I recently bought (mid-February) one of Farmtek's 104558 Growspan large greenhouses with base, ground anchors and solar vent openers. What follows are my comments on the assembly and overall quality of this product so that others may have an easier time with the assembly.
Let me preface this by saying that since I have completed the assembly of this product I actually love having it, and the sting of assembling it is fading. I purchased their product in particular because of the 10 year guarantee, which other manufacturers did not offer. I should also say I am not a dolt (I have a Master’s degree) and was a licensed home improvement contractor in Maryland, so I am reasonably handy (if you have never put anything together before, I would strongly advice against starting with this project).
Here are my comments:
Delivery - Except for the $200 or so cost, the process was fine. The driver was courteous and helpful. Some internet commenters have not had a positive experience.
Steel base- The steel base was pretty much what I expected and was not a problem to assemble or level. Squareness and level are of utmost importance in the final product (the doors probably wouldn’t work since there is little tolerance in their sliding, panels may not fit, etc. This should be emphasized.
Ground anchors- The ground anchors were overpriced ($17 each???) and relatively poor quality. Unless one lives on the beach, banging the anchors into the ground (I live in rocky Western Maryland) will crush the top, distorting the predrilled bolt holes, necessitating redrilling. The bolts included were standard. Everything else was metric.
Instructions – I have assembled many things, from prefab sheds to kitchen cabinetry, from desks to dressers. I would prefer Ikea-like instructions without any words to Farmtek's instructions, which had many words and many unclear pictures. When you include photos that look like they are the 43rd time something has been Xeroxed and the three dimensional nature of the item is VERY important, you are doing a disservice to your customers. If you would have clearly marked each item face as “inside” or “outside” – like you did do on the polycarbonate- that would have saved a lot of time. The instructions often referred to the “quick start” section which I never found.
Staff-I found their staff very earnest in trying to help with questions (I called 3 or 4 times) but since they had never really assembled this item, they often were not helpful. I don’t know what the answer to this problem is since they have many items for sale, but if there were somebody on staff who could be the “expert” who had actually assembled an item, I would have appreciated it.
Tools- I happen to have lots of metric and standard sockets and nut drivers but the need for metric tools should be in big letters somewhere.
Bolt intersections: Particularly at the corners, whoever decided where bolts go should have thought about how any known tool will fit in that space to tighten them…they were too close together.
Doors – there were two main problems with the doors. The supplied screws for assembling the door frame were junk that cammed out or whose heads broke off (yeah Farmtek did warn this may happen if you use too much force, not exactly helpful). I found I had to predrill the channel to enlarge it slightly to get their screws (and my substitutes) to work. In addition the plastic u-profiles were impossible to attach to the polycarbonate. I tried soap as suggested by their help desk, and even crushing the edges of the polycarbonate. Neither worked. I ended up not using the plastic u-profiles and just embedding the edges in caulk, which seems to have worked fine. I couldn’t get one of the roof M profiles on either and just caulked it in. If there is not a 1/16th” or so space between the metal frame and the edge of the polycarbonate the M panel won’t snap in place. The supplied self-stick door insulation didn't (stick).
Caulk- the instructions seemed to imply that more caulk might be needed. They were right. I would suggest you buy 2 more tubes before starting the polycarbonate assembly.
Solar vent openers – one of the help desk folks sent me a video on this which gave me a general idea of how to attach these (although the specifics were different since it never showed this greenhouse). The maker should emphasize the importance of these openers if their customers don’t want their plants to experience 150 degrees…the power of the sun is incredible. If only our President could fathom that.
Assembly time- Not sure what you Farmtek told people, but I probably spent 25 hours assembling this greenhouse, working alone (I actually asked my wife’s opinion about assembling the vents and she’s still talking about the uniqueness of that).
Frame: the finished greenhouse has withstood a 7" snow and 30 mph winds so far this winter, without ill-effect. I hope that continues.
The hoop house came with zip up door panels. The doors were impossible to anchor. They blew in the wind and the zippers soon broke. I recommend getting roll up doors installed from Atlas Greenhouses. They can be installed on these hoop houses.
The top of the hoop house collects water and stretches. Since there is no central ridge and the top is flat, it is difficult to stretch the plastic tight enough to prevent the top from catching water. Once it does, it stretches and then collects even more. I tried siphoning off the water from the giant bubble that formed, but eventually just gave up and punched a hole in the top. I recently had it recovered (in November) and now, 4 months later, am having the same problem. It is a poor design. It need a row of purlins along the top line in the center or a ridged roof to prevent water from collecting.
