Greenhouse Gardening for Children: Three Rivers School

Greenhouse Gardening for Children: Three Rivers School

Greenhouse gardening is helping students at Three Rivers School harvest much more than food and flowers.

Gardening is hard to beat for promoting well-rounded development in children. Whether the garden is in a greenhouse or community patch, kids who grow fruits and vegetables are more likely to eat fresh, healthy produce. 

Recent research shows that kids involved in hands-on school growing programs developed an increased snacking preference for fruits and veggies. In addition to improving their health, engaging children in the growing process helps them develop curiosity, learn to be more resourceful, and grow their own self-confidence.

That’s why we used our Central Oregon Health Council grant to build a 20×20 greenhouse for Three Rivers School in Sunriver. We chose Three Rivers School to create an opportunity for local children to develop the skills and creativity needed to grow their own sustainable food year-round.

Here’s the step-by-step process of how we built our sustainable year-round greenhouse for Three Rivers School.

Phase one: Construction

These are the steps we take to create a solid foundation and sturdy structure. 

We use machinery to make sure the depth of our foundation is uniform. 

Then we use commercial-grade cement to ensure a stable foundation.

The posts are pitched to ensure integrity. 

We make to-size bows and arches onsite. From there, baseboards are secured to strengthen the structure and ensure the integrity of the foundation poles. 

The arches and bows are then secured. The height from the center of the bow to the ground is 14 feet. This structured style ensures that snow slopes off easily during the winter season. 

Then we reinforce the center framework to provide additional strength to the greenhouse. The mountain-like shape ensures extra safety and security, increasing the structure’s ability to withstand heavy snow loads before it slides off.  

Brace bands are then added on the sides to withstand and counter the pitching effects of heavy winds and transfer the momentum and wind force to the base structure, stabilizing the greenhouse against heavy winds. 

Once the framing and end walls are erected, we installed poly 6 mil plastic membrane walls. 

Fans are installed for circulation.

Phase 2: Soil Foundation

It’s important to take great care with laying a soil foundation. We start with laying cardboard and Organic Alfalfa Hay to create an environment for the microbes, healthy bacteria and fungi, and earthworms to thrive underneath the logs. 

Then we stack wood logs neatly to create the base foundation. 

We use wood chips to fill out air gaps within the logs.

Next comes the layer of our trusted compost, then our topsoil.

The pathway is layered with compost to encourage the growth of our edible mushrooms on the path. 

This is followed by a nice healthy layer of wood chips for the mushrooms to thrive.

Irrigation is done diligently to create an ecosystem of healthy growing mediums. 

Once the irrigation is laid out and micro-sprinklers are installed, we add our unique blend of microbes, beneficial bacteria, fungus, and other healthy and organic soil builders and minerals. We top this off with organic alfalfa hay, which serves as food for these thriving microbes. 

The center island area in green will be used to plant avocado trees, and different colors on the side beds represent different companion planting areas. The area shaded brown next to purple on the right side is designated for seed starters. Edible red wine cap mushrooms will grow on the pathway.

Here is the final foundation, ready to be planted!

We created a flower bed on all sides outside the greenhouse to bring extra joy and beauty. Our clients’ smiles and joy make this a job well done in our book.

The final phase is to give education and support on how to grow sustainable year-round food so our clients can enjoy their harvest to the fullest. 


We are happy to share our progress on this project from Jan  2023 to Sept,2023 as shown on our local news channel KTVZ21. The children at the school are enjoying, learning and taking the first step towards sustainability from a young age.

The following news segment confirms our success! Local credit unions have opened their doors for loans towards the installation of Shakti Design greenhouses.

Here’s a Review of the final project:

“Shiv has been erecting a greenhouse on our school site. The product is of excellent quality and we have been nothing but pleased with how things have come along. I’d highly recommend Shakti Farm to others.”

– Tim Broadbent, Principal at Three Rivers School in Sunriver

If you’re ready to explore the vast world of greenhouse growing and how to start an organic greenhouse, you can book your 15-minute free consultation via our contact page.

