I like this company and would highly recommend them. They don't seem to be inexpensive when the Franklins begin to cross your palm, but we looked into some other options, and they cost more. We first started thinking an add-on sunroom would be best. Directly connected to the house there would be simple access, heat and electricity, and one less wall to build. The estimate came in over 50% more than the B.C. cost. Short of building my own from salvage there was no way I was going to bring this in for cheap; Pat has seen quite enough of my diy projects. She wasn't even sure about letting me put the B.C. up! oh, ye of little faith.
Biggest problem in Maine for this project is the cold. Not just heating the building but getting it rooted so that the frost heaves won't take it for a spine-cracking roller coaster ride. We went out to the coast to see a B.C. model that was up and were very impressed with the materials. The fellow had set his on Techno Posts. This is a pretty simple solution. A pipe with an augur on one end is driven down to below the frost line. It has a plastic sleeve on it to preclude uplift when the earth around the post freezes, squeezes and lifts. The posts are driven in plumb on your specs and cut off level and a bracket added which will hold your 6 x 6" sill.
This is a rear corner technopost sitting directly under that corner. It is about five feet into the earth. I notched the pressure treated 6x6 with a chain saw to get my outside dimensions correct.
The technopost on the opposite rear corner is two feet forward of the actual corner. A car-sized rock was underground where the post should have gone. The corner is well supported on some large rocks; there was no problem. The greenhouse only weighs about 1100# so it's weight is not an issue - until the wind blows and then we will see.
The greenhouse comes in 5 crates delivered curbside to your house. I unloaded the crates, one 20' long and 400# with Chuckles Kubota and the driver. More help would be good. It took me about 3 weeks to put the greenhouse up; I work from 2 to 4 hours a day and then give my joints a break. Two people would be nice, but with some minor exceptions, like getting the front wall in place, I was able to do everything by myself. This isn't bad considering that the building is 16 x 20' and some pieces are long and awkward. The fit and finish on the product is exceptional. I did manage to put many pieces together wrong and then have to go back and fix it all, but that is more a matter of style than anything. I would warn you though that the instructions can confuse you. The book that comes with the kit is for a different model and can mislead. The dvd, featuring your best friend Henry, is very helpful. Henry can occasionally be a bit cryptic and leave you wondering, but all in all the disc is what you must trust. Chris, at B.C., is very good about getting back via email on any issue.
My main caveat for you would be where to order from. I found after I ordered from B.C., which is British Columbia, that I could have bought the greenhouse for the same price at half the rather dear shipping from a place in Virginia. And Bank of America socked me with a completely unwarranted 3% surcharge for buying outside the U.S. even though the transaction was in $US. Got several emails from them, re my complaints at being robbed, to the effect that I could very politely go and eat poop.
All in all a very good experience. A very well-built greenhouse and good support. Now we will begin building cedar boxes to grow in. Haven't quite figured out the heat yet. Have to trench over about 30' from the basement to run Pex tubing which will tie into my wood furnace. Hot water baseboard heating seems a fair bet. Would not, absolutely not, want to try and heat this with oil, propane or electricity. I understand if we keep it up around 40 f most veggies will do fine, just be slower to produce. We are also looking to get a small hot tub to go in one corner. The one in the basement is just too huge.
Costs to date: Seymour Model Greenhouse delivered was $9480; 6x6 pressure treated beams were ~$300; 12 cubic yards of pea gravel delivered was ~$300; lumber for the boxes will be ~$400+, and the 6 technoposts installed were $900. You need the 6x6 sills, but the rest you could do without if you were in a frost-free, or light, zone and wanted to grow straight in the ground. And you could save on delivery depending on where you order.
If you are thinking of doing this and are near enough that I could help contact me.
This page was last updated: August 18, 2008