The shade cloth that was sent for my hoop house was too short and did not cover the space adequately. it was about 10 feet short of the hoop house length of 72' so that the ends are not covered. The shade cloth began to rip after 3 years of seasonal use and I had to sew it back together last year. It is now ripping apart at the seams again.
Jgordo02 Blairstown, MO (Zone 6a) (4 reviews) March 2, 2015
I've ordered from FarmTek several times with very good results. I built a pit greenhouse and ordered all the channel for my twinwall poly as well my shade cloth and channel to attach it. They always seem to have what I need and delivery has always been fast.
I ordered a commercial vertical hydroponic lettuce system, and some other items, on January 23, almost $5,000 in goods.. It had to be assembled, and the catalog warned that delivery might take up to 15 days. I was told that my credit card would not be charged until the item was drilled and shipped. The next day, I called to request that a different business credit card be used for the charge, (the first one had not been charged yet) but I was told that it was already "too late." But...the system did not come, and I heard nothing, for weeks. I began to call them, and the salesman tried, but he could not help. The items were finally delivered on February 27, over one month later,and when they arrived, the system was not correct-- being drilled 10 inches apart instead of 8 inches apart., I have not even begun to try to assemble this monster, which came on such a long palette (10 feet) we had to use a backhoe to get it off the truck with a lot of prayers.. Worse, the items were recklessly wrapped, looking like a 3rd grader did it, and cartons were smashed in and ripped open. The reservoir looks too large to fit under the racking, and the T5 bulbs are the teeny tiny ones, definitely not the ones shown in the catalog, and insufficient for my indoor grow---and I've got 48 of them. I hope this all that is wrong, but I should be selling by now...not assembling. These guys need some serious competition.
drscottmd Garrison, MD (2 reviews) January 19, 2014
Posted on January 17, 2014, updated January 19, 2014
Purchased the professional cold frame for $595. What I received was unassembled and uncut parts. The polycarbonate panels need to be cut. The iron tubes need to be cut. This is insane. The total cost of the parts can't exceed $50. You'd think they could cut the parts and drill screw holes. Who has a specialized polycarbonate cutting tool for a drill? At the very least, the ad on their site should warn you that the assembly is 15 pages long and requires special tools and experience. I hesitate to try to build it now as I don't want to ruin the panels, etc. On January 19th, 2014, drscottmd added the following:
Addendum - Bill in the customer service department attempted to be helpful. He agreed to replace any parts I ruined attempting to build this cold frame. However, I didn't get past step one which requires driving screws into a solid steel frame. There are no screw holes cut and the equipment listed in the instructions simply won't do what is being described. This turkey is going back to Farmtek.
Really fast service! I've ordered large shipments of 3 qt. and gallon pots from the, also nursery trays. The items arrived 3-4 days after placing the order. They have really good prices on nursery supplies. Best I've seen, also good quality.
Posted on May 25, 2010, updated February 2, 2012
I ordered greenhouse film and tape to construct season extending row covers. The tape (greenhouse repair tape) failed after only 2 weeks outdoors. Obviously the tape was defective. I contacted the company and after sending them a photo showing the failure was issued a full refund. No quibbling or hassles. I still have to repair the row covers but at least I am not out the money for a defective product. I won't hesitate to order from them again.On February 2nd, 2012, flying_squirrel added the following:
I placed an order for perlite recently. I was shopping for a fairly large amount(40 sq feet) and they had by far the best price. With the freight it was still less than anywhere else I could find. It arrived promptly and exactly as ordered. I am totally pleased. I probably will order from them again.
On December 30, 2010, I ordered a professional 12 x 20 greenhouse kit for my small heirloom plant business. However, when the kit arrived, we noticed that the heater--which we had spent extensive time discussing with the customer service representative regarding propane versus natural gas--was not with the order. When we called, we were told it was not included. I reference the web page from which I ordered, which listed all of the components for the kit--and we certainly paid the price for the entire kit! We were told the heater would be shipped.
Well, the heater didn't arrive...until I called two more times. I was told it would ship...then it didn't. Finally, on my third call...the heater was shipped.
