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.
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.