I’ve long wanted a mini greenhouse. I don’t have the room or money for a full-size one, but a little place for overwintering larger plants or bringing on warmth dependent veg like aubergines was on my wish list.
I’ve been collecting rubbish wood/fittings/interesting stuff out of skips for the past year, and now I’ve nearly finished all the must-do jobs, I’m down to the nice-to-have. I have pretty much no woodwork skills, so my great friend Paul offered to build me one in return for produce and beer.
It was agreed we wouldn’t pay for anything at all – everything, including the nails, screws and any fittings, would be scavenged from skips (with permission of course!)
We started with three double glazed windows which made the front and two sides, placed on top of a council paving slab donated by the lovely local manager Gary at Riney (they like to support things in the community where they can, huzzah for them…)
Paul built a solid base for the bottom and then fitted the back wall – a piece of tri-polycarbonate going begging after his mum had a new conservatory built. I pressure-washed it (and myself) clean of the usual green build up and we were good to go.
The top window was always going to flap-down but it ended up being a bit over-engineered after, instead of using more tri-polycarbonate, I found a piece of glass (complete with ‘leaded light’ effect) that used to be my next door neighbour’s fanlight, that I’d shoved in the back of my shed, thinking it would come in handy some day.
It would add a touch of class, but it meant using lots of battening to keep it in place. When it was done, though (using the original hinges off the double glazing) we realised something.
It had been so heavily over-engineered that it was solid as a rock. So solid, in fact that, with the addition of part of a discarded estate agent’s sign,a toggle made from an IKEA bed fitting and some old scaff-planks, it could double as potting bench/BBQ table. I was sceptical, but Paul proved his argument by sitting on it.
The front’s held in place with a hook fashioned from a nail round a screw in the side.
The roof slopes at the back, for drainage (into an old piece of guttering) and by this point it ended up being really heavily over-engineered, because we were running out of suitable wood. Thus a piece o f tri-polycarbonate I could lift between finger and thumb is held down with three layers of 2×1. The up side is that it will take a tsunami to shift it.
I did end up spending, sadly, though not on the building itself. It needed pea-shingle and I decided the amount of time it would take to collect that amount of stones didn’t add up to the £2.89 Kidbrooke Homebase charges for a whole bag of the stuff.
I can’t claim credit for any of this. It was Paul’s design, and Paul’s effort – but he will share equally in the Egg & Chips® that are currently housed in the best little greenhouse in Greenwich.