We proceeded to work on the greenhouse, only to find that 400 special washers were not included. We called..and they were shipped. Next, we discovered that the circulation fan that should have been included was missing. My husband called, we were again told (as with the heater) that it wasn't included, even though EACH COMPONENT was individually listed as included in the kit! Finally, we received the fan.
Two weeks ago, as we were hopeful to finally finish the greenhouse, we discovered that three PANELS were missing. PANELS. Something a bit necessary for the construction of the greenhouse. We were told the panels would ship immediately. Guess what? I had to call this week to find out where the panels might be, as I had not received a shipping notification. I was told there was "construction in the warehouse" and some orders were delayed. The representative was very pleasant and told me we would receive the panels, as well as the two additional "H channels" by Wedneday of this week.
Here we are, it's Wednesday...the panels arrive--and guess what? Instead of the "H-channels," which are listed on the packing list--and which we NEED--there a numerous random metal tubes. No H channels. I called and was told the H channels would be here by UPS tomorrow.
It is now May 23. I have 5000 plants languishing in my basement, small greenhouse, driveway...anywhere I can find light for them. We are in peak growing and selling season here in SC--and the ineptitude of FarmTek/Grower's Supply has seriously jeopardized my business.
Will the h-channels arrive tomorrow? Stay tuned to discover the continuing saga of trying to receive an order from this company.
Oh--interestingly enough, they had no problem billing our charge card for more than $4200 on 12/30/10. If only they could be so efficient at delivering their merchandise.
paulgrow Allen Park, MI (Zone 6a) (28 reviews) March 17, 2011
One of the best companies that I have ever dealt with. The account reps were very helpful, excellent service and some of the most polite customer service folks I've ever seen.
I ordered 4 greenhouse fans, arrived in just 2 days.
I would never order from this company. They refused to honor their advertised sales price when I tried to place an order and changed the excuses as to why they were not going to be able to sell an item for the sale price several times while talking to the customer service rep. This company has no idea as to the proper way of dealing with the public. I told them to take me off their mailing list. If any of you have a Growers Supply catalog that has an offer expires date of 3/26/11 and catalog pricing expiration of 4/15/11 why don't you see what price they give you for the garden starter greenhouse, stock number 104207. The catalog says "SALE $129.00" . The price they really are selling it for is $185.00 when you try to order it. The first excuse they gave me was that the sale expired. I corrected the customer service rep and let her know the sale price date in the catalog and the next excuse was that they could not guarantee their prices due to worldwide fluctuations in the price of steel. GIVE ME A BREAK! If you are going to make up excuses, at least stick to just one and make it a believable one. I don't have the time or the desire to deal with a company that will not sell items for the price they advertise.
This is the first time I used them. I ordered a hi-low thermometer which arrived broken. I spoke to Martina who promised to send a new one out right away. As promised it showed up 3 days later. Couldn't be more pleased. Definately use them again!
r_rugosa Centerburg, OH (Zone 5b) (4 reviews) March 12, 2009
I ordered a soil heating cable, my first order with this company. The online transaction went smoothly. I received order confirmation and shipping confirmation e-mails within 24 and 48 hours respectively and the heating cable was on my doorstep 3 business days after I ordered.
I also received a free pair of gloves, a very nice touch. Overall, I am very happy with my experience and recommend them.
Wingnut Spicewood, TX (Zone 8b) (2 reviews) January 23, 2009
I ordered a soil warming cable from Farmtek and had a good experience with them. I started to order online, but the only shipping option was via UPS. I've had problems with UPS over the years and would rather use USPS when I can, so called them. They were happy to accommodate my request. I got an email confirming my order, and another telling me it had shipped, then the package arrived two days later, complete with a complimentary pair of cloth work gloves and a catalog. Nice! I'll be ordering greenhouse plastic from them later this year.
hostamomma Dundee, IL (12 reviews) December 20, 2007
Called to find out if any shadecloth remmnants had grommets. They not only went to the "outlet store" to physically check, but came up with an elegant and cost-effective solution for my situation. Items were shipped much quicker than promised (one item was supposed to be on backorder) and all arrived very well packaged.
Will do business with again!
I bought their cedar greenhouse. It was fairly easy to assemble, but the first good wind (perhaps gusting at 25 mph) that hit it blew the poly panels right out of the cedar frame. I spoke to them on the phone, and provided them pictures of the damage. I followed up with them three times over a two month period, and they refused to do anything about it. I would not recommend doing business with this company.
