A cover for our greenhouse

Preparing to install the cover for a Jewett Cameron greenhouse

As I mentioned in my last post, we finally had a calm enough day in terms of wind last Thursday, allowing us to finally get the cover on our greenhouse.

While we found the building of the greenhouse frame really quite straightforward, the cover installation was another matter. The ends were pretty easy – a lot like putting a shower curtain in place, but with a bit more tugging and negotiating.

Grappling with toggles for cover on Jewett Cameron greenhouse

Our youngest son came along at this point and helped out by steadying the ladder and handing tools up to his dad.

Young boy passing parts for greenhouse cover to his father

These two are so alike, and have even broken their collarbones on the same side (about four years apart). My husband broke his in a flukish fall from a ladder, so having his son steady the ladder was very welcome. My son, on the other hand, broke his falling just 12 inches out of bed, so the ladder poses no fear!

Young boy standing on ladder rung

Then it was time to prepare for the main cover over the curved top of the greenhouse. This is where things got tricky.

Preparing to install top cover for Jewett Cameron greenhouse

The instructions provided in the flat-packed box in which our greenhouse kit came were laughably simple. There is a lovely diagram showing three stick-figure men standing jauntily with ropes in their hands, gently guiding the cover over the curved top and down the other side of the greenhouse frame. If only it were so delightfully easy!

Pulling cover for Jewett Cameron greenhouse using ropes

We found ourselves in a similar position, ropes at hand, but also found ourselves having to tug rather than just gently guide, and my husband spent an awful lot of time securing his rope to the frame so that he could go and coax the fabric cover up and over the various parts of the frame on which it kept catching. It turns out that the very minimalist instructions for our Jewett Cameron greenhouse (20 x 12 foot model), really were just way too simplistic and failed to note vital information such as the absence of sufficient ropes in the kit for securing the base of each of the two main sides of the cover. Fortunately, we are rich in rope, and we used up almost all of our reserve rope properly lacing the base of the cover and securing it adequately. This will mean that come canoeing season we’ll find ourselves up a creek without any rope (for securing it to the top of our car), unless we replace the rope that was pressed into service for the greenhouse.

Honestly, I’m quite seriously considering drafting proper installation instructions for the greenhouse and its cover now that we’ve lived through it and submitting it to the company that made our greenhouse. I can’t imagine that they would be impressed however; cheaping out on the important details seems to be the way of these things!

I finally got a shot of the completed greenhouse earlier this evening and will document the raised beds inside another time.

Jewett Cameron greenhouse installed in Eastern Ontario

6 thoughts on “A cover for our greenhouse

  1. Congrats, and enjoy your new protected environment! We enjoy radishes, kale, lettuce, corn salad (vit) and other cold tolerant goodies all winter long with ours. Just start extras in late summer, because they don’t germinate well when the day length shortens. The veggies kind of stop growing when it gets really cold, but they don’t usually go bad. We pick them throughtout the winter.

    1. Fantastic to hear of your experience growing in the cold months. We have been reading up on how to use an unheated greenhouse to grow during the winter months, but to hear of some direct experience like yours is so valuable. I’m so excited by the possibilities. Thanks for taking time to comment!

  2. Wow, Dagne, that looks amazing! 🙂 And it’s huge! I had no idea you were talking about something that big — but then again, you are a-country-livin’ now! So nice to see the pictures. I was really wondering what it was going to look like. What are you going to plant in there?

    1. It’s funny that you say that Melissa; after we installed it we immediately found it on the small side! This summer we’ll start out the more delicate crops that can do with extra warmth in there, like melons and peppers, along with some of our usual veggie choices. We were really keen to get the greenhouse as an unheated greenhouse with the addition of a covering fabric directly over the plants (ie within a few inches of their tops once fully grown) can mean veggies (asian greens, lettuces, some root vegetables) right through the winter months, even where we live! Sounds crazy, but it’s true. I would love to be harvesting kale or beets or bok choy in February, so that’s what we’re working towards! Thanks for the kind feedback.

      1. Again, wow. 🙂 I think your greenhouse would take up half my yard! But then again, I live in the suburbs, not the country. Looking forward to seeing pictures of your harvest.

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