PNW Greenhouses

JoeinWA(7)August 22, 2011

Hello everyone!

I've been lurking about here for a while and I've finally decided on getting a greenhouse after having a dismal year with the outdoor garden.

Based on what I've found here and in other places, I am interested in getting either a RIGA V, or a Juliana Gardner 1800 11 x 16. I can still be swayed into other options if there is something that might be more desirable. Where I would be putting the greenhouse is subject to 80MPH winds from time to time, so it needs to be robust.

I've been looking around all of Western Washington for a place where I might be able to take a look at either of the above greenhouses, and there seems to be a lack of stores available that actually SELL greenhouses. I've found Charley's, but they are quite over the top in their price range, and do not have either of the two models I would like to look at.

Would I be able to get some suggestions on where I can go to get a hands-on look? I am hesitant to make a spendy buy like this without first being able to see it.

Thanks in advance!

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karin_mt(4 MT)

I'm not sure if this place is close to you or not, but the Mt. Shasta General Store sells Riga and others. I also don't know if they keep them in stock or if they are purely an online seller.

Another thing to try would be to contact gardening clubs or the folks that organize garden tours to see if anyone owns one of the models you are interested in.

Bozeman is a haul from Western WA but you are welcome to come over for a tour of our Riga. I have been getting a lot of curious visitors lately, wanting to come see the RED tomatoes inside.

Good luck and happy shopping!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 10:19PM
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Wow, super speedy response!

I did look into Mt Shasta, but that's about a 600 mile drive. :O I should probably mention that I'm in the Seattle area to, perhaps, narrow the scope a little.

Contacting local gardening clubs is a great idea though!

I've seen your pictures of the Riga, and that's really what made me start looking at them! I was initially considering a Rion, but after seeing all the problems with poor fittings in the roof and considering the amount of wind we get here... that idea went out the window.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 10:39PM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

Ah, Seattle - so yeah, Mt. Shasta would be an unreasonable drive. Another place to ask would be at a good garden center that knows their clients.

Well I'm glad my Riga photos were helpful! Let us know how your search goes.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 1:05AM
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Hi Joe,

You're right in that it's going to be hard to actually find display models anywhere. I don't have a great setup like Karin, but I've been lucky enough to check out Riga's line since I'm in Austin, where the Riga distributor is located.

As far as pricing, definitely shop around. Some online retailers have much more leeway in terms of how much discount they can offer. And as strange as the tax laws are, you're better of purchasing from an out-of-state online retailer to avoid sales tax, which will be significant for a purchase this large.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hobby Greenhouse

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 1:12AM
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Well, I went ahead and pulled the trigger on this. I went looking at greenhouses yesterday to get a feel for the size of the Riga V. After finding a few comparable sizes and designs, I put the order in.

GH Kit + Base + 1 upper shelf = $5,097. I ordered from CSN and called instead of doing it online so I could ask for a discount. $250 off the top just for asking.

I'll be starting assembly the weekend after Labor day!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 9:16AM
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Congrats on your purchase!!! I hope you get years of enjoyment and production out of it.

I remember reading up top people talking about them being made from aluminum? The biggest caution I can give anyone that has an aluminum greenhouse(and I speak from experience): If you pour concrete anywhere.... make sure it does NOT contact any aluminum ANYWHERE.

We have a large aluminum saw tooth greenhouse (decent size, about 100'x200') that was originally built in the 70's used for 20 years, disassembled moved 300 miles and reassembled and going strong for the past 4 years. Its amazing how durable a well designed greenhouse can be. Only problem we had was after the move and the reassembly we had some guys pouring concrete, and needless to say the end of one of the horizontal cross members got buried in concrete... We didnt notice until about 2 months later... well the concrete had totally oxidized the aluminum that it was in contact with into dust.

Other than that 1 drawback aluminum greenhouses are wonderful. Easy to modify and secure panels to due to the ease of drilling into aluminum with self tapping screws etc...

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 12:41PM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

Exciting! Now we have two new Rigas on the greenhouse forum to watch. Looking forward to hearing how it goes and seeing pictures!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 1:10AM
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Ggarner, thanks for the advice! I'm actually going to be burying some timbers and mounting the foundation to them.