WaterCan2 Eastern Long Island, NY (Zone 7a) (21 reviews) April 8, 2007
Good prices on hard to find, very good, industrial quality items. I usually turn to their catalog when I need something specific for a project. Ordered from them several times and would'nt hesitate to order again.
Farm Tek demonstrates how to keep a customer happy when everything goes wrong.
I ordered a multi-level grow light system with four shelves and eight lights. The unit’s hardware was missing and they shipped new hardware to assemble the unit by express shipping. Upon operation, one of the ballasts blew out with an orange blaze. They shipped a whole case of replacement ballasts. Subsequent to that, a light panel malfunctioned and no longer operated.
With each new issue, their phone manner was always pleasant and efficient. Eventually we communicated with cordial email. The unit I ordered did not have replacement parts due to discontinuation so they refunded my money and told me to keep the item!
Every light unit is now unserviceable, and we must replace the light panels, or repair them at considerable expense. By maintaining our sense of humor (and a sense of amazement at what a mess the order was), what could have been a nightmare under most circumstances, ended well with a happy customer. Kudos to Farm Tek customer service!
Strever Hiouchi, CA (Zone 8b) (9 reviews) October 5, 2006
i ordered a 12 x 24 Clearspan GH from FarmTek 2 years ago
i recently started to put it up & needed some missing parts
i phoned FarmTek & they shipped the parts out immediately, no questions
i also found out the instructions had been upgraded several times since i purchased
the people at FarmTek are very helpful & friendly
The very first order they shipped the wrong size , but when I called , they reordered the correct thing immediately with no B.S. Did not make me go thru repacking and sending olde product back and the new correct size came immediately. Mistakes are okay as long as you make it right with no nasty attitude. I just reordered from them. thanks FarmTek
Windy Belleville , IL (Zone 6b) (22 reviews) January 28, 2006
I have ordered a couple times from this company and have been very happy with the price and product.
I ordered a canopy from them for protection for my rabbits. My husband and I put it together in a few minutes with the easy instructions and didn't even kill each other trying to work together for a change.
I look at their catalog all the time and wish I could get more things from them. It is a nice catalog and came promptly when ordered and had a free pair of rubber nippled gloves that I have used and washed many times.
I like the fact that you can get things on sale quite often with big savings because of closeouts and leftover fabrics.
abaktitus Two Rivers, WI (2 reviews) April 12, 2005
I ordered the clearspan 18' by 24' greenhouse kit last month along with a few other items; the other items arrived within three days of the order date. We set the 1st week of April as delivery for the greenhouse; on the 6th I recieved e-mail notification that it shiped with a phone number to call for the date and time of delivery. I called the trucking company and they were delivering on the 8th unluckily I had to work so they made it possible to deliver on the 11th instead. Everything looks great; instructions look easy to follow and I can't wait to get started with building. I worked with Elizabeth #179 she explained everything and made ordering very easy. Definetly will order threw her again!
We are very pleased with FarmTek! Placed order on Tuesday, received order on Friday of the same week. You can't beat that for fast service. We placed the order by phone and had prompt courteous service. Also the product we ordered is of highest quality. Will definitely order more soon.
MountainMeadowSeeds.comOn April 3rd, 2005, mountainmeadowseeds added the following:
Since my very first order I have placed 2 more orders within a week of eachother. Each order has been received within days, yes days of placing the order!!! I highly recommend Farmtek for all your greenhouse needs and supplies. Rate the highest I have ever dealt with a supply company. Will be back again and again because of this superior service and quality product. Thank you Farmtek!
i bought a greenthumb greenhouse kit from farmtek in november. it is now february, i have yet to set it up. we have also been thru two deliveries. as it turns out the delivery company kept damaging the base kit. according to them it is just too long (24 X 12 ). farmtek has not been any help. they claim it is not their fault if the delivery company keeps damaging it. well, i feel they should be able to tell me that they can't guarantee safe delivery of the product at the time of sale. however, they already have my money.
Got a small greenhouse from my sister as a present. One part was defective, but my sister contacted their customer service and got the replacement part shipped promptly at no charge for part or shipping. I love my greenhouse! It was easy to assemble.
gemini_sage Winchester, KY (Zone 6a) (25 reviews) January 27, 2005
I have only requested a catalog from this company, but recieved email confirmation of my request promptly and shortly thereafter recieved my free catalog via UPS with the unexpected free gift of a pair of gloves. I'm impressed so far; if that much attention and courtesy comes from a catalog request, I feel confident about placing an order.
