Edible Brattleboro: A Greenhouse Story

One of our goals when we got a lumber mill was to be able to help out local causes in need of lumber. In October of 2021, an opportunity came along to do just that. I had gotten on the mailing list of Edible Brattleboro, a local non-profit that helps alleviate food insecurity in the area. They were gifted a hoop greenhouse from a farm that no longer needed it. What they needed was new plastic sheeting and lumber. When I saw the email about this, I jumped at the chance and informed them I would be very happy to provide the lumber and save them a boatload of money. They were happy to take it!

I met with Tom, who gave me the specifications for the lumber they needed. I happened to already have a stack from which we were able to pick out all the sizes required. Once we got them all earmarked for this project, we laid them out and treated them with ECO wood preservative, a natural treatment that uses tannins to preserve wood against the elements.

Here are the 2×8’s, which went into the ground to support the hoops at the base:

2×8’s for supporting the hoop greenhouse just below ground level.

These are the 2×4’s and 1×6’s. The 1×6’s serve as hip boards on the hoops just below the upper arch, and the 2×4’s were used to create the front and rear frames for the greenhouse, including a doorway.

2×4’s and 2×6’s for the greenhouse.

Here are the 1×2’s used to hold the plastic in place over the hip boards:

1×2 strips to hold the plastic over the hip boards.

After treating all of this with the ECO preservative, I stacked it back up to wait for construction day.

All stacked and ready to go.

On the day of building, it was pretty easy to load it all into the truck. The wood was already cured pretty well, and it’s all pine, so by then even the 2×8’s didn’t weigh all that much.

Loaded and ready.

When I got there, some basic groundwork – literally – had already been laid. A gravel bed had been laid out. I helped Tom and other volunteers get the hoop anchors into the ground around the perimeter of the gravel bed.

Gravel bed and hoop anchors for greenhouse.

A group of AmeriCorps volunteers came by and things went more quickly after that.

Getting those 2×8’s in the ground.
Volunteers begin working on the upper supports.

The plastic sheeting didn’t go up that day. I haven’t had a chance to go back and see the finished greenhouse yet, but it was nice to have been able to help in such a substantial way.

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