Building a Rion Eco-Grow Greenhouse

 

Greenhouse in a box!

Yes, I finally decided upon which greenhouse to buy.  It took a year and a lot of research and waiting.  I did go back and forth about just throwing some plastic over bowed PVC pipes, but I wanted something that lasted and didn’t look like a piece of junk.  Most greenhouses that I wanted were over $1,000, and that was just not going to work.  Also, I needed diffused light rather than clear glass or plastic because most of the year here the sun really cooks things.  Diffused light will help keep the seedlings from scorching.  Since I’m absolutely not a carpenter, and would be assembling this myself, I needed something that went together fairly easily.  I found the Rion Eco-Grow, a small greenhouse that snaps together and yet can be enlarged later (http://www.riongreenhousekit.com/rion-ecogrow.php).  It isn’t made of aluminum, which can bend easily, and the double plastic ‘windows’ diffused light. It is delivered by standard carrier, not flatbed truck, so the packages are manageable and you aren’t expected to help unload them.  It came with a seven-year warrenty and had very good customer reviews on other websites.  I not only bought it on sale, but it came with a choice of a gift, and I chose the solar light.

I guess they didn't fit through the little package door!

Last Wednesday I came home to find a couple of friends waiting for me.  The boxes were about 60 pounds apiece, but I just levered them onto my garden cart (the best thing I ever bought!) and hauled them down to where the greenhouse was going.

Sorting the parts and leveling the ground took a whole afternoon.

Well, it wasn’t easy, putting that thing together.  After sorting parts, many of which were not labelled, and then leveling the area where the base would be constructed, it was already an afternoon shot.  The next day I started fitting pieces together and trying to figure out the miniscule diagrams.  It really is ingeniously thought out.

Pushing together the hardware was fun.

Only when it came to fitting glazing on over the roof panels did the very, very bad time happen.  I worked for a day and a half on just those glazing; they wouldn’t go in!  They recommend soapy water.  I had so much soapy water that it was dripping in my shoes.  Finally I brought down my electric kettle and poured hot water on some  of them.  It worked for all except one end, which still isn’t going anywhere.  It will have to stay like that.

In pergatory they make you try to assemble the roof parts... forever.

When I started work, the ground was pretty dry.  Then a puddle was forming in the mud at my feet and I realized that there was a leak in the pipe nearby, so I shut off the outside water until I can fix it.  Then I was hurrying to be done before the rain last week, and I didn’t make it.  Then, since it was very muddy and I was having so much trouble with the roof I thought I’d back out my riding mower out of the shed and haul the roof inside onto level flooring to see if that made any difference.  I didn’t get far.  I started the mower, tried to reverse, couldn’t clear the entrance way with the mower deck, then realized in only about two minutes time that the exhaust had filled the shed and I was getting sick.  I shut off the mower and got out of there.  That was the end of that work day, as I recovered my breathing and severe headache in the house.  I tasted exhaust in my mouth for a long time afterwards.

Sophie checking on my progress.

Then it rained again, and I spent a day running errands.  Today I constructed the door and then noticed a spot in the middle that wouldn’t brush off.

What is that mark in the middle....?

A spider had worked its way down between the lines of the panel and made a little web!  He would certainly die in there, and I’d be watching him do it.  So of course I took apart the entire top part of the door, wedged out the panel and blew down the lines, and he popped out the other side.  Nothing I can do about the web he left, though.

A spider! Had to get that poor guy out of there

I managed to complete everything except for placing the roof on the top.  Tomorrow I’ll have help and we’ll do a ‘barn raising’, or, at least, raise the roof!

All ready to raise the roof!

Assembly tips: sort out every piece of equipment.  Not all of the pieces are labeled, and some of the panels are only a hair’s difference in size, so measure and mark them all… it will save a lot of re-doing and cursing. Wear gloves.  Not so much that the panels will cut you, but they really help save your hands when you are pressing and pressing and pressing and sliding your hands up and down plastic pieces to get them to fit together.  If you have issues with your hands and wrists (as I especially do now!) this will be tough on you.  Use lots of warm soapy water, and for pieces that either absolutely won’t go together, or for those that did and now need to come apart because they popped out of place, pour boiling water slowly down all pieces concerned.  It really does help!  Be sure to work on a level surface, even for constructing the roof.   Give yourself a break and go do something else for awhile, then come back to the problem.  Don’t use a rock to force a piece into place because the plastic will chip off.  Ahem.

