He’s right. For around $700, I could assemble a plastic-covered hoophouse that might extend arugula season to ten months of the year–maybe the whole year. Plus, I like the look of hoophouses. They’re honest. But they don’t belong in a small, somewhat formal city yard behind a Victorian house.
Unfortunately, it makes more sense for me to have a greenhouse in the city, where I could monitor the whole business, rather than in the country, next to my vegetable garden, where the salad greens would cook on nice spring days.
Amy found the perfect thing for me on eBay, the $21,000 conservatory to the above left. Sadly, I don’t work in finance.
At the other end of the scale, Lowe’s sells a 6′ by 8′ STC Rion greenhouse for $859 that doesn’t look entirely dissimilar. It’s green-coated aluminum, with clear polycarbonate. Last year, one of the wizened old guys who works in the Lowe’s garden center–not in customer service, naturally, those people know nothing–showed me a picture of it and assured me it was really pretty good for the money.
Still, I hate the idea of buying anything that isn’t sturdy, particularly given the snowfall here. A web-site called Envirocept offers some really interesting alternatives. They carry greenhouse kits by a company named Hall’s and guarantee their aluminum frames for 15 years. The kits are relatively inexpensive if you supply your own glass, and I care about looks. I’d just rather have glass. Their "Universal," supposedly one of their heftier models, costs just $629 for the 6 by 8 kit, plus $175 for the steel base. I priced out the glass for it: $440 for the recommended double thick safety glass. But the woman behind the counter at the glass place wrinkled her nose as she added it all up. "It’s just window glass," she said. "Tempered glass might be better, and that would be roughly double the price."
My older daughter put her arm through a storm door once and sliced it deeply, so I know what that looks like, and I’m not eager to see such a thing again. Okay, so tempered glass it would have to be.
Envirocept sells a 6 by 8 redwood greenhouse kit for $1799. But somehow, I can’t stand the look of the polycarbonate.
I can’t help it. I’m a Luddite. What I want is glass plus wood. And that suggests that somebody would have to build it. Maybe me? Envirocept also sells a plan for a not-bad-looking wood greenhouse. But then I’d have to learn some rudimentary carpentry, and I don’t have a good history with such projects, generally abandoning them in favor of the garden as soon as any nice day beckons.
What I really want is some mad money and a patient carpenter.