Greenhouse Footer Stripped

New Greenhouse Footers – Click for Larger View

Yesterday I stripped the forms from the new greenhouse’s footers. They have had a little over a week to cure. Ben’s been keeping the concrete wet with frequent sprayings of water. The wooden formwork came of smoothly and the footers look great. The concrete is still green and thus a bit fragile but ready to have the wall forms built on top of it. Then the concrete walls of the greenhouse can be poured this coming week. Progress.

West Footer to be stripped

The rebar stubs set in the footer concrete will connect the footer to the walls. After setting up the outer wall forms we’ll attach more rebar to these stubs to reinforce the walls.

The reason for building concrete walls is two fold:

1) The greenhouse is set into the hillside so that it can be bermed to gain protection from the winter cold and very importantly, the wind.

2) Pigs are very rough on walls as I discussed back in the previous article.

By having pig tough knee walls I can assure myself that they’re not going to tear the walls down by rubbing up against the surfaces when searching out that perfect scratching post.

The surface of the concrete in the footers is quite rough. This is so that when we pour the walls they will bind to the footers. I could have also keyed them in but between the roughness and the rebar studs it is more than sufficient. Later things will be smoothed out.

The red plastic caps on top of the rebar stubs are there to protect us from falling on the spikes and getting impaled. Vlad would be proud of the setup – safety first!

Puttied Brace Screw Head

This is a screw in the spacer brace that spans the footer. Ben and Hope had pushed putty into the screw heads so that when we went to later disassemble the forms we could easily remove the screws. Without the putty, cement gets into the screw head slots and hardens making the screws nearly impossible to remove.

Rebar Clean & Dirty

One thing we could have done a better job of was cleaning some of the rebar stubs after pour day. The brace boards were easy to slip off of the clean stubs, like the one on the left.

Popping Braces

To remove brace boards from the dirty stubs we tapped the boards upward with a mallet. This worked like a charm. I had been afraid I would have to split the brace boards, thus losing them from future works.

North End Footer

The greenhouse is set on a slope. The north end has a bit more angle so the footer is thicker there. Now that the footers are all poured we have a level surface for the full 122′ of their length.

Looking Down on Foundation from Cottage Level

The greenhouse foundation is a C shape 28′ wide by 66′ long. The actual roofed area will be a little bigger due to overhang to get the drip edge further out. We may or may not build the final roof this year.

The glazing is quite expensive. I want to go with permanent translucent roofing rather than sheet plastic because I don’t want to waste time and resources replacing it every year or three. We get high winds which are very hard on plastic sheeting. Been there, done that. Since we will just be using the greenhouse for farrowing this year and not growing plants what we may do is a temporary opaque roof on it for now. Then later when we have more time and money we can put on the final roof. Everything in its time.

Ben & Will Making Forms

Yesterday and today Ben & Will continued making forms for the walls. At this point they’ve completed all the standard 4×8 forms, the 4×4 forms and all but two of the few special sizes of forms. Building all the forms was a fair bit of work but they lock and unlock easily making construction of the concrete walls a breeze. This will be important as we have quite a few other similar construction projects planned for the coming years.

Outdoors: 51°F/24°F Sunny yesterday, Cloudy with 1/2″ Rain today in late afternoon
Farm House: 58°F/52°F
Tiny Cottage: 55°F/52°F Closed roof vents in evening

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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10 Responses to Greenhouse Footer Stripped

  1. Brian says:

    Concrete is wonderful stuff. Liquid slurry shaped into a form than hardens, amazing. I am currently building forms for a concrete bar top. Nice job. I read about putting putty in Cheng’s conrete countertop and secretly wondered how it would do. Pretty cool you put it on your blog. Now I see the screw will be a breeze to remove. Easier to remove putty from the screwhead than concerete that is for sure. Nice planning. Good work.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What have you looked at for transparent / translucent roofing?

    We’ve been using using 6 mil construction plastic that needs to be replaced yearly.

    I have looked at greenhouse films, but they are 3 or 4 times as expensive even though they last a lot longer.

    It would be nice to find a more permanent solution.

  3. Brian says:

    I do hope you are going to hirea pump for your next pour or at least a tractor and bucket for each Kid!

  4. oshea12566 says:

    Are you going to wait until after the winter to pour the walls?

  5. Brian, I’ve used a pump truck before and they’re wonderful tools. Using the tractor and our chute we’re almost as fast as a pump truck – they take quite a bit of setup time and I would have to build a road to get them in which I don’t have to do with the tractor.

    Oshea, we’re working on setting up the forms for the wall pour later this week.

  6. Anonymous,

    For the roofing we will likely go with the wavey translucent single layer glazing for the outer layer. This is highly transparent and will carry the snow load. For the inner roof of the greenhouse portion itself we will go with the triple-wall extruded polycarbonate.

    If I have the money when we roof it, I might go with the double-wall extruded polycarbonate for the outer roof. It is structurally a little stronger than the wavey glazing.

    Plastic sheeting which I’ve used before is cheaper but doesn’t hold up well in our extreme cold with the high winds we get here on the mountain. I don’t want to be replacing the film every few years and dealing with disposal of the old film.

    More importantly, if the film broke in the middle of the winter, the most likely time, we could lose $70,000 worth of pork in one fell swoop. Given those numbers it’s worth picking a strong, tougher, more durable roof.

    Here are some links to the glazing:





  7. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for posting those links, that is beter pricing than I have found.

  8. Ryan says:


    Is your greenhouse design fairly straightforward? I was trying to find a copy of it on the site but have not.

  9. It’s not a simple straight forward greenhouse as we have a somewhat specialized use and the function varies with the season. I write more about it sometime and do more detailed plans.

  10. David says:

    You do so many interesting projects. I would be totally intimidated to try this!

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