The Gardening: building a greenhouse

Back when we renovated our home, we kept the old windows and frames in order to upcycle them into a greenhouse for tomatoes. Over the years, we already reduced the number of windows, saying we’d just build a small one. This spring, my beloved looked at them, sighed, and said: “Well never do that, let’s look at small greenhouses and what they cost, so we ordered a small greenhouse, about the size of a king size bed.

Now, you can call us fucking naive, but neither of us even googled what you have to do in order to put it up, so we only realised that we’d have to pour a foundation once it was bought and delivered. I’m kind of glad about it, because we probably wouldn’t have done it otherwise.

You could call that our first surprise. The second one happened when we started to dig into the ground in order to pour a foundation: My spade hit rock. And metal. I was glad about the combination as it meant that I neither needed to call the archaeological institute ( we live on old Roman ground and there’s 4 Roman sites within 30 minutes of walking from here) nor the “Kampfmittelräumdienst” (the agency that deals with defusing or exploding bombs, mostly leftovers from WWII). Turns out the people we bought the house from left us another surprise: a foundation that they no longer needed where they just hacked off the top, bent down the steel and put some soil on top.

a small dug up foundation in a garden.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

I asked my old neighbour if she knew what it was and she said it was a mini swimming pool. Funny enough, it’s almost exactly the size we need for our little greenhouse, so we can use it to build on top. This means a bit less concrete and also this foundation has settled long ago. So for the last weekends we’ve been building wooden moulds and pouring concrete. At least we could get a mixer cheap on ebay. Old as fuck, but still working.

Old rusty concrete mixer in front of the work site

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Let’s just hope we finish in time so the tomatoes can move in


  1. Jazzlet says

    It’s nice when surprises left by the last owners of a house can be turned to good! Especially the settling, even just laying down paving slabs results in settling.

  2. says

    Both greenhouses I bought for my garden came with a bent-metal base that did not need a concrete-poured foundation. I had used the first one for a few years without concrete foundations but after it got toppled by high winds, I decided to make the concrete foundations for it after all. When I bought the second one, I was not even trying it without the foundation and made it outright. They seem to be holding OK for about a decade by now.

    Good luck with your new greenhouse and have fun with your tomatoes. You live much further south than I do so you can expect much bigger tomato harvests than me. Depending on the exact position of your greenhouse in the garden though, you might need to shade it during the hottest parts of the summer. I know that my greenhouses do get too hot even for the tomatoes in recent years and I will have to devise some shading system to cool them slightly.

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