The Idiot Gardener

WARNING: This site contains information on gardening, brewing, curing meat,

building shit and hunting, all done in a piss-poor manner. It is not suitable for the

feeble-minded, the weak and lame, those of a nervous disposition, vegans and

vegetarians (and those other ones that only eat fish and the occasional bacon

sandwich - I think they're called 'hypocrites'), those who practice any

manner of folk singing or dancing, people named Colin or fans of Barry Gibb.

DIY Greenhouse Prelude!

So, you want a greenhouse? Trust me, I understand. I really do. I wanted a greenhouse too. I really wanted one because I was sick to death of blighted tomatoes.

Last year I started getting greenhouse envy, and I found that during those odd moments at the PC, I was searching for dwarf porn less, and looking for greenhouses more. There were two types out there. The first were shitty flimsy things from Homebase or B&Q. I went to look at one display model in my local branch, and gave it a shove to see how robust it was. It started to fall down. The assistant gave me a resigned look as he heard the glass breaking and I scuttled off laughing. Okay, they only cost around £400, but £400 for a pile of bloody crap is expensive in my book.

Next I went to a garden centre, the type where they sell more garden furniture than seeds. They had greenhouses, the second type: wooden ones. Yes, that’s what I needed, a wooden greenhouse. As I stood in the display unit I felt right at home. I reached out and pushed the frame. Solid. Well, solidish. A salesman spotted my happiness, and approached order book in hand. He winced when I lashed out and punched the frame. It shook, but stood strong. I explained I wanted something that would last. He looked nervous.

He took out his pen and made a few notes as I explained what I thought I needed. Then he scribbled for a bit, tapped his pen on his teeth (which was irritating and slightly unprofessional), before doing that traditional sigh that salesmen always do before bullshitting you. It would be pricey … BUT … if I paid a deposit there and then, I could have it for a mere £2,200 excluding staging, guttering, decent glass, delivery and VAT. I can’t remember what I said, but the phrase “Fuck off” was involved.

I figured any timber greenhouse with a frame of roughly 1.5 x 0.75 inch battens had a life of around 10 years. There would be inevitable glass breakage, so I could probably add a few quid over those years. That meant that at best the greenhouse would cost approximately £230 each year. Tomatoes are 68 pence a pound down the road. I would have to grow and consume over 338 pounds of tomatoes every year for a decade to break even, and that wasn’t considering the cost of the seeds, the feed or my time.

I turned, as I do in all things, to E-Bay. A secondhand greenhouse was just the ticket, and there were plenty. They ranged from a fiver to thousands, but the genuinely second hand ones were predominantly knackered.

Sellers wanted buyers to arrive, dismantle them, clear away the area, service their car, and accept that the description “a few broken panes” meant every piece of glass was either shattered or cracked. Then they had to pay in clean banknotes while the seller’s wife held each one up and examined it, thus making the buyer feel like a crook. On getting the item home, the buyer then discovered that these things really aren’t intended to be taken down and rebuilt.

Of course, I didn’t suffer this fate. I helped someone pick one up, and quickly ruled the idea out.

It was simple. I wanted a wooden greenhouse, preferably a big one. It had to be solid, it had to look good, it had to last, I didn’t want to be replacing glass every winter, and I didn’t want to get raped on the price. I explained all this to various people in the pub. One laughed and said, “So, what are you going to do?”

I lifted my pint, grinned like an idiot, and declared, “I’m going to build one!”

And I did.

My initial plan was to include a cupola, but I’d forgotten that until I reread my initial plan a few minutes ago. Sadly, it has no cupola! However, let’s never say never!

Currently, I have a few bits to screw on. It’s those bits that cover the final fixings: the lipstick, as it were, on my pig! Then I shall reveal all.

If you fancy saving yourself a whole bunch of money, and need a pig to put lipstick on, I shall also reveal step by step instructions – none of that Tommy Walsh shit, but real ‘how I did it’ instructions – to help you create your own personal palatial structure. The skills required are minimal, and I’ll even tell you how to get some of the stuff for free!

Okay, that’s enough waffle. I have lipstick duties to perform!


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5 thoughts on “DIY Greenhouse Prelude!


    A shame about the cupola; I’ve always felt my garden could use a cupola, to sort of give it that “Brightshead Revisited” feel. -And putting a cupola on the small wooden holiday home located on my garden plot, well… It ain’t Castle Howard, I can reveal that much!

    Sadly, I think buying – let alone building – a greenhouse is somewhat out of my league, so I guess I should find other alternatives. Maybe a domed compost heap.

  2. Scott Kronabetter

    I want a greenhouse too but haven’t quite figured out where in my condo I should put it. Maybe out by the swimming pool:) I Hope they don’t mind.

    I feel your pain and frustration and look forward to hearing about your greenhouse!


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