Karin, I should be receiving the GH next Tuesday, and hopefully I'll have it all set up and ready to grow by Saturday or Sunday.

Status reports will be coming as quickly as I have time!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 9:25AM
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Add me to the list of Riga owners. We are located in Round Rock just north of Austin. We purchased via the site to be picked up locally in Austin at the distributor. They did a best price match and we did not have to pay sales tax or delivery. We purchased the Riga V, base and top and bottom shelves for one side. I can't say enough good things about Andrew who operates the distibutor in Austin. Top notch customer service.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 12:25AM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

I second the motion on Andrew. I got my Belgian-made Janssen greenhouse through him and he was good to work with, particularly when the shipping company damaged one component by apparently running a forklift blade into one of the packages! He also was very helpful with providing technical advice on a couple of assembly questions. When you're spending that kind of money, it helps to have confidence in the seller.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 1:37AM
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The Riga is up and operational.

Started by burying some 6x6 pressure treated timbers - squared and leveled:

Finished the first round of assembly as the sun went down:

Another picture for good measure:

Door, window, and vents installed:

In a rush, but got broccoli (big pots), beets (white buckets), and spinach (long planters, upper shelf) in:

Also have some Brussels Sprouts in the white planters, and the power outlet:

Water spigot:

I'll be doing more work over the next several weeks to spruce it up a bit and do something about the floor.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 5:50PM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

It's so cool to see another Riga as I've never seen one other than ours. Looks super exciting! Nice work on the build and the setup. The table lamp is a nice touch. :)

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 12:39AM
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I'm super impressed with how sturdy this thing is! It was a whole lot more work putting together than I expected (though, that's partially from digging two long, deep trenches to put water and power inside), but I'm really pleased with the results.

In the last picture, you can see some weather stripping on the ground. There are 4 long strips, and I haven't yet found a home for them. I suspect that they might go on the curved upright profile on the 4 corners, but I haven't had a chance to check it out yet (the greenhouse is a 40 minute drive from home... long story). Any suggestions before I make a stab at it this weekend?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 8:41AM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Very nice job. Could any of that weather stripping be for sealing the door?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 1:26PM
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Door is sealed.

Window - Check.

Roof vents - Check.

All around the foundation - Check.

I'm at a loss unless it's the curved upright corner profiles. But, keep the ideas coming if you've got them!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 11:37PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

I'd call the manufacturer to see what they say. I had some extra pieces with mine (different brand), and, when I discussed this with them, they said that they packaged extra in case the buyer messed up and needed more.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 2:29PM
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Julia NY(6)

I hadn't seen you post before when I did a search on Riga.
Very nice.
You did not put 6x6 in the front or back? Just the sides? Was that because of your water and electric lines?
You sure did get it up quickly. How many people helped you?
What if anything would you do differently if you were to do it over again?

I want to get one after I saw karin post hers. Now I see several others are posting about theirs as well. I understand they are really well made.


    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 1:14PM
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Hello Julia,

The first picture is deceiving as we had just finished getting the sides leveled when I got the camera out. We have 6x6's on all four corners.

Once we got it all up, we then dug our trenches (electrical and power came from different parts of the property) and went underneath the timbers.

There were 3-4 of us putting it up (it varied, depending on the time of day) and we managed in a day on most of it (though we worked from nearly sunup to sundown). We dug the foundation out the week before.

I would recommend assembling the doors and windows before you get started on the greenhouse if you have the spare time before you can assemble your helpers! They are easy enough to put together by yourself. For the roof vents, I put an extra bolt in the channel for future plans on putting 2 automatic-vent openers per vent since we get high winds. I had to go out and buy some extra 10-mm bolts so I didn't run out.

So far, I'm very happy with the sturdiness of this structure. It's very solid. I had an issue on our first attempt at putting it together (it was just me and one other person) where a gust of wind hit the back wall before we finished putting it together, and it snapped one of the plastic pieces that attaches the upright frame piece to the foundation. The back wall is your first wall to build, so until you start putting the side panels in, there is no support for it at all. I called up Exaco (US Distributor of Riga) to explain my problem and order a new part. They shipped it out to me at no cost with no questions. Great customer service!

