Building a GrowCamp Greenhouse

This past weekend we finally assembled the 4’x8′ GrowCamp greenhouse that we bought form Costco online about a year ago. We’re hoping to grow an assortment of tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and other veggies in an environment that’s safe from deer and other predatory critters.


The unit seems fairly well thought out and designed to weather well. It’s mostly heavy plastic and takes about 2-3 hours for a couple of adults to assemble. The hardest part is the base. Once that’s firmed up, the upper parts are quite a bit easier.

The harder part is hauling the roughly 46 cubic feed of dirt required to fill the 20 inch high base. Thankfully, Kathleen attacked that problem and was able to move the bags into place far faster than either of us expected. With that out of the way, it was a matter of loading all the dirt into the greenhouse, mixing in a bit of fertilizer, planting, and wiring in the drip irrigation system.

All in all, it took about one and a half days over the weekend. That includes some time shopping for dirt, plants, and irrigation bits.

There are a few more pictures in my Greenhouse Construction album on Flickr.

Now we get to decide what (if anything) to do about remote monitoring for temperature and humidity. You know, so we can be really geeky gardeners. 🙂

About Jeremy Zawodny

I'm a software engineer and pilot. I work at craigslist by day, hacking on various bits of back-end software and data systems. As a pilot, I fly Glastar N97BM, Just AirCraft SuperSTOL N119AM, Bonanza N200TE, and high performance gliders in the northern California and Nevada area. I'm also the original author of "High Performance MySQL" published by O'Reilly Media. I still speak at conferences and user groups on occasion.
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6 Responses to Building a GrowCamp Greenhouse

  1. Charles says:

    My family owned and operated a huge greenhouse that covered most of an acre, I spent most of my youth working there. And I can’t help but say, building a greenhouse in California seems like trying to build a swimming pool in the middle of a lake.

    I grow peppers and tomatoes in 18″ pots on my deck, and I’ve found a cheaper, easier strategy to deal with animals filching my fruits: grow extra, so you still have a surplus even after crop losses.

  2. todd says:

    I eyed one of those too at Costco. We have a couple grow boxes one we made and one knox box. But we put up a deer fence around the property though rather than try to make spot defenses work. Deer are amazingly persistent and destructive otherwise.

  3. Donna says:

    We built ours last year after purchasing in late April (2010). We were thrilled with the outcome of our plants. Living in Paso Robles, California, our weather can vary from week to week, from highs of 100 during the day to 60 at night, and the following week be 70 with lows of high 40’s. Having no Spring or Fall to speak of last year, and again no real Spring this year, we loved having an environment we could help control. Also, off the ground helped with my spinal problems. We had tomatoes and peppers until Christmas, even with freezing weather!

    We had a problem with the sides bowing and the top cross bar dipping a tad, almost seeming to melt on the sunniest side late last year, and then today we walked out to survey the greenhouse (which was fine over the weekend) and after two hot days of 100 degrees, the entire middle section melted into a big W and is caving in on itself! When we called Grow Camp last year, they hadn’t heard of any problems at all and offered no solution. So with this mess, we contacted Costco directly.

    Their customer support center is really good and they are calling Grow Camp for us. We have already been told if we want another one, they will make that available to us, if the company is still around, or Costco will offer a full refund. We will take the refund, as we don’t want to chance a repeat disaster.

    Bad to worse – we just had our gardener refresh the soil and added 8 bags of Amend for our planting – which was to be next week. And, by the way, Costco is no longer contracted to carry the Grow Camp (they didn’t know why, could be as simple as no longer contracting with the company.)

    I wish you better luck with yours than we had with ours. We will probably have one built for us this time.

    Blessings, Donna

  4. Pingback: The 2011 Harvest Has Begun | Jeremy Zawodny's blog

  5. Isabelle Nuenninghoff says:

    I would be really curious to know more about your experiences with the Growcamp – thx for sharing. BR from Zurich, Switzerland

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