We’re truly excited to help you plan, build, and enjoy the greenhouse and organic crops of your dreams.

Book your free consultation here.

How to Start an Organic Greenhouse: Frequently Asked Questions

How to Start an Organic Greenhouse: Frequently Asked Questions

Curious about how to start an organic greenhouse?

You’re not alone. Organic growing is rising in popularity, and for good reasons.

Our organic greenhouse tips will help you start your own family-friendly organic garden that produces delicious, healthy food for your family, friends, and meals year-round.

What are the benefits of organic growing?

Growing food with organic systems uses 45% less energy and doesn’t contribute to the accumulation of toxins in waterways. Organic greenhouses foster a healthier world by encouraging soil health and supporting natural ecosystems. 

Growing organically also cuts carbon emissions by 40% compared to conventional farming and growing methods, lowering your growing cost for years to come.

Unlike non-organic goods, organic foods go from farm to table without synthetic ingredients. This means that you’ll avoid exposure to substances linked to health issues like a weakened immune system. 

Since organic growing avoids chemical additives, organic foods are also more environmentally friendly and support local biodiversity. Chemical pesticides are often fatal to helpful pollinators like bees, so organic farming and growing provides much-needed support to the honeybee population.

Organic vegetables

What makes an organic greenhouse “organic”? 

Organic greenhouse farming excludes synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and growth regulators. Instead, organic growing favors natural methods. These methods rely on crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, organic wastes, legumes, green manures, and even mineral-bearing rocks to feed their soil and supply their plants with the nutrients they need to thrive.

Can my greenhouse be certified organic? 

Yes! Your greenhouse farming operation–in this case, your greenhouse–can be certified as organic. Organic greenhouse vegetable, herb, and flower production is actually a widespread practice by certified organic farmers and market gardeners. 

You might find a few organic growers at your local farmer’s market or start selling your own organic crops at one. 

The National Organic Program (NOP) provides certification standards and rules organic farming operations, including greenhouses, need to follow for USDA organic certification

For instance, your soil needs to be free from prohibited substances like chemical pesticides for at least three years. You can use artificial lights in your greenhouse, but you’ll need organic or untreated seeds. 

Here’s how to get USDA organic certified:

  1. Find a local accredited organic certifying agent.
  2. Create a stable organic system plan. (We can help you with this.)
  3. Follow the rest of the USDA organic certification process with help from your agent.

How do I start developing my organic greenhouse vision? 

Each greenhouse and each grower is unique, so developing your vision is a great place to start. 

You can start by asking yourself a few questions:

  • Which fruits, vegetables, and herbs do I love to eat? 
  • Which plants spark joy when I see or smell them? 
  • Who do I want to share this experience with? (Friends, family, neighbors, or any other members of my community?)
  • Where would I like to place this greenhouse?
  • How much time and money am I ready to invest in my dream? 

It’s okay if you don’t have all the answers yet. Our team at Shakti Farm Design has years of experience designing and crafting organic greenhouses alongside our clients, no matter how big or small their vision may be. 

If you’re excited about organic greenhouse growing, speaking with a professional can help you chart and navigate your path to the greenhouse of your daydreams. 

How do I start an organic greenhouse now that I have my vision?

Now that you have your vision, you’re ready to consider the following:

  • Do I currently have my own equipment, tools, and materials?
  • How much experience do my community or I have with any greenhouse growing?
  • What kind of help do I need to make my vision come to life? 

Shakti Farm Design can help you make your organic greenhouse dream a reality. 

Our designs and gardens are crafted to evoke a meditative quality when you move through your organic oasis. We’re here for you from start to finish, including the design, building, creating permaculture inspired soil foundation, and year around growing process. We also provide you with a fully customized book of information on your specific greenhouse, its maintenance needs, and detailed notes on what to grow at different times of the year based on your favorite herbs, vegetables, and flowers. 

If you’re ready to explore the vast world of greenhouse growing and how to start an organic greenhouse, you can book your 15-minute free consultation via our contact page.

We’re truly excited to help you plan, build, and enjoy the greenhouse and organic crops of your dreams.


Book your free consultation here.