – outside.”

    Which reminds me I need to apply Diatomaceous earth and see how well that works,… once it stops raining everyday.

    I second what, Nunzio wrote, “All the prefab kits I’ve seen don’t look sturdy enough to me” Pretty much any prefab, for anything, it seems.

    Also, as I was reading, I imagined you’re going through some of the same thought processes I am right now, esp with regards to your chicken coop, and even your greenhouse: predator protection!
    I have been amazed by what predators can get through. Esp RATS.
    That Backyardchicken.com is something else, I tell ya.

    I quite often think of your Chupacabra (heh, I actually looked that up) monster that got your duck when I’m trying to build something predator proof,… er resistant, anyway. They remind me of Sleestaks, and I wonder if that’s what most politicians, and bureaucrats and such are.

    When Nunzio wrote about J-bolt placement,.. oh man I’ve been having quite a lot of do-overs cause I didn’t foresee this or that. Do-overs, suck.

    …gravel and concrete,… and oh I wished I had a tractor with a front end loader to move dirt better than a shovel.

    On the plus side, I think I’ve managed to thwart the deer on the cheap, ish.

    • >>”and oh I wished I had a tractor with a front end loader “<<

      Ha! That's my lament too! Not so much for dirt- as I don't have need for that too often- BUT, when it comes to moving/lifting heavy things…or to use as a scissor lift when trying to reach high things. Then again, when I see how often the hydraulic hoses break on my neighbors tractors with loaders, and what it costs to fix 'em…I'm kinda content not to have one, and to do things the old-fashioned way!

  9. Hey Ya Eric!
    This is grrrreat! (Tony The Tiger GRrrrreat!)

    If you go DIY, I’d be most interested to know from whence you source the glass and polycarbonate, as I’ve long been thinking of doing this myself. All the prefab kits I’ve seen don’t look sturdy enough to me, to withstand bad winds/storms, and they can be rather ‘spensive for the decent ones that use real glass and poly.

    Might want to hold off on pouring a slab till you decide, ’cause it may be handy to have some J-bolts in a predetermined location to secure the house to so it doesn’t blow away in a good storm- and to do that, ya have to know exactly where to put those bolts before ya make the slab.

    Hey, don’t forget to plant taters iffin ya haven’t already! They’re a great long-term source of high-quality nutrition and keep in the ground…and then in storage for a long time…and sliced thin and fried-up they go great with scrambled hen fruit from your Henny-Pennys. Pertaters, eggs…and a few animals to milk…that alone could practically sustain one (or several) for a long time, with very little effort once established!

    • I agree about the potatoes. They’re easy to grow and they store well. You have to protect the greens from animals. I haven’t tried a potato tower yet but it looks like they make mounding the spuds way easier.

    • If you have some Colorado potato beetles invade your potato patch, the plants will be sticks, no leaves, the bugs eat too. You can control them with Spinosad, an organic pesticide. There won’t be any potato bugs after one application. The Home Depot will fill an order, it is worth every dime spent.

      Just so you know.

      Kennebec, great for baked and fries. Killer potato for that, scalloped would work too.

      Red Pontiac, tasty potato, dig them early for new potatoes, they might get hollow heart, so dig when a size of a baseball. They’re really good as hashbrowns.

      French red fingerling, grow some, are a good color on the inside and make mashed potatoes cool looking.

      Russian banana, grows to a decent size, a dense potato, but is good in stews, whatnot.

      Rose fingerling, top of the line potato for sure.

      Russets, grow a couple of rows for gnocchi.

      Viking, if you want a good potato that is immune to hollow heart, it is the first choice to grow.

      Yellow Finn, the favorite of all, best potato there is.

      The Canadian government has a plethora of information on scores of potato varieties.

      Have tried other varieties, but the varieties I grow are the preferred seed potatoes.

      Store potatoes at 40 degrees F in a place with no light and is ventilated.

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