Let me know if you have any other questions I can help answer!


    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 6:48PM
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stressbaby(z6 MO)


Nice. Couple of questions.

What is the growing medium for the spinach?

I see how the frame is connected to the 6x6's but how are the 6x6's connected to the ground?


    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 7:55AM
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Julia NY(6)

Joe: Thanks for the additional info. You referred to a video you reviwed in previous posts with karin. Is that something you got online? I wanted to see the video to get an idea of the steps involved before I order one but I can't seem to find any site that has the complete building process. YouTube just has segments.

I did see the revised video on YouTube about the automatic window opener and using 2 instead of 1 opener.Thanks for the tip about putting extra bolt in channel ahead of time.
The issue with high winds is something we experience here as well.

Robert has a good question on how you secured your 6x6's to the ground. Rods? Anchors?

Did you get the free sun shade cloth with your GH? If so, how does that work with having automatic openers?

Thanks for answering so many questions.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 8:36AM
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The spinach is just growing in topsoil.

As for the timbers, the pictures make it look like the timbers are flush with the ground, but they are buried at this point and have about 6 inches of soil/clay packed over them. With the weight of the greenhouse, timbers, and soil I didn't feel the need to also drive anchors into the clay... lets hope that I never have occasion to find I was wrong!

Exaco Trading has roughly an hour's worth of Riga assembly videos on Youtube that cover just about everything. They will also mail you a video in advance of receiving the greenhouse. There were some slight variations between the Youtube videos and the DVD, but the vast majority went together the same.

I did have one or two issues putting it together where the parts did not match the directions (the door handle is one example that comes to mind) and I was able to talk with Alan at Exaco to walk me through the updates. Alan said they were working on an updated DVD to reflect the parts changes.

For the above mentioned door handle, the parts list and the video both show a small metal door handle with some additional pieces, and what was received was a rather large plastic "loop" handle with no additional pieces.

The variations were minor, though. Just make sure you open up all the boxes if you cannot find the instructions in English! They send the original instructions (printed in German) with the DVD packet, but I found an English translation at the very end when I opened the last box containing the window kits!

Oh, another tip I'd suggest is to have some duct tape (or other easily visible tape) to mark the UV-coated side of the polycarbonate panels when you are removing the film prior to installation. Once you remove the film, it's very difficult to tell which side of the panel has the UV coating.

I did not get the sun shade cloth with mine. I am planning on making my own based on another thread found here that should work fine with the automatic openers:

The shade panels will go on the inside and will not cover the vents.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 10:05AM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

Joe, I agree the assembly is tricky because the GH has no structural integrity while you are assembling it. I was so worried about a gust of wind like you had, so I'm glad you were able to get the part replaced and get everything built. It's like a barn-raising event once your foundation is set, your helpers arrive and you do the big push to erect the greenhouse in the course of one long day.

Now that it's built and you've moved in, how are things growing?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 1:40AM
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Julia NY(6)

Great tips. Thank you.
BTW, who is CNS? I've been researching all the companies that sell Riga Greenhouses but haven't come across CNS.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 11:22AM
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Things are going very well now! I have several plants coming up, but winter growing is always slow... so, hopefully I'll have spinach by Christmas!

Shortly after ordering my GH, CSN Stores changed their name to WayFair.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 12:32PM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

Joe, good to hear that your plants are coming along. I'm in the same boat with newly planted greens growing far slower than my appetite. But it's still fun to tend them and treat yourself to a salad every now and then. I have some that are just at the seedling stage and I hope they can get some nice growth before it gets much colder. Amazingly, with almost any amount of sunlight the greenhouse is pretty warm during the day.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 1:03PM
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I'm still amazed to walk into the gh on a 38-degree day and it's 60-degrees inside! A few times, I've actually had to open the vents for fear of cooking my cold-loving plants.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 8:35AM
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