Greenhouse History

The farm that included the lot that is now 4180 sw 99th in West Slope was subdivided into 90x300 foot lots (0.67 acre) around 1910, orchards before that. The house was constructed for telephone technician Clifford McDuffie in 1960, with the garage added in 1962. From the 1930s through the mid 1960s, Beaverton Hillsdale Highway had greenhouses on the north side from Beaverton to Hillsdale. As those were replaced with strip malls and businesses, Mr. McDuffie bought the structure and glass of one or two of those cedar and glass greenhouses, and rebuilt it on a concrete foundation in the back yard of 4180. There is no building permit on file for it. The concrete has sill bolts at the shed end, and 2 inch pipes to anchor the greenhouse, but no rebar. It was painted with lead paint :-(. The west end of the back yard is 62 inches higher than the greenhouse floor, 8 railroad tie steps down.

Mr. McDuffie raised orchids in the greenhouse; it had a propane and a natural gas heater. After he died, the greenhouse was untended through two more owners. When we bought it in 2010, the shed shingles had mostly disintegrated, half the wood was rotted, and about 15% of the glass was broken or missing. While bank-owned, before our purchase, a trespassing neighbor used the greenhouse as a target for golf balls (we found 20 inside).

At first, we intended to restore the cedar and glass greenhouse, but lead paint, extensive rot, and poor design ( for example, the leaky join between shed and greehouse roof) reluctantly led us to tear down the shed and remove the greenhouse glass. Single pane glass is a poor insulator; louvered ridgeline venting with a chain hoist is a poor seal in winter and a hassle to control in summer. Painting the wood every 5 years will be a challenge. If we have mobility challenges in our old age, the greenhouse becomes inaccessable.

Currently (October 2013), all the shed end wood has been removed for disposal, the glass removed (anybody need 200+ sheets of 16\times;18 inch glass?), and the remaining greenhouse frame covered with a transparent plastic tarp. We plan to rebuild the shed end first, then remove the greenhouse wood, mitigate the lead, modify the piping, then add the rebar, PVC, and Solexx as time and budget permits.

The greenhouse could be heated, but we will probably just use it for early spring starts for the raised beds outside. We expect the climate to warm and grow even more rainy in the coming decades, as the upper edge of the Tropic/Hadley cell moves north, and Oregon becomes more like middle California. At that point, we might cool the greenhouse.

GreenhouseHistory (last edited 2013-10-01 21:45:02 by KeithLofstrom)