Greenhouse, minus the glazing (above) attached to the south side of the chicken coop. The chicken yard is on the north side of the coop (above right) and the chickens will have access to the greenhouse and the garden (above left) as well early in the spring, late in the fall, and during the winter, while no crops are growing there. We may even be able to grow a cover crop in the greenhouse early in the springtime and late fall for the chickens and geese and for tilling into the greenhouse beds.
Seriously, it's been 10+ years that I've dreamed of having a greenhouse and a deer proofed, fenced in garden. The chicken coop was never a part of the dream as imagined, but it works so well with the other two.
I'm serious, pinch me.
But, I can't take any credit for much of this. Sure, I've read up on permaculture, gardening, and greenhouses from many sources over the years, but it's Chris who designed all of this and built just about every inch of it himself (except fence post holes dug by a neighbor with an attachment on his backhoe, help from a couple of friends putting in the fence posts and top crossbars, and borrowed fencing stretchers from another neighbor).
The boys have been good helpers here and there, too, and have been so very patient with our being so wrapped up in all these projects.
OK, so I did help the littlest bit with getting things plumbed, snapping lines for the roofing, holding up the occasional board, stretching chicken wire, filling the greenhouse beds with soil and compost, and stringing trellis for tomatoes inside the greenhouse. Oh, and I almost forgot, planting and caring for all of the plants that needed starting ahead of time indoors.
Except for the polycarbonate glazing panels, the rest of the materials were, relatively speaking, quite reasonable. Most of the lumber is local cedar, utility grade but perfectly functional, and was crazy cheap, even with the gas money to and from the sawmill 1.5 hours away. The long window in the coop is an extra from our house, one we'd replaced with an opening window. The two windows between the greenhouse and coop are from a salvage yard. The coop roofing isn't our first choice of color but was marked down about half price at a local building center, and besides, it faces north where we'll hardly ever see it. Other materials include insulation, chipboard coop ceiling and floor, plywood coop door, feeders, waterers (some made from plastic buckets), metal bins for feed, and of course, screws, hinges, and other hardware. Wood shaving bedding mateiral inside the coop is from C's woodshop, gathered only from solid woods, not any melamine or otherwise laminated materials.
With greenhouse glazing on, below:
C didn't have the greenhouse door finished and installed even 10 minutes before we let the chicks (not even 3 weeks old yet) out into the greenhouse to run around.
Despite temps still only getting up into the 50's most days lately, the less than 4 week old goslings are spending most of their days outside free ranging out in the yard.
And the four grown hens are now venturing out into their fenced-in yard more and more each day, actually squacking and lining up at the door to get out in the morning after they've laid their eggs.
Can't wait to get planting! We're going to try cracking the windows between the coop and greenhouse at night to see if the heat lamp in there will raise the temperature in the greenhouse enought to ward off a hard freeze. If not, I just might have to break down and plug in a small heater on colder nights over the next few weeks or until the weather becomes more settled into warmer temps.
Moving right along: building raised beds inside the garden.