Building a Greenhouse and Growing My Food

Hello Friends!

The month which ushers in Spring is upon us! If you’re like me here in Southeast Missouri, Spring arrived in early February for the second year in a row, which concerns me about the upcoming summer. Last year from June until about mid-August, we only had roughly a week’s-worth of days where we did not see heat indices above 100 degrees, which was incredibly hard on my plants.

With positive hopes for what’s to come, I’ve started preparing for this year’s growing season, which for me in zone 6b stretches from February until about the end of October. Until now, I have always purchased my plants from a nursery or garden center, then planted them directly into the ground. I haven’t had a greenhouse before, so I’ve never started my plants from seed (with the exception of those you direct sow into the ground, like lettuces, squash and cucmber, for example).

An add for a greenhouse showed up in my Instagram feed, which happens regularly considering that a lot of my content is gardening. It was insanely expensive, as greenhouses tend to be, but I was curious to see what Google had to offer. So I did a search. In the results, a greenhouse from Harbor Freight showed up…for $399.99. My partner was sitting next to me and saw it, and immediately said “you need to go buy it!”

We hopped into my car minutes later and drove to Harbor Freight and purchased it. Michael is (lucky for me) an engineer and was already planning out the foundation for the greenhouse en route to pick it up. I would have probably anchored it to the ground with tent stakes and rope if I didn’t have him, but since I do – it has a proper concrete block foundation and is solid as a rock!

We spent a few weekends, the first one freezing cold, digging trenches, burying and gluing blocks, and assembling the greenhouse frame. I put in the panels, then he helped me assemble the door and windows. I put together a video of the process for Instagram reels and Tik Tok, which I will insert here:

In the meantime, I started some seeds! The first thing I started was onions, because they need the longest to be ready for transplant. Next up was bell peppers, with the tomatoes and marigolds following about a week later. Then I started some other companion plants: borage, nasturtium, basil, rosemary and cilantro.

During that time, I also planted my early Spring vegetables: beets, radishes, peas, swiss chard, kale and various lettuces. I’m getting ready to start carrots too, but we have a little cold snap coming up and they will not be under the cold frame this year, so I’m waiting just a couple more weeks.

Here is a little diagram of my planting beds, to help visualize where everything is going. Not pictured are the three tomatoes that are container varieties (early girl, big boy and cherry), that will go in pots in the sunniest spot in my yard above my retaining wall.

I will be sure to share more progress as my plantings come to life and gardening season takes off. For now, I will leave you with some snaps of the greenhouse and planting beds!