Matt Mattus via pbs
Thu, 07 Jan 2021 18:25:53 PST
I agree with Jan in regards to curved eaves.

My greenhouse was manufactured by Texas Greenhouse Company, and while the quality is excellent, at the time they only offered single pane glass or twinwall. I went with single pane glass as I liked the look and the light quality. Curved eaves seemed like a good idea, but it doesn’t allow me to construct a bubble-layer of inflated poly over it (which would save tremendously on heating costs, as I am in Zone 5 Massachusetts in a heavy snow zone.

We built out 24 x 24 glass house  (16 feet tall) 19 years ago and it is still going strong. The biggest problem has been cracking glass (not from ice or hail, but from glass panes sliding off due to a clip-system that isn’t snow or ice friendly. They may have fixed this by now.

What I did do was build an open floor with French drains (garden soil topped with gravel) so that I could plant trees and camellias in it. This was a great idea, but here in New England, the foundation had to be 6 feet deep. In MN consider how you will add utilities (running water and electricity). WE use heated pipes as the greenhouse is free standing about 50 feet from the house.

It is heated by propane (costly, even though I keep the thermostat set to 40° F. Somehow, we always get by but don’t ask how much it costs to heat. It's a little crazy with the single pane glass. I will add that with the glass, on sunny days - even in January, it's 70 and warmer than a poly house. The heat goes off for one reason or another at least once or twice every winter, but rarely have I lost anything (mostly cool growing plants and bulbs), I think some radiant heat emerges from the open soil.

In the north I would not suggest having the glass or twinwall glazing extend completely to the ground level. If it is snowy where you live, add a foundation - we added a 4 foot foundation wall (concrete block covered with rock veneer that we did ourselves over time), and while the snow still piles up higher in our fierce nor-easters (5 feet in 2015 with drifts that reached to the 16' peak during a few storms) it does slide off of the roof and melts near the glass, but this causes another problem - snow around the foundation  and lower glass panels melts and forms an air gap between the glass  wall and the snow. In this crevasse ice can and will  tumble down and can crack glass.I suggest walking around the foundation to compact the snow after storms, or shovel a path.  In bad snowy winters I have to shovel a bit around the foundation to allow the snow on the roof slide off. IT was also mistake to build a raised rock garden on one side as well as this raised the ground and the snow level even higher on one side. IT all depends on your snowfall.

If I had to do it again, I would add side vents over the benches like Jan did. Texas Greenhouse offers those now, but at the time they didn’t. 
I would choose double pane glass if they can guarantee that it won't fog. I would probably go with twinwall or something similar for the roof as it would help with heating costs (it just wont look as nice). I would also use oil (steam) heat with the furnace in an attached shed (propane heaters are brutal on tall plants, dry and noisy. 

Add automatic vents on both sides of the peak, and fans.

Consider summer shadecloth.

I don’t find that bubble wrap helps much at least here where winter temps can dip to -5F, and it’s a chore to install when the interior peak is 16 feet high. Pray for sunny days in winter if you heat it, the worst case scenario is a series of overcast days with temps below 0°F. A 100 gal tank of propane here will last only 4 days in that weather. It's rare.

I would have added a door on both ends, and maybe a potting shed. Think about where you will pot and tend to plants.
A sink might be helpful.

Feel free to email me direct if you have specific questions.

I would add that the price of ours seems similar to the one in the BC brochure (I think around 60K without the foundation, which I believe was around 6k in 2001).

Good luck! I will say that I don’t regret building ours even 20 years later. It adds so much to ones gardening life.

Matt Mattus
Zone 5a
Worcester, MA

On 1/7/21, 2:09 PM, "pbs on behalf of Jan Jeddeloh via pbs" < on behalf of> wrote:

    I am on my second greenhouse made by BC Greenhouses.  Over 25 years ago we put up one at our old house and it was still going strong when we moved about five years ago.  At our new house we put up another built to my specifications.  My first greenhouse had curved eaves.  Don’t do that-they are a bitch to clean because you can’t lean a ladder up against them.  So my current greenhouse has separate roof and sides ie standard greenhouse.  I had it customized with three side windows on each side so I could get lots of ventilation and use it as an alpine house.  I have been very satisfied with the quality of my greenhouses.  They aren’t the cheapest out there but you get what you pay for.  My greenhouse is 8x12 with a polycarbonate roof and glass sides.  I considered going up to an 8x14 but the cost is more than incremental because when you get to a 14’ greenhouse you need extra engineering (I’m guessing a stronger roof beam).

    Both my greenhouses were purchased through Charley’s Greenhouses, an American supplier.  As best I could tell the prices are the same as dealing directly with the company or Charleys.  Charley's was great to deal with both times.  They worked with me to get the greenhouse I wanted.  Don’t be afraid to call them up and talk to them about the best options for your climate.  I’m pretty sure these greenhouses can be built with triple wall glazing, not sure about 5 wall.  Also Charleys may know someone in your area with one of these greenhouses and they could see if you could check out that greenhouse in person.  Not sure if this is an option in the time of covid but they used to do this.  

    Let me know if you have further questions about my BC Greenhouse

    Jan Jeddeloh

    > On Jan 7, 2021, at 10:19 AM, Luminita Vollmer via pbs <> wrote:
    > Dear all,
    > Not supporting any vendor in particular, however, being in the market for a
    > greenhouse to help make a decision - I found this catalog.
    > Anyone here have any experience with this? Are any of these greenhouses
    > a feasible option here in MN ?
    > Thank you
    > Luminita
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