Part-6 Inhibitors, Mistakes, and Detours
One might ask why so many greenhouse slabs without building any greenhouses? Conspicuously there have been at least five reasons. First, on all previous outings there was the question of planning and time, lack of, and the unintended drastic consequences.
Calhoun Street, Fort Wayne: For example, slab #1 was modeled after that of an orchid grower, Dr. Gray, on the south side of Fort Wayne and met a hideous fate. I set a 12x12 slab thinking that shade from adjacent structures would not be a major problem. His was on west side of house and built simply from redwood and glass, mine would have been on the east side of house. The lighting was not good, an airing porch shaded to the south. And our neighbor, seeing my wife and daughter using the slab for a swimming pool declared the project and I think generally the whole family a public nuisance and built a 10 foot privacy fence which blocked even more sunlight. In the meantime three citrus trees died in the basement despite intense lighting that mimicked a typical drug farm. My guess is that lime trees hate temperatures below 75 degrees F. In addition, the septic line and cistern ran too close and the level was incompatible with any part of the house, so no entrance or exit at house level without extreme build up.. Dr. Gray's greenhouse had just one step down to the greenhouse. If our greenhouse were built it would have been off the dining room and would have been 4 or more feet below floor level, muddy boots and all, and not a good plan, repleat with bad security.
1720 Sheckler Road, Columbia City: Slab #2, matched house level, oops, water ran in under slab and destroyed several thousand dollars worth of materials in Margaret's office area despite having the proper outward slope and sill. Unlike the previous slab this one was too close to the well! In addition I failed to understand the water runoff requirements of the eaves so the actual structure could not be built without expanding the house. However, in doing the project I discovered to my horror that the house, built in 1834, was a write off due to extreme termite damage, layers of asbestos walls, and various other infestations like powder beetles and dry rot, cool!! Slab #3, built at the same time was meant for a potting shed with a poly greenhouse out the back, 12'x15', no water, 200 feet from the house. I began to run a line from the termite infested house but: too far from the house, too expensive, not enough time, asbestos and termites 'ter'minated that project. Materials salvaged from friend's pool house rotted in my barnyard before I could find time to assemble the shed and materials were too flimsy to even start. I can't even bull doze the area for fear of puncturing a tire.
Second has been money. Anyone starting such a project should escrow the entire amount because all things human have higher priority than expensive cucumbers, orchids, etc., even termites! If you are doing this for the winter cucumbers stop now! By the time the slab is poured the money will be/was gone to other projects (and this has happened each and every time!).
A third problem is life rhythm. Such projects take concentration of effort and several years to complete. The typical mean time between physical and job moves, however, for most families is about 5 to 7 years. This is not enough time for this type of project. And then sometimes you just get a tough case of Labrador Retrievers..
So a fourth problem: is health and welfare, you should have some. My wife and I haven't had much lately. For example, last week my heart decided to stop beating every third beat, I've been humming waltzes ever since (thats a joke). Tough cookies. Solution, use the FDR approach. Change meds, take more vitamins, trudge on. Warning the FDR, Albert Einstein, O.J Simpson approach is to do it anyway despite health blowouts, financial ruin and fed'ral, state, local, and family mandated constraints. Warning this approach was used by the Captain of the Titanic, by Wiley Coyote, by Colonel Custer, and by most of the winners/losers of the Darwin award...
A fifth problem is changing priorities. People/life/stuff will simply try to change your priorities with or without the amenities, i.e. your permission. And to that I say thhhhptt!! and I mean thhhhptt!! Examples include tax increases, misread blueprints, war, crime & corporate fubar. Take a look at just the effort needed to change the boxed in gable where the greenhouse roof will go. Step 1(top row), cut out the old gable and all support structures (4 hrs. pray against collapse). Step 2 (bottom left. 5 hrs), Make a cardboard template and cut and mount new support structure. Step 3 (bottom middle, 3 hours), Cut and mount the panels. Step 4 (bottom right, 1 hr), mount boards for soffit. Step 5, trim the old plywood edges. Step 6, hope that there is a soffit guy left in the universe that won't charge too much.