That’s right. Soon after we installed our 20×24’ greenhouse in January of 2021, we realized the size didn’t match our vision for Silver Maple Farm. So, this winter we installed a gothic style 24×60’ greenhouse.
Why a gothic style? A practical choice, the gothic design has a peaked roof like a house, better for shedding snow than a traditional hoop house. In addition, purlins that run the length of the structure provide additional support and are great for hanging strawberry and herb baskets.
Since this greenhouse has two layers of plastic with an inflated roof, we hired a professional to assist with the installation. Our oldest grandson, Ethan, and our youngest grandson, Jonathan, pitched in to help. After all, wrestling a double layer of 60’x60’ 6mil. plastic is an enormous job that requires some muscle.
Good thing Ethan & Jonathan aren’t afraid of heights, as they jumped from purlin to purlin dragging the plastic up the sidewall and over the peak. The entire job required four strong men working five long hours to ensure the walls and roof were tucked in and secure on all sides. After a hearty lunch, we paid our crew and offered a huge thank you for their help.
Then Loren began several weeks of work to complete the inside. For the lighting, he installed fourteen LED-full-spectrum grow lights on timers. While they fully light our greenhouse, they only use the power of two 75-watt traditional bulbs. At the same time, they provide the UV rays needed for optimal plant growth during reduced periods of sunshine in the fall and winter seasons.
Next, we ordered a truck and trailer load, that’s twenty-eight yards, of certified organic garden mix from Lenz Enterprises in Stanwood. Before securing the exterior greenhouse door, Loren hauled in tractor-bucket loads of the rich soil to form the growing beds. He built raised beds along three sides of our new structure, and in the center shaped semi-raised beds with the BCS walk-behind tractor.
He then installed drip irrigation, also on timers, to conserve and direct water only on the beds where needed. To manage weed pressure, he spread yards of fresh wood chips on the walk paths between the growing beds.
When the 20” air-circulation fan flipped on, it sounded like an airplane taking flight from the farm. To spare our neighbors and us from the noise, Loren purchased a large rubber mat which he secured to a framework he designed outside the greenhouse. His ingenuity buffered the noise, and tranquility returned to the farm.
A look inside….
What’s growing? Well, nothing yet, but soon we’ll have a 50’ row of Roma tomatoes, four 50’ rows of lettuce and baby greens. And on the north wall we’ll plant lemon cucumbers, some brassicas, and other greens.
It won’t be long now until we open for our 2022 season. Hope to see you at the farm!