Moving Day: Transforming My Greenhouse Dreams into Reality

The knotty Garden greenhouse

Following the completion of my greenhouse construction, I had a new task at hand. Moving in!

I had been dreaming about making my greenhouse a greenhome since I put down the deposit on my Cottage model.

The process ended up taking up a bit more execution and planning than I had initially envisioned. There were many factors to consider and it helped to see the completed, enclosed space before starting the process.

Crafting a Functional Space

Most importantly, I needed a potting station. I built my own potting bench from upcycled pallets and this is the centerpiece of the interior space. Below the work surface, I store my fertilizers, potting/seeding mixes and my seed organizer. To keep the space looking clean and clutter-free, I wrapped the bench with an apron.

Another consideration is cleanliness. I was concerned about soil and organic debris accumulating on the pea gravel flooring. I have four measures to help prevent this:

  1. I have door mats on either side of the threshold. This helps to reduce the amount of dirt tracked in.
  2. I have a much larger utility mat covering most of the remaining exposed gravel. I can simply take it outside and shake it off if needed. Since it is a rubberized mar, I can also easily wash it.
  3. On the potting bench surface, I have a shoe/boot tray to capture spilled potting mix. Not only does this allow me to use all of my soil, but it prevents it from dropping on the ground.
  4. (Don't giggle at this one!) I wear slippers inside the greenhouse! This means I am not tracking dirt around the greenhouse as I am working in there. Right now its cold, so this also keeps my feet warm.


Navigating Electrical and Lighting in the Greenhouse

Dealing with the power supply ended up being more complicated than I anticipated! I didn't really appreciate how many things would require an electrical source. I think that it would be helpful to make a list in advance of all of the thing that you are planning to plug in.

Here's an example of what I need to plug in:

  1. Cell phone charger
  2. Laptop
  3. Reading light
  4. Chandelier/overhead light
  5. Greenhouse heater/thermostat
  6. Greenhouse fan
  7. Curtain/Ambient lights
  8. Space heater
  9. Grow lights
  10. Seasonal/holiday lights

As you can see, this is a BIG list! Keep in mind that if you are using a standard outdoor house outlet, that you may not be able to use all of these items simultaneously. You'll also want to ensure that cords, outlets and splitter are rated for outdoor use.

Shelves & Storage: Organizing Life in My Greenhouse

My greenhouse is 8'x10' so I knew that I needed to maximize the space with proper shelving. I had previously been using two tall Hyllis indoor/outdoor shelving from IKEA, and I was incredibly impressed with how well they stood the test of time. I decided to move my two units into the greenhouse and add three more! These five shelves are used to store:

  1. Seed starting supplies ( trays, humidity domes, cells, upcycled food containers, etc.)
  2. Dormant tubers and bulbs
  3. Overwintering plants
  4. Seedling, newly plated trays and cells
  5. Gardening and cookbooks

How I have organized my shelves is also very intentional. I have placed items on the shelves depending on their light requirements. I have a foundation wall, so the things that require the least amount of light are placed lower on the units.

Heating & Circulation

My Multiple Heaters with Different Purposes

I have two different heaters, and it is important to distinguish their purpose:

Greenhouse Heater

This heater must be rated for greenhouse use; I purchased mine through BC Greenhouse directly. In my greenhouse, this heater is used to maintain a constant temperature above freezing when used in conjunction with an adjustable thermostat. Right now, I have my thermostat set to 5C (41 F). At this setting, it will dip as low as 3C (37 F) in a sudden cold snap. This still provides a small buffer against freezing temperatures.

Space Heater

I have a mini space heater in my greenhouse for aesthetics and comfort. It is designed to look like a small fireplace (which is adorable!) and it provides me with enough heat so that I can sit in the greenhouse comfortably on a cold day. When I am not in the greenhouse, this heater remains off.

Greenhouse Fans are Essential 

I did not initially realize the critical nature of a 24/7 fan. It circulates the air, which reduces the risk of mildew and plant disease. It also helps to regulate temperature. Once I realized my crucial error, I was able to head down the street to BC Greenhouse Builder's facilities and purchase a fan through them. Don't skip the fan! 


Creating a Cozy Living Space

Having a seating space in a greenhouse is a luxury! I knew that I wanted to use the space for reading, working and lounging. After all, it is a GORGEOUS structure! I wanted to be able to enjoy it year-round. I added two outdoor armchairs, a folding TV table, and a small side table to help give me a small living space.

Accessorizing: Styling the Greenhouse Without Compromise

Now that we have covered the main factors, let's talk about accessorizing! I wanted to make sure that anything that I added inside the greenhouse would not damage the glazing, foundation or frame. I have made use of six things to avoid damage:

  1. S-hooks to hold my hanging baskets on the roof rail. Each BC Greenhouse roof railing can hold up to 50 lbs. of weight, so this is a great way to maximize your space.
  2. 3M removable wall hooks and fasteners.
  3. Vacuum suction cup hooks for holding lighter items on a glass wall (I use these to hold my sweaters/coats, scarves, hats, aprons).
  4. Tie straps to hold cords to the frame to keep organized.
  5. Spring clamps to heavier items. I have a spring clamp holding my small chandelier to the peak, although BC Greenhouse does have an option for a chandelier mount to be built into your roof ridge bar.

  6. Factory nuts and bolts for fastening items to the frame.


The Results and Next Steps

I am fully moved in, and I now have a fully functional greenhouse which also feels like another room of house! I spend as much time in there as possible and I'm enjoying it even more than I imagined.  I not only bring my laptop out there to work, but I will also bundle up and read my latest paperbacks well into the evening.

My next job? The landscaping around the exterior. I will have lots of work ahead of me this spring, but right now, I am ready for a long winter's nap... in my greenhouse!