I have ordered several products from Farm-Tek, through two different orders.
The first time, their sales person was most gracious in taking the time to research the products I was asking about, in order to help answer my questions fully. I ended up ordering the more expensive grow light, and am glad that I did. I have no regrets.
On the second order, I bought a coldframe (12 ft x24ft) as well as plastic for it and my greenhouse. I worked with Beth (who was mentioned in another comment at this site) who was considerably beyond compare to "normal" customer service people, even the great ones. She helped answer all my questions, showed me the best products for my situation and offered excellent "after the sale" help, by being available for shipping questions, etc later on. The experience was truly beyond compare.
I have experienced the occasional unhelpful or rude person at Farm-Tek during other calls, but that is by far the exception.
If you ever need to talk with a good person, give the Farm-Tek team a call at (800) 327-6835. If you would like to work with Beth, her extension is #149.
Peaceful Valley Gardens
Steen, Mn 56173
autremike Ludlow, MA (Zone 5b) (20 reviews) January 21, 2005
I just recieved my second order from Farmtek, and am happy with the outcome. Everything arrived on time and in excellent condition - I was very impressed with the packaging, especially for the delicate items and grow lights.
When I inquired about an item and E-mailed them, they immediately called me the same day!
I originally purchased from them because one of my friends, who raises egg laying chickens, bought a few chicken houses. They look small in the catalog pictures - wait until you actually put them up they are big. They have survived all that New England can throw at them so far - snow, wind, Nor'easters...
I expect to order from them again.
shelley1962 Churubusco, IN (Zone 5b) (3 reviews) December 5, 2004
Excellent transaction. Purchased a 30 X 48 foot greenhouse. Was delivered in great condition, very well packed, and friendly customer service. Instructions are well written and easy to follow. Will purchase from again.
OrchidMan10 Parkersburg, WV (1 review) November 28, 2004
Ordered a solar star premium insulated greenhouse kit (18'W x 24'L x 10'H gable version) about a month ago, with its delivery being 2 days before Thanksgiving of 2004.
I was very pleased with the quality of the aluminum framework, the 8 mm double polycarbonate end walls (6 sheets delivered measuring 6'H and 12'long) were fine and no evidence of damage to any of the six sheets.
I haven't put it up yet, but look out in 2005! I plan to grow/raise orchids in this GH retreat (zone 6), but I am a tad bit skeptical the 30,000BTU (natural gas) heater I ordered will be enough to heat this bad boy. The kit comes with a 30,000 BTU heater (propane source and non-vented) which would be fine for seed starting or extending the growing season, etc. However, with orchids (and I know this so let me make this clear, that the lady on the phone WASN'T pushy or trying to make a sale, so nothing negative on Farm-tek) propane is not recommended w/o ventilation due to the by-product of ethylene gas, which can cause bud-dropping and orchids to not flower. The propane heater was just included with the kit and non-substitutable for the natural gas version.
I'll let you good folks know more in July-Sept of 2005 when I get this GH up in the backyard. Overall, though, the boxes were fine, pieces were all present, material seemed of nice quality, and I'm chomping at the bit for this winter to be over so I can get started on building this orchid-zone paradise!
Honeybee Saucier, MS (Zone 8b) (2 reviews) November 28, 2004
We order our FarmTek Feb. 2004. My Sales Rep. was wonderful (Beth), she put up with my many calls, questions & order changes, Beth answered every question I had & if she did not know she called me back with the answer. Shipping was on time, the box was beauty banged-up, but all my parts were fine.
The truck (18 Wheeler) could not get down our private road & they work with me to have it deliver at a friends Construction Co. I think everyone was just Great.
We put the frame together last spring with the help of friends & family (3 men & 3 women). We waited out our "Storm Season" & with 3 men & 2 women had the covering on in 2 hours. Worked out well.
The only problem I had & it was my fault was ordering a P. Heater without a thermostat.
I am very happy with the GH & FarmTek.
Lalady Covington, LA (Zone 8b) (1 review) November 27, 2004
The "Clearspan" greenhouse kit I ordered from Farmtek has been very difficult to assemble. Pieces do not fit together. I have hired 3 people to work on it and none of them can get it to work, Ive spent about $300 on labor and now I'm about ready to return it to them. I dont think I will ever be able to complete it. The company has been good to replace parts but they still dont work.