raeben Great Falls, VA (Zone 6b) (1 review) October 11, 2020
I bought my Solexx 8X8 Oasis kit in 2011 and assembled it pretty much by myself in October in about 2 weekends. It's been working well and was definitely worth the work and $$ for me. This model would take an extension but for now this is fine. I winter over tender plants like salvias and start my seeds and propagate cuttings using heatmats. Added some LED light panels and quite happy with the results. It's nearly 10 years old and holding up well. I keep it from freezing in Zone 6B with a simple oil filled heater. During the coldest months of January/February the average temp is only about 10 degrees warmer than outdoors, so it does go down in the colder corners. The heat mats help. I've added some containers of water to hold heat, and paced reflective bubble wrap around the lower 2 feet. Could probably keep it warmer with a small vented gas heater but I just don't want to spend for that as it doesn't seem necessary. It's OK temp for starting vegies and propagating perennials. Digging out so the floor is at/below the frost line (only 20 inches here) might be a good idea for self-heating, but I never have the time and we get a lot of rain so IDK.
Meredith22 Port Saint Lucie, FL (6 reviews) September 17, 2003
A few years ago I purchased one of Farm Wholesale's assemble-it-yourself 8' X 8' greenhouse kits. The kit was incomplete, coming with too few screws and NO instructions, but after arguing with FW's customer service people these items were eventually supplied to me. Once received, the instructions were difficult to interpret and customer service was again of no help. I finally ended up putting the kit together by myself because my husband gave up in frustration & anger before the basic frame was assembled. The project took me over three weeks of hard labor and I still have scars on my hands from the many PVC pipe joints that had to be snapped together under extreme tension, sometimes catching my skin. Moving the finished greenhouse into its final position beside the house was a difficult task for one person, as well.
Once completed, however, the greenhouse performed well, especially because I'd purchased a temperature-activated window opener and added a window fan to circulate the air from the opposite side of the building. The only initial problem was a tendency for the hollow tubes that make up the corrugated plastic walls to collect moisture and mold which are impossible to remove, detracting from their appearance and, eventually, light transmission. All attempts to seal or clean the tubes proved to be futile.
The worst problem, however, was that a year after completion the plastic of the exterior shell of the greenhouse began to turn brittle and crack. The door fell apart completely into sharp plastic shards. I phoned Farm Wholesale and was told this was a known problem due to a plastic subcontractor having made a batch of panels "without enough polymers." My panels had evidently come from that unlucky batch. A few weeks later, a shipment of new plastic panels was delivered to my home, free of charge because of FW's materials guarantee, but now I was faced with the gargantuan task of replacing the entire exterior shell. This was made particularly difficult because the greenhouse had to be emptied and moved away from the house again to work on it and now the structure weighed quite a bit more due to the fact I'd painstakingly attached heavy steel mesh to the interior shelf framing to support my plants. There was no way I was going to take out that wired in place mesh! And let's not even talk about the miles of old silicone caulk I had to strip off or umpteen million screws I had to replace. I wore out an electric drill from the effort and Farm Wholesale would not supply new screws, let alone replacement caulk.
IF customer service and the instructions for assembling this greenhouse had been more user friendly and IF the original plastic panels had been formulated correctly so they would not break down in the sun, I would likely have given this company a mostly positive report. As it is, I have very mixed feelings from my experience with their product. Heck, I'm a professional writer & editor and I even offered to rewrite the instructions for Farm Wholesale free of charge -- but they declined. Which is just too bad for future customers, huh?