As a northerner living and growing in zone 5b my greenhouse is a place to grow and nurture my plants from the winter elements. I must admit that I forget about the southern growers who rely on greenhouses for some of the same reasons that I do. I had the honor of connecting with Texas gardener Susan Fox of GaGa’s garden a few months back on Twitter via my dear friend @greensoil. Susan is a an avid horticulturist holding national awards for growing prize winning roses and award winning gardens. A true master in the art of rose growing and garden design. When you visit her website at Gaga’s Garden you will see her dedication to perpetuating knowledge about all things growing in her gardens and particularly the planting and care of rose gardens. She is a perfect example of taking gardening to the next level by adding a ‘safe haven’ via her greenhouse in her beautiful garden and landscape.’
I had the honor of connecting with Susan and she was willing to answer a few questions I had for her about her greenhouse in zone 8 where she lives and grows in Plano, Texas.’
My Interview with GaGa’s Garden:
Bren : What did you take in consideration when you decided to build a greenhouse of your own? Did you have a ‘reason’ you wanted a greenhouse of your own in your garden?
Susan of GaGa’s Garden : Each year we invest hundreds of dollars in plants that will not sustain winter temperatures only to lose them over the winter. Many of them are potted patio plants. Last year I even decided to invest in an exotic large expensive Sago Palm that will tolerate temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit, however in N. Texas we do dip below that with ice and snow as well. One of my plants is a beautiful ever blooming jasmine that a friend started from a plant she brought from her native home in a Persian village long ago. These potted plants have accumulated to the point that they will not fit in the garage, so basically me and my plants were evicted J. “OUI” “see post explaining “OUI” Theory at http://www.gagasgarden.com/?p=40 saw no other solution but to build a small greenhouse to protect the plants for the winter rather than store them in the garage. Also watering them in the garage created such a mess that my husband and I were rather tired of muddy pools accumulating around the car.
Bren: Tell me about your greenhouse – what made you decide on using wood / aluminum frame?
Susan of GaGa’s Garden : We used wood because it is very inexpensive and easy to work with and the structure can be preassembled in the garage. We only use the greenhouse for plant storage for the winter months. After the walls are preassembled we staple the Visqueen plastic sheeting directly to the wood as outside walls . At the end of the season since our storage is limited we have given the entire structure away to our landscaper to use as a shed. It breaks down and is carried away in about 10 minutes. Wood, Visqueen, and Styrofoam board walls are all easy materials to work with to assemble and break down.
Bren : Were the sales associates at Lowes / Home Depot ( where did you purchase from) help you with this adventure?
Susan of Ga Ga’s Garden : “OUI” actually designed it and did not need assistance from the sales associates other than to ring up the sale.
Bren : What do you use to heat your greenhouse?
Susan of GaGa’s Garden :If you recall I outlined in my post at gagasgarden the fact that the first year we built a greenhouse we only used Visqueen plastic sheeting only to protect the plants and we lost some plants. This year we insulated the structure with blue board insolated styrofoam (this is the brand on the product:R-Max r-matte +3 made in Dallas, TX ) and it is working much better to keep the structure warm. We do not have any additional heaters, of course they could be added. The flooring is the stone floor of our flag stone patio.
Bren : Do you grow year-round in this greenhouse?
Susan of Ga Ga’s garden : We are not starting any new plants but it would be easy to add shelves and start seedlings and cold weather plants in the greenhouse like onions, broccoli, etc. We are using the structure for winter protection so far.
Bren: If you could give someone thinking about starting their own greenhouse any tips / ideas what would it be?
Susan of Ga Ga’s Garden : We were very careful to adhere to our neighborhood city codes and ordinances, since gagasgarden is an urban farm setting J. We have a homeowners association and the rules are strict about height and visuals of structures from the street over the fence. You would not be very happy to build your beautiful little structure then have to remove it because your neighborhood or city asked you to take it down. We are very pleased that it can be assembled in the garage and then taken down and stored for the summer if you don’t want to leave it up. We have it standing for the winter on our stone patio out by the back north fence and we don’t sit out there in the winter so its an easy space to give up for the winter.
Thank you for sharing your Texas greenhouse with us Susan! I love how you share how easy and cost efficient it can be to make your own greenhouse that will provide shelter for your beloved plants.
If you have questions for Susan or about this blog entry please feel free to post a comment on our blog here or go visit Susan at her site.