Going Green with Samsterland

One of the exciting things about garden networking is meeting the amazing people who make that community grow.  During one of the #gardenchat events on Twitter I had the privileged of ‘tweeting’ Sammy of Samsterland : Going Green with the Samster Website.   It isn’t that often I meet garden enthusiast online who own their own greenhouse.  Excited to make the ‘greenhouse’ connection with Sammy I quickly got a hold of him and asked if he would check out Glenda and my site here at Growing4Seasons. I’m honored today to add Sammy to our ‘Friends Who Grow Year-Round’ link here today.   Sammy, who lives on a small farm (30 acres) which his grandfather purchased in late 1930’s ,  says one of my new years resolutions is to keep his  site updated throughout the growing season this year.  I hope we can all stop over to his site and encourage him to keep on sharing!

About ‘The Samsters’ Greenhouse

From Building the Greenhouse : The Samsterland 1/3/3011 by Sam Langley

Sam Langley of GoingGreenWithSamster.com

I looked at a number of designs out on the internet as well as some books I had on sheds and outbuildings and finally selected one I liked from a book I had purchased at Lowe’s.  Although I liked their design I changed it up to suit my tastes as well as my pocketbook.  They used real redwood for the frame and lots of cedar shingles for the trim, both of which are really expensive where I live.

So, the following pics document the building of my greenhouse.  It’s 12’x16′ building on a perimeter wall foundation and pea gravel floor.  The walls and roof are covered with polycarbonate panels and the door is an old storm door I got from my mom’s house after she remodeled.  Hope you like it. Enjoy.

I asked Sam a few questions about his Greenhouse Adventures

Bren : “How long have you been gardening?”

Sammy : “My Mom and Dad both grew up on a farm and some of my fondest childhood memories are of visiting my grandparents and spending time outdoors in my grandfather’s garden.  I however, grew up in the city and spent most of my adult life living in the city with no garden.  Around seven years ago both my Father and Grandmother passed away and I decided that I wanted to keep the family farm.  So, I moved out to the country and about three years ago I caught the gardening bug.  Each year I have been scaling out my garden and one day I hope to have a working farm that will allow me to quit my day job.”

Bren : “What are your favorite things to grow in your greenhouse?”

Sammy : “I’ve had my greenhouse about three months now and my favorite plants to grow are the ones I can eat.  The lettuce I have growing is the best lettuce I have ever grown.  There is no dirt or dust on the leaves and there are no bugs eating it for me.  I can practically eat the lettuce right from the plant without washing.  I also have some nice flowering plants growing in my greenhouse.  My Bougenvilla and Cyclamen Periscum have been blooming non-stop for the past few months.  One of the coolest looking plants I have is the Purple Passion.  It really looks great when you hold it up to the light.”

Bren : “Do you grow year round?”

Sammy :” This will be my first year to grow year round and the only way I have managed to do that is by having a greenhouse.”

Bren: “What zone do you live in?”

Sammy :”  I live just outside of Canton, Texas.  It looks like it’s 7b or 8a.”

Bren: “Where did you find the supplies needed to build your own greenhouse?”

Sammy : “I purchased the concrete, re-bar and wood at Canton Lumber, my favorite local lumber store.  I bought the polycarbonate panels, cedar slats and Baer waterproofing redwood stain at Home Depot.  I used metal to wood screws to attach the polycarbonate panels to the frame and I bought those and the pea gravel at Canton Hardware, my favorite local hardware store.”

Bren :”Would you mind listing the expense to make a greenhouse like the one you grow in.”

Sammy:”The greenhouse cost right around $2000 to build.  I have a bit more than that into it now, after spending money on plants, my Aquaponics setup and other odds and ends.  I went on a spending spree buying plants on clearance in late October and November.  A lot of the tropical’s I bought were in bad shape but I was paying anywhere from 75 cents to $3.00 per plant so I didn’t really mind.  I figured I could get them into decent shape in no time.”

Bren: “What do you use for heating?   Fan?  Circulation?”

Sammy:”After purchasing a bunch of tropical plants for my greenhouse in early November, I began to get worried when the weather started turning colder.  So, I purchased a portable electric heater from Lowes that has a timer and a thermostat.  Starting out, I would turn the heater on at 80°F at 8PM, set the timer for 12 hours and walk away. A few cold mornings later I realized that the heater wasn’t doing the job.  The heat from the heater was going straight up and leaking out of the top and sides of the greenhouse through the ridges and furrows in the corrugated polycarbonate panels.  My solution for this was to plug all of the furrows with small 3”x3” pieces of bubble wrap wadded up so they would completely fill each furrow.  I also purchased an oscillating stand fan and pointed it directly at the heater.  Now my greenhouse never drops below 46°F even on the coldest nights.”

Bren : “Do you have any tips you would like to share with those who are thinking about building their own greenhouse?”

Sammy : “If you’re planning on building your own greenhouse the best tip I can offer is to plan ahead.  When I start a new building project I have a tendency to jump right in and start building.  Planning ahead is really important especially with regards to location.  With the sun being lower on the southern horizon this time of year, that nice large Elm tree to the South of my greenhouse keeps me from getting full sun the entire day.  It turned out ok for me because right now the tree has no leaves.  I get an ample about of sunlight but I could always use more, especially on those tomato plants.  Also, don’t forget that “measure twice, cut once” expression, it’s a real money saver!!”

You can follow Samsterland over at his Twitter account where he shares his greenhouse and garden.

Thank you Sammy for sharing your greenhouse with us.  I look forward to following you on the gardening networks and hope you will keep us posted on your growing experiences.  

IF you are someone or know someone who grows year-round Glenda and I would loved to hear from you!

Article by Bren

I'm Bren, a everyday gardener who loves to connect with others. I've been growing in my 10'x12' home greenhouse in Ohio since 2008. I decided to create Growing4Seasons.com to help others who enjoy growing year-round just like me!
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  1. Sam Langley says:

    Thank you Glenda, its good to meet you to. Your greenhouse looks great! I bet that wood floor is much nicer to walk on than the pea gravel I used. I really like the modular shelving you are using. I need to look into getting some of those. My planting table is full of flats of starters now and I still have a lot more to go to get ready for spring.

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