I’ll post a final photo when I set up shop!

6 thoughts on “Building a Rion Eco-Grow Greenhouse

  1. Karen, how interesting. Mine is still holding up, and it is in full sun with summers often over 100 degrees F. What weather do you have? I had the one roof opening, which is propped up by a piece of notched plastic. Within a month we had strange high winds here and that piece was ripped off and not covered under their warranty. I have it juryrigged so I can slide it open and tie it closed. I also didn’t do a wonderful job at leveling the ground before I built it (I thought that I did), so even the slightest bump made connections go awry. One panel keeps slipping out of the roof eve and I have it propped up, but I believe that is because of the slight unevenness of the ground. Mine is just at three years, so thank you for the warning and I’ll be on guard for more deterioration. That you can’t get a response from their warranty people is very alarming. That is Better Business Bureau material, in my book. Thanks so much for commenting!

  2. Hi.. Now that it’s been a couple of years since you posted this, I was wondering how it’s held up? We had a Rion leanto greenhouse/sunroom, which collapsed this past winter after 3 1/2 years. The pieces were very brittle and just gave way, allowing the whole top to cave in.. We have been trying to get Rion to cover their 7 year warrenty since January. At first they kept passing us on to other people, and now, no one there will respond or reply to us. So basically, their 7 year warranty is just an advertisement gimmick.. At any rate, I was just wondering if your’s is still holding up. We have a 2nd, smaller one who’s roof is sagging and is now being held up with a pole.. They just don’t appear to be made to last, that’s for sure.. We’ve had leaks, windows popping out, you name it..

  3. Tracy,
    sorry for not getting back to you right away! I wasn’t notified that you’d commented. The greenhouse that had me drooling was by Solexx, but the cost was prohibitive. Their panels diffuse light, are very durable, and are pretty much the top of the market. Many of the reviews I read about the Julianne and other greenhouses had many negative comments. The Rion had all good features, as I mentioned, especially arriving in two boxes by common carrier. Even with the help of five others, I never got the roof to completely settle. I called Customer Care, and the woman said that it was undoubtably the clear side panels not sliding up into the grooves. When she had put hers together, it took herself and another pushing on both sides of the panels, and a third person pulling on the roof to make it settle. (There really aren’t any handholds on the roof). Other than that roof-raising visit, I’m by myself, so after spending a lot of hours on the panels, I got out my trusty cordless drill and made some new holes. I don’t have to worry about snow or really high winds, and I figured that I could always pull out the pins and try to fix it another time if I had help. I really like the fact that you can undo anything on it, in case of mistakes. Meanwhile, it has been very warm and cozy inside. The one window vent works fine for me, and I just have to remember to close it in the evenings. The diffuse light is good so the plants don’t sizzle (although what will happen in there during our intense summers, which can get over 100 degrees, I don’t know. I shouldn’t have much in there at that time anyway.) For the money, I think its a darn good greenhouse. The fact that it is sturdy plastic rather than bendable aluminum is a very big plus. You really can’t beat the price, and you can always enlarge it if you feel like tackling the deconstruction. I hope that helps. Thanks for reading, and good luck with your growing! Diane

  4. HI,
    I too have been researching greenhouses for the last few months and i’m looking at the Rion EcoGrow too. I live in Southern Ohio and i’m looking for something durable and that will hold heat in the winter. I too was thinking of doing low hoop houses which I can grow into the winter with, but I want something nicer and more durable. Tell me, how is the greenhouse doing now that it’s up? Any cons other than installation? Also, what was the 2nd greenhouse you were tied with if you don’t mind. I’m looking at the Rion becasue of the supposed easy installation… and becasue of the wind rating of 80 mph, and 1100 lb snow rating….. I am securing mine to base/concrete/wood. Thank you in advance! Tracy

  5. Thanks, Dave! Wow, moving time already! I hope it all goes smoothly. Please keep in touch, and my best to your lady! The poochies say, “Hi” back! Take care. Diane

  6. Wow! What an adventure! I need to take a break after reading about your trials and tribulations. I look forward to seeing the final photo and hearing about what you end up growing in it!

    I’m off to Flag in a week! Almost all packed up. Say “Hi” to your pups 🙂

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