Building a Cedar Greenhouse in Canada
By Amanda Buttram, Wood-Mizer Contributing Author
For years, Stan Kujala dreamed of building a greenhouse on his lakeside property in Port Alberni, British Columbia. “My wife and I have been avid vegetable gardeners for years,” said Stan. “We have always wanted to build a greenhouse to extend the growing season.”
With their own greenhouse at home, Stan and his wife would be able to begin planting the year’s vegetable crop earlier in the spring before outdoor conditions in the area become favorable for plant growth. The climate-controlled environment of a greenhouse and the protection it offers would also allow the couple to continue growing their produce through the fall season and into winter. A dedicated structure for growing vegetables would help the Kujala family add several more weeks each year where they could not only produce a greater yield from their annual harvest, but savor more time spent together enjoying their common hobby.
While the greenhouse had long been a goal of Stan’s, the project always seemed to take a back seat to work and life. Like the growing season he enjoys so much, there never seemed to be enough time to do all he wanted – until recently.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, daily life was disrupted, and Stan had a lot more time on his hands. Spending so much time at his lakeside property along Sproat Lake’s Stirling Arm Bay first came as a surprise, but it wasn’t long before Stan was able to see the gift it was – he finally had the extra time he needed to dedicate toward the greenhouse project.
“COVID happened and gave me extra time to design, construct and complete my project,” said Stan. Douglas fir and western red cedar were harvested from Stan’s property in the summer of 2020. He milled the timber over the winter, sawing 100 percent of the lumber used to build the greenhouse on his Wood-Mizer LT40 Super Hydraulic portable sawmill.
After allowing the boards to dry for a few months, Stan was ready to begin construction on the greenhouse in late spring of 2021. He worked on the project in his spare time, taking two months to complete with some occasional assistance. “My wife helped with some of the construction and staining of the wood,” said Stan. A friend also helped Stan complete the heavy construction as well as install the greenhouse’s plastic sheeting.
Midway through the summer, the greenhouse was finished. The completed structure measures 12 feet wide by 12 feet long, totaling 144 square feet of indoor growing space. Its western red cedar framing and roof trusses as well as the one-inch Douglas fir floorboards were all crafted from trees that once grew in the area where the new greenhouse sits. By harvesting materials from his property and sawmilling the lumber on his own, Stan estimated he saved about $2,000 throughout the greenhouse’s construction.
“I was very satisfied with the finished product,” said Stan. “It was very satisfying to build something from lumber I had milled myself.” The benefits of milling wood himself first led Stan to choose a Wood-Mizer portable sawmill around 20 years ago.
Now that the greenhouse has been built, Stan is looking forward to some less intensive woodworking projects in the near future. He aims to complete a few exterior renovations at home such as replacing some window frames and cedar siding, along with building a few new docks at the lake. After completion of his impressive pandemic project, Stan shared the responses from fans of the greenhouse. “Others have admired my greenhouse and have asked when I